Tuesday, April 29, 2014

SPR 2014 Lectures Series (No.5): Conditionals and Deliberations

About the theme

Backtracking conditionals are conditionals at least partially evaluated on the basis of preconditions or backtracking grounds of their antecedents. Inasmuch as backtracking conditionals seem to be excluded by causal and practical deliberation, it is fairly controversial that backtracking conditionals are distinct from non- backtracking conditionals. We propose a subversive thesis: all conditionals, whether counterfactual or indicative, are backtracking conditionals. On the basis of this thesis, the failure of the various attempts to establish the distinction between backtracking and non-backtracking conditionals is explained. The distinction is better characterized using a fine-grained distinction between two modes of backtracking. These modes of backtracking are further employed to resolve some puzzles about the relations between conditionals and deliberations.

About the speaker

Prof. Wang, Linton I-Chi, is an associate professor of philosophy at National Chung-Cheng University whose research is mainly in Logic, and in Philosophy of Language.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

SPR 2014 Lecture Series (No.4): On scientific essentialism

About the theme

Scientific essentialism is the view, advocated and defended by Brian Ellis, Alexander Bird, and many others, which claims that laws of nature are metaphysically necessary. On this view, there is no genuine metaphysical possibility that a law of nature could fail. In this talk, I shall examine two main arguments for this necessitarian view: (i) the argument from dispositions and (ii) the argument from anti-quidditism. I shall show that neither of these arguments is successful. This leaves the traditional view (i.e., the view that laws are physical or nomic necessities weaker than metaphysical necessities) a more plausible option.