Philosophy Discussion: A Puzzle About Possibilities

The philosophy department invites you to join a discussion about an issue in the philosophy of language Wednesday, March 29 from 4:30 – 5:45 p.m. in Vulgamore 204, Dr. Quinn Harr (Philosophy PhD., University of Maryland) will be facilitating a discussion about how to understand different kinds of possibility statements. Some possibilities seem less “real” than others. They seem to be left open, not by the world itself, but instead by our limited knowledge of it. These possibilities are often called “epistemic”, and they are contrasted with so-called “metaphysical” possibilities. The possibility described in (1) is an example of the former, the possibility in (2) is an example of the latter. (1) John might be contagious (2) John might become contagious. In this talk, we will critically examine the standard view that these sentences express distinct kinds of possibilities.