Philosophy Discussion TODAY: A Puzzle About Possibilities

You are invited to join the philosophy department TODAY for a discussion about an issue in the philosophy of language 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’ll critically examine the standard view that these sentences express distinct kinds of possibilities.