Friday Colloquium - Jessica Wilson (University of Toronto)

“Metaphysical Skepticism, Relativized Metaphysical Modality, and A Posteriori Metaphysical Necessities”



Event Description


One route to metaphysical skepticism (drawing on Rosen 2006, Chalmers 2009, Clarke-Doane 2019) proceeds by observing that metaphysical claims are supposed to be metaphysically necessary (true in every possible world), yet are such that the prevailing modal epistemology appears to equally support the possibility of incompatible such claims (so that, e.g., universals and tropes each might serve as the basis for resemblance between objects). Here I consider two strategies of response. On the first---resistance---an abductive modal epistemology might provide a basis for justifying one metaphysical claim over relevant others (as per Biggs and Wilson 2018, 2020). On the second---accommodation---Relativized Metaphysical Modality, or RMM (Murray and Wilson 2012; Hellie, Murray, and Wilson 2020), makes room for metaphysical claims to be sensitive to actual (or 'as-actual') categorical facts relative to which they are ('as-counterfactually') metaphysically necessary. The second strategy is especially interesting, in expanding the application of the necessary a posteriori beyond the standard natural kind expressions to general metaphysical claims.