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LTP Lecture with Nathan Wildman: ‘Potential Problems? Some objections to Vetter’s potentialist account of modality’
6 February 2020 @ 15:15 - 17:00
‘Potential Problems? Some objections to Vetter’s potentialist account of modality’
Vetter (2015) has recently developed an account of metaphysical modality based on the notion of potentialites. Vetter’s theory is exciting, rich, and ingenious. But, as Vetter says, when it comes to evaluating this account, we are at the ‘beginning of the debate, not the end’ (2015: 300). Here, I intended to further this developing conversation by highlighting three problems facing Vetter’s account. Specifically, after first articulating some relevant details of Vetter’s potentiality-based view, I raise the first issue, concerning fundamental unclarity in the idea of degrees of potentiality. Building on this, the second issue is that there are some apparently unmanifestable intrinsic potentialities, which generate substantive problems for the overall project of anchoring metaphysical possibiltiy/necessity in concrete objects possessing properties. Finally, the third and most substantive issue is that Vetter’s view entails contradictory modal truths. The upshot is that, at minimum, further clarification of the potentiality view is required.
Nathan Wildman is an assistant professor at Tilburg University, and a member of the Tilburg Center for Logic, Ethics, and the Philosophy of Science. His research focuses on topics in metaphysics, philosophy of language, logic, and aesthetics. He is especially interested in the foundations of modality, contingentism, the logic of fictional truth, and the aesthetics of interactive fictions (e.g., video games/VR). For more information, see his webpage: nwwildman.wordpress.com.
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