Explanation and Modality: On Why The Swampman Is Still Worrisome to Teleosemanticists (Dongwoo Kim)

October 7, 2019 @ 4:15 pm – 6:15 pm
CUNY Grad Center, 7314
365 5th Ave
New York, NY 10016

Many have thought that Davidson’s Swampman scenario offers a serious problem to teleosemantics. For it appears to be possible from the scenario that there are completely ahistorical creatures with beliefs, and this apparent possibility contradicts the theory. In a series of papers (2001, 2006, 2016), Papineau argues that the Swampman scenario is not even the start of an objection to teleosemantics as a scientific reduction of belief. It is against this claim that I want to argue here. I shall argue that the explanatory power of teleosemantics rests on two conceptual pillars, namely success semantics and the etiological conception of biological function, and that the Swampman scenario questions the adequacy of the foundational conceptual commitments. Along the way, some general connection between explanation and modality will be developed that sheds a new light on Kripke’s analysis of necessary a posteriori propositions. The conclusion will be that teleosemanticists should tackle the Swampman objection head on.

Logic and Metaphysics Workshop Fall 2019

September 2 GC Closed NO MEETING

September 9 Yael Sharvit, UCLA

September 16  Ole Hjortland and Ben Martin, Bergen

September 23 Alessandro Rossi, StAndrews

September 30 GC Closed NO MEETING

October 7 Dongwoo Kim, GC

October 14 GC Closed NO MEETING

October 21 Rohit Parikh, GC

October 28 Barbara Montero, GC

November 4 Sergei Aretmov, GC

November 11 Martin Pleitz, Muenster

November 18

November 25
December 2 Jessica Wilson, Toronto

December 9 Mark Colyvan, Sydney


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