[SydPhil] Notification: Mark Colyvan @ Thu 19 Apr 2018 15:00 - 16:30 (AEST) (Current Projects)

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Fri Apr 13 14:59:47 AEST 2018

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Title: Mark Colyvan
Counterpossibles and the End of Explanation
Mark Colyvan

Abstract: Consider the following claim: my attempts at squaring the circle  
failed because squaring the circle is (mathematically) impossible.  
According to some this is a genuine explanation while others deny this. One  
particularly interesting way of denying that there is an explanation here  
is offered by our own Nick Smith, who claims that what we have in such  
cases is the end of explanation and this should not be confused with an  
explanation. One motivation for such a view comes from counterfactual  
accounts of explanation. According to such accounts, we look for the  
nearest possible world in which the circle can be squared and check whether  
my attempts succeed there. But because there is no possible world in which  
the circle can be squared, we do not have an explanation. In short,  
counterfactual accounts of explanation do not permit impossibilities as  
explanations. There is, however, a natural extension of counterfactual  
accounts of explanation that allow counterpossibles (and hence impossible  
worlds). Such accounts do deliver the result that impossibilities can be  
explanatory. For some this is a welcome result but it comes with a  
challenge. Once we allow impossible worlds we need a substantive account of  
why impossibilities are never actualised (e.g. why the impossible world  
where the circle is squared is not the actual world). In this paper I will  
discuss this challenge and defend the counterpossible account of  

When: Thu 19 Apr 2018 15:00 – 16:30 Eastern Time - Melbourne, Sydney
Where: The Muniment Room
Calendar: Current Projects
     * Kristie Miller- creator

Event details:  

Invitation from Google Calendar: https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/lvcCCNLwM9iJYElrs4nhb2?domain=google.com

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