Professor Timothy Williamson from Oxford University will be a Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Yale for part of the spring 2017 semester. He will give public lectures on Thursday, March 30, 2017 and Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 4:00PM.
Abstract for the April 13th lecture:
We care not just how things are but how they could have been otherwise—about possibility and necessity as well as actuality. Many philosophers regard such talk as beyond the reach of respectable science, since observation tells us how things are but (allegedly) not how they could have been otherwise. I will argue that, on the contrary, such criticisms are ill-founded: possibility and necessity are studied in science, for example through phase spaces, abstract mathematical representations of the possible states of a physical system.