Institut Jean Nicod

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February 5 : Alexandre Billon (Université de Lille 3, IJN)

February 5 from 16.30 to 18.30 in the meeting room, 29 rue d’Ulm, Pavillon Jardin

Alexandre Billon (Université de Lille 3, IJN)
"Perspectives and possibility"
Abstract :

From Descartes onwards philosophers have taken certainty, understood as unconceivable falsity, as a guide to necessity. Kant then introduced the distinction between a priori and a posteriori claims, which he took to mirror that between certain and uncertain claims. Without questioning this last thesis, Kripke notoriously put forward cases (hereafter Kripkean cases) which, he argued, revealed that apriority and necessity do not always coincide. I argue that we should interpret the Kripkean cases as showing that a given utterance expresses different propositions from different contexts of interpretation. Once this semantic perspectivism is accepted, however, it becomes clear that (i) Kripke’s arguments cannot establish that the a priority of propositions and their necessity come apart (ii) and that they cannot either establish that the a priority of utterances and their necessity come apart unless a contentious form of “objectivism” is assumed. I further argue that semantic perspectivism allows us to save the link between a notion of utterance certainty —certainty*— and necessity and that it prompts a reconception of the role of conceivability methods and conceptual analysis within philosophy.