March 15, 2013 - March 16, 2013
University of Nebraska, Lincoln

1010 Oldfather Hall
United States

Keynote speakers:

Kit Fine
New York University
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
Timothy Williamson
Oxford University
Jessica Wilson
University of Toronto


Reina Hayaki
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Jennifer McKitrick
University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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This conference was inspired by two fairly recent, and fairly independent, conversations about necessity. One, under the heading “metaphysics of science,” is about whether any purported distinction between nomological and metaphysical necessity is dissolved if natural kinds have essential, causally-relevant properties.  Another, under the heading “modal metaphysics,” concerns what, if anything, makes necessity claims true.  These conversations prompted the thought that an exploration of necessity that crosses philosophical sub-disciplines could be fruitful.  A general investigation into the nature of necessity would welcome approaches from logic, philosophy of language, epistemology, as well as metaphysics and philosophy of science, and consider such questions as:

  • What does it mean for a claim to be necessarily true? 
  • If any claims are necessarily true, what accounts for that?  What are the truth-makers or “grounds” for necessity claims?
  • How do we know that a claim is not only true, but necessarily true? How can necessity claims be epistemically justified? 
  • Are there different kinds of necessity claims: logical, metaphysical, physical …?  If so, do different necessities differ with respect to their grounds, or epistemic accessibility?
  • How is necessity related to analyticity, essence, natural kind, power, cause, or natural law?

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