Research

I am interested in questions regarding the nature of modality. Why do we modalize propositions? Do modalities express fundamental facts about reality? If so, can we actually know these facts? Or are modalities rather our projections on reality? If so, can these projections still be rationally justified? Or again, are there irreducibly different kinds of modalities (e.g., epistemic, metaphysical, logical etc)?

My research has thus far centered around the history of modal thought with a special emphasis on Kant's treatment of modal concepts. In my dissertation, I investigated how Kant's views on modality informed his critical epistemology and his moral philosophy. I observed that  from mid1760's through 1780's Kant carries out a gradual shift from a metaphysical conception of modalities as real properties of things to a novel conception of modalities as principles regulating the relation between objects and the subject of cognition, and argued that this shift enables him not only to repudiate the knowledge claims of traditional metaphysics regarding supersensible objects such as freedom, God and immortality, but also to reinstate the same set of objects as items of practically grounded rational belief.

Lately, I am more focused on whether a Kantian approach to modality could shed a fresh light on contemporary discussions about the nature of modal propositions. I believe that Kant's theory of modality offers an especially good middle-ground between modal realisms and anti-realisms. For it manages to explain our tendency to modalize in terms of necessary features of our acts of judging, and it neither presupposes an inherently modal reality nor employs psychological accounts of modality .