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International Conference

Aarhus, September 24-26 2014

Conference theme

The capacity of humans to acquire knowledge of what is actually true is in many ways relatively well understood. For example, by visual perception we are able to acquire knowledge of the actual spatial location of the objects within our field of vision; by memory, we are able to recall events that actually took place in the past; etc. But humans are not only interested in what is actually the case. Often, we are also interested in what could be the case (possibilities), what must be the case (necessities), and what would be the case, if something else, which is not in fact the case, were the case (counterfactuals). Propositions of these kinds belong to the class of modal propositions. Knowledge of such modalities cannot be acquired in a direct way by any of the usual and basic cognitive pathways, such as perception. No amount of observation of some particular fact will tell one whether that fact obtains with necessity, or whether it would have obtained if some other fact had obtained. Instead, modal knowledge seems to require reasoning and cognitive faculties of a decidedly shakier kind, involving inexact and ill-understood operations such as imaginationintuition, and mental simulation. This conference will address questions concerning our capacity for modal knowledge.

Speakers and Programme

Conference programme HERE

Main speakers:

Otàvio Bueno, University of Miami

Hannes Leitgeb, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Stephen Mumford, University of Nottingham

Daniel Nolan, Australian National University

Sonia Roca Royes, University of Stirling

Anand Vaidya, San Jose State University

Timothy Williamson, Oxford University

Additional speakers:

Jens Christian Bjerring, Aarhus University

Jacob Busch, Aarhus University

Mikkel Gerken, University of Edinburgh

Lars Bo Gundersen, Aarhus University

Nikolaj Nottelmann, University of Southern Denmark

Sara Kier Praëm, Aarhus University

Asger Steffensen, Aarhus University

Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen, Aarhus University


Hanoch Ben-Yami, Central European University

Albert Casullo, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Daniel Dorhn, HU Berlin

Bob Fischer, Texas State University

Margot Strohminger, University of Antwerp

Toumas Tahko, University of Helsinki

Nathan Wildman, University of Hamburg

Fees and registration

Conference fees including all meals (catered coffee and lunch Wednesday-Friday, and restaurant dinner Wednesday and Thursday).

Students (including PhD students): €100

Others: €150

Conference participation including coffee only (no meals) is free of charge, but registration is required.

Registration for the conference is open until September 15. 

Registration fees are fully refundable before September 1; if you need to cancel your registration after September 1, we will refund 50 %.

Pre-registration is now closed, and meals can no longer be purchased, but anyone interested are welcome to attend the presentations.

Conference details


September 24-26, 2014


Aarhus University
Lakeside Conference Center

Location map


Single session conference with 14 presentations and 7 prepared responses to the main speakers over 3 days.


For all questions please contact the conference organizers at:

Please indicate in the header of your message the issue concerned: practical aspects (e.g., hotel reservations, travel, visa), registration, or the conference program.


The conference is organized in collaboration between the Modal Epistemology Research Group, and the Research Programme for Philosophy and Intellectual History, Dept. of Culture and Society, at Aarhus University. The Conference is funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research.