World Sequence Day 2024

Symposium held at the University of Connecticut on May 24, 2024
convened by Matthew Mandelkern (NYU) and Stefan Kaufmann (UConn)
Heritage Room (4th Floor, Rm. 4118), Homer Babbidge Library
369 Fairfield Way, Storrs, CT

The relationship between the probability of a conditional ‘if A, C’ and the conditional probability of C given A has long been one of the most hotly debated topics in epistemology and philosophy of language, as well as more recently in psychology and linguistics. The 1970’s saw groundbreaking work in this area, including Stalnaker’s (1970) proposal to identify the two probabilities, sometimes known as “Stalnaker’s Thesis” or simply “The Thesis”; Lewis’s (1976) argument that The Thesis is seriously at odds with certain deeply entrenched assumptions about truth conditions and the semantics of conditionals; and van Fraassen’s (1976) ingenious proposal to resolve the tension by adopting a new kind of model theory. In van Fraassen’s models, possible worlds are replaced with sequences of possible worlds. This move solves a surprising number of problems. But it took several more decades of arguments and counterarguments, scrutinizing the topic from every conceivable angle, before researchers began in earnest to explore such world sequence models as an alternative to conventional possible-worlds models. Since the aughts of the new millenium there has been a slew of new proposals and results in this arena, enough to warrant a moment of reflection to take stock and exchange some ideas. Our symposium is meant to provide a forum for this discussion. It brings together two of the original pioneers – Bas van Fraassen and Robert Stalnaker – and a group of younger scholars who have been drivers of the recent surge of interest in the topic.


Friday, May 24
 8:45- 9:00 Opening
9:00-10:00 Handout
10:10-11:10 Slides
Snow Zhang, UC Berkeley
12:20- 1:20 Lunch break
 1:20- 2:20
Calum McNamara, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
 2:30- 3:30
Melissa Fusco, Columbia
 3:40- 4:40


For those who will be driving and don't have a UConn parking permit, the best parking option is the Downtown Storrs Parking Garage at 33 Royce Circle. It's about a 15-20min walk from there to the venue. Parking is also available (slightly closer to the venue) in two public garages on Storrs Campus.

We thank our sponsors: