Events

I defend and develop the thesis that future talk is modal in character. Informally, this is the idea that future directed statements (e.g.: “the water will boil”) should be modeled after counterfactual statements (e.g. “the water would have boiled if you turned on the stove”) and not as mirror images of past-directed statements (e.g. “the water boiled”). The first part of the talk introduces the thesis and the main arguments that supports it. The second part focuses in detail on one specific problem: if future-directed statements are primarily modal (i.e. in some sense about alternative possibilities), how do they get to be future-directed in the first place? The final part of the talk investigates some implications of the modal future hypothesis for the study of future-directed cognition.