Dr Sonia Roca Royes

Senior Lecturer

Philosophy University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Dr Sonia Roca Royes

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About me

About me

I joined Stirling in September 2007 as an RCUK Academic Fellowship, shortly after having completed my PhD in Barcelona. After 5 years, in 2012, the position turned into a Lectureship and I am now, since August 2015, a Senior Lecturer. 


Towards a non-uniform epistemology of modality

AHRC Leadership Research Fellowship for the project “Towards a non-uniform epistemology of modality”, University of Stirling. (Total value of award: £65,932. Contribution from UK Research Councils: £52, 745.)

Event / Presentation

Conceiving and Knowledge of Essence

The Logic of Conceivability Concference

Modal Scepticism and the limits of Induction

Modal Modelling in Science: Modal Epistemology Meets Philosophy of Science

Concepts and the Epistemology of Essential Truths

VI Issues on the (Im)Possible, Keynote Speaker

Current Issues in the Epistemology Of Modality

ECAP 9 Conference, Panel Speaker

The epistemology of de re modality

XI SIFA Conference, SIFA Young Lecture

Mind Independence and Modal Empiricism.
University of Genoa

Latin Meeting for Analytic Philosophy

External Examiners and Validations

Agentive Modality & The Structure of Modal Knowledge, Felipe Morales-Carbonell
KU Leuven

PhD External Examiner

Edinburgh Learning and Teaching Review
University of Edinburgh

External Learning and Teaching Reviewer for Edinburgh UG Philosophy Programme.

Modal Empiricism Made Difficult, Ylwa Sjölin Wirling
University of Gothenburg

PhD External Examiner

Conceivability and the Epistemology of Modality, Asger Bo Skjerning Steffensen
Aarhus University

PhD External Examiner

Modal Thought And Modal Knowledge, Paul Adrian Ramshaw
University of Leeds

PhD External Examiner


I work primarily on modality, both its metaphysics and its epistemology. I've been working on it since I became a graduate student (2002) and I plan to keep working on it for a few more years. (Perhaps I shouldn't be proud of it, but I feel very comfortable on the longest path to truth.)

For the past several years I've been working mostly on its epistemology, where I favour a non-uniform position: the canonical method for modal discovery will differ depending on the portion of the modal realm we're inquiring into. Before starting developing my own account, I was heavily invested into scrutinising other epistemologies of modality one finds in the literature and unfolding why I think these theories don't meet their targets. The results of this negative task—which has involved the study of the views of salient philosophers in the field, like Chalmers, Peacocke, Williamson and Yablo, among others—has been published in journals such as Dialectica, Logique et Analyse, Noûs, and Philosophia Scientiae. In the past years, I have transitioned away from this negative task and have started developing my own view on the matter. Following a "slowly but surely" principle, I've started, quite non-ambitiously, by aiming to explain our modal knowledge of some ordinary possibility facts, such as that I could break my arm. Despite its non-ambitiousness, this provides at least some of the explanations that, as I've motivated, the rationalist have failed to provide. The first piece of this positive research--"Similarity and Possibility: an epistemology of de re possibility for concrete entities"--is published in Modal Epistemology after Rationalism, edited by Bob Fischer and Felipe Leon; a volume that marks the empiricist turn in the epistemology of modality. A second piece works in tandem with the previous one to increase the ambitiousness of the overall project. Here, I explore the kind of epistemology of modality available to explain our modal knowledge of abstract entities. This has appeared in Being Necessary: Themes of Ontology and Modality from the work of Bob Hale, edited by Ivete Fred and Jess Leech. Both these pieces have been developed with support from an AHRC Leadership Fellowship (Early Career) for the project: "Towards a non-uniform epistemology of modality".

Currently, I continue working on the epistemology of modality, and of essence, but I am also going back to metaphysical issues, especially on the nature of modality. This metaphysical builds on my acquired view on the epistemology of modality and the limits of our knowability of modal matters.

Apart from modality, there are many other areas that attract me in philosophy. They include Ontology in general, Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic, Formal Logic, Philosophy of Language. To be honest, though, I maximally enjoy those when I can see useful connections to what most worries me in modality; but I guess this is how it works for most of us.

I did both my B.A. (2003) and my Ph.D. (2007) in Logos, under supervision of Manuel García-Carpintero (a great experience). During the time I was writing my dissertation, I spent three fall terms as a visiting research student in Arché (St. Andrews) attracted by the Modality Project that Bob Hale was leading at that time, with whom I work during those terms (another great experience).

Outputs (21)



Roca Royes S (2023) Modality. 1 ed. Elements in Metaphysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009004596

Book Chapter

Roca Royes S (2023) Conceivability: Still Not Enough. [A response to Prelević]. In: Vaidya A & Prelević D (eds.) Epistemology of Modality and Philosophical Methodology. 1 ed. Routledge Studies in Epistemology. New York: Routledge, pp. 218-230. https://www.routledge.com/Epistemology-of-Modality-and-Philosophical-Methodology/Vaidya-Prelevic/p/book/9780367431679

Book Chapter

Roca Royes S (2020) The Integration Challenge. In: Routledge Handbook of Modality. 1st ed. Routledge Handbooks in Philosophy. New York: Routledge, pp. 157-166. https://www.routledge.com/The-Routledge-Handbook-of-Modality/Bueno-Shalkowski/p/book/9781138823310

Book Chapter

Roca Royes S (2020) The Epistemology of Modality. In: Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics. 1st ed. Routledge Handbooks in Philosophy. New York: Routledge, pp. 364-375. https://www.routledge.com/The-Routledge-Handbook-of-Metametaphysics/Bliss-Miller/p/book/9781138082250

Book Chapter

Roca Royes S (2018) Rethinking the Epistemology of Modality for Abstracta. In: Fred-Rivera I & Leech J (eds.) Being Necessary: Themes of Ontology and Modality from the Work of Bob Hale. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 245 - 266.

Book Chapter

Roca Royes S (2017) A priori knowledge and persistent (dis)agreement. In: Dodd D & Zardini E (eds.) The A Priori: Its Significance, Sources, and Extent. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://global.oup.com/academic/?cc=gb&lang=en&

Book Chapter

Roca-Royes S (2016) Rethinking origin essentialism (for artefacts). In: Jago M (ed.) Reality Making. Mind Association Occasional Series. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 152-176. http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198755722.001.0001/acprof-9780198755722

Book Chapter

Roca-Royes S (2016) Introducción a la modalidad. In: Prades J (ed.) Cuestiones de metafísica. Filosofía y ensayo. Madrid: Tecnos, pp. 151-190. http://www.tecnos.es/ficha.php?id=4208018

Conference Proceeding

Roca-Royes S (2007) Mind-Independence and Modal Empiricism. In: Penco C, Vignolo M, Ottonelli V & Amoretti C (eds.) Proceedings of the 4th Latin Meeting in Analytic Philosophy (LMAP-2007), Genoa, Italy, September 20-22, 2007. CEUR-WS Proceedings, 278. Latin Meeting in Analytic Philosophy, Genoa, 20.09.2007-22.09.2007. CEUR Workshop Proceedings, pp. 117-135. http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-278/



I design my undergraduate and taught postgraduate modules to be self-contained: I work carefully to develop course content that builds cumulatively over the semester. I make distinctive use of Power Point presentations that contain both written and visual/animated content. I have found that this is very helpful for delivering complex ideas. Special effort is put into enabling students to grasp the concepts with which they are to perform philosophical analysis. The effectiveness of my delivery method is repeatedly highlighted by students in module evaluation questionnaires.