Modal Epistemology

Edited by Anand Vaidya (San Jose State University)
About this topic
Summary Modal epistemology investigates the question: how do we know what is possible and what is necessary?  Metaphysical modality is the main kind of modality that is investigated here. There are five main subquestions in the area: (i) The metaphysical question: what is metaphysical modality? What is it for something to be metaphysically necessary or possible? How is metaphysical modality related to logical and physical modality? (ii) The intentional question: how is that we can have beliefs about what is metaphysically necessary and metaphysically possible?  (iii) The methodological question: what ways, if any, are there for forming reasonable beliefs and / or arriving at knowledge of metaphysical modality? (iv) The psychological question: what methods do we typically use in forming beliefs about metaphysical modality? (iv) The normative question: how should we go about forming and justifying beliefs about metaphysical modality? Some the leading theories are the following: (a) metaphysical modality is identical to logical modality, it is a priori accessible, and we can use conceivability as guide for forming beliefs about metaphysical modality.  (b) metaphysical modality is identical to physical modality, it is neither a priori nor a posteriori, and we can use counterfactual reasoning in imagination to form beliefs about metaphysical modality. (c) metaphysical modality is neither reducible to logical nor physical modality, it is a priori accessible, but neither conceivability nor counterfactual reasoning is our basic guide. Rather, we come to know about metaphysical modality by reasoning from the essences of entities.  
Key works Historically Descartes defended a rationalist approach to our knowledge of possibility and necessity, while Hume defended an empiricist approach. In recent literature the dominant tradition of exploring the epistemology of modality has been rationalist. The key works in this tradition can be divided based on what kind of account is being offered. For general discussion of the epistemology of modality see Hale 2003. For conceivability-based accounts see Yablo 1993Tidman 1994Chalmers 2002. For skepticism about the epistemology of modality see Van Inwagen 1998. For understanding-based accounts see Bealer 2002 and Peacocke 1999. For counterfactual accounts see Williamson 2009. For essence-based accounts see Lowe 2012.
Introductions For an overview of contemporary research on the epistemology of modality, see Vaidya 2007.
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  1. In Search of a Structurally Complete Epistemology of Essence.Michael Wallner - 2023 - In Anand Jayprakash Vaidya & Dusko Prelevic (eds.), The Epistemology of Modality and Philosophical Methodology. New York, London: Routledge. pp. 150-175.
    A very influential idea in the epistemology of modality is that we acquire knowledge of metaphysical modality through knowledge of essence. As a consequence, the epistemology of essence becomes crucial in the attempt to answer the question of how we come to know modal propositions. In this paper I investigate Lowe’s and Hale’s approach to the epistemology of essence and argue that both of them remain in a crucial, structural sense incomplete. Systematizing this criticism against Lowe and Hale, I then (...)
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  2. The Epistemology of Essence.Antonella Mallozzi - forthcoming - In Michael J. Raven & Kathrin Koslicki (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Essence. Routledge.
    The chapter discusses the issue of how we may achieve knowledge of essence. It offers a critical survey of the main theories of knowledge of essence that have been proposed within contemporary debates, particularly by Lowe, Hale, Oderberg, Elder, and Kment.
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  3. Happy Egrets Strike Back?Francesco Orsi - 2023 - In Andres Garcia, Mattias Gunnemyr & Jakob Werkmäster (eds.), Value, Morality & Social Reality: Essays dedicated to Dan Egonsson, Björn Petersson & Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen. Lund: Lund University Press. pp. 297-307.
    In this paper I articulate and respond to Kent Hurtig's objection to the fitting attitude account of value (FA). According to the objection, when a good or bad state of affairs is indexed to the actual world, but is such that the actual world does not contain anyone for whom it is fitting to (dis)favor it, it cannot be fitting for anyone in a non-actual world to (dis)favor it. So there are good or bad states of affairs that it is (...)
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  4. Introduction to the Synthese Topical Collection 'Modal Modeling in Science: Modal Epistemology meets Philosophy of Science’.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling & Till Grüne-Yanoff - 2023 - Synthese 201 (6):1-13.
  5. Existence and Modality in Kant: Lessons from Barcan.Andrew Stephenson - 2023 - Philosophical Review 132 (1):1-41.
    This essay considers Kant’s theory of modality in light of a debate in contemporary modal metaphysics and modal logic concerning the Barcan formulas. The comparison provides a new and fruitful perspective on Kant’s complex and sometimes confusing claims about possibility and necessity. Two central Kantian principles provide the starting point for the comparison: that the possible must be grounded in the actual and that existence is not a real predicate. Both are shown to be intimately connected to the Barcan formulas, (...)
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  6. Nietzsche, Levinas. Body and Narrative. Nietzsche, Levinas. Cuerpo y narrativa.Choque-Aliaga Osman & Bautista Milton - 2023 - Praxis Filosófica 56:123-136.
    El artículo aborda la relación entre Nietzsche y Levinas, en particular se enfrenta a la concepción de cuerpo y narración sostenida por cada autor. En ese sentido se afirma que la aparente distancia que existe entre ambos pensadores puede reducirse a partir de las temáticas que se estudian en este trabajo. A la luz de todo ello, la lectura del cuerpo de Nietzsche y la comprensión de narración de Levinas no habrían sido solo reflexiones filosóficas, sino más bien el pretexto (...)
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  7. Meaning and the World.Ryan Simonelli - 2022 - Dissertation, University of Chicago
    I motivate and develop a use-based semantic theory in opposition to the dominant paradigm in philosophical and linguistic semantics. Drawing inspiration from Wilfrid Sellars, I argue that contemporary semantic theories are faced with a basic problem of explanatory circularity. These theories universally presuppose that worldly knowledge of such things as properties or sets of possible worlds precedes and underlies knowledge of meaning. However, I argue that it is only through learning a language--mastering the rules governing the use of the expressions (...)
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  8. Epistemology of Modality and Philosophical Methodology.Duško Prelević & Anand Vaidya (eds.) - 2023 - New York, NY: Routledge.
    This book collects original essays on the epistemology of modality and related issues in modal metaphysics and philosophical methodology. The contributors utilize both the newer metaphysics-first and the more traditional epistemology-first approaches to these issues. The chapters on modal epistemology mostly focus on the problem of how we can gain knowledge of possibilities, which have never been actualized, or necessities which are not provable either by logico-mathematical reasoning or by linguistic competence alone. These issues are closely related to some of (...)
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  9. On the epistemic contribution of financial models.Alexander Mebius - 2023 - Journal of Economic Methodology 30 (1):49-62.
    Financial modelling is an essential tool for studying the possibility of financial transactions. This paper argues that financial models are conventional tools widely used in formulating and establishing possibility claims about a prospective investment transaction, from a set of governing possibility assumptions. What is distinctive about financial models is that they articulate how a transaction possibly could occur in a non-actual investment scenario given a limited base of possibility conditions assumed in the model. For this reason, it is argued that (...)
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  10. Modal Normativism on Semantic Rules.Rohan Sud - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    According to Amie Thomasson’s modal normativism, the function of modal discourse is to convey semantic rules. But what is a "semantic rule"? I raise three worries according to which there is no conception of a semantic rule that can serve the needs of a modal normativist. The first worry focuses on de re and a posteriori necessities. The second worry concerns Thomasson's inferential specification of the meaning of modal terms. The third worry asks about the normative status of semantic rules.
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  11. The safe, the sensitive, and the severely tested: a unified account.Georgi Gardiner & Brian Zaharatos - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-33.
    This essay presents a unified account of safety, sensitivity, and severe testing. S’s belief is safe iff, roughly, S could not easily have falsely believed p, and S’s belief is sensitive iff were p false S would not believe p. These two conditions are typically viewed as rivals but, we argue, they instead play symbiotic roles. Safety and sensitivity are both valuable epistemic conditions, and the relevant alternatives framework provides the scaffolding for their mutually supportive roles. The relevant alternatives condition (...)
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  12. Kant and Kripke: Rethinking Necessity and the A Priori.Andrew Stephenson - forthcoming - In James Conant & Jonas Held (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of German Idealism and Analytic Philosophy. London, UK: Palgrave MacMillan.
    This essay reassesses the relation between Kant and Kripke on the relation between necessity and the a priori. Kripke famously argues against what he takes to be the traditional view that a statement is necessary only if it is a priori, where, very roughly, what it means for a statement to be necessary is that it is true and could not have been false and what it means for a statement to be a priori is that it is knowable independently (...)
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  13. PHILOSOPHY AS NEGATIVE SCIENCE.Steven James Bartlett - manuscript
    Starting with Kant’s undeveloped proposal of a “negative science,” the author describes how philosophy may be developed and strengthened by means of a systematic approach that seeks to identify and eliminate a widespread but seldom recognized form of systemic and propagating conceptual error. ¶¶¶¶¶ -/- The paper builds upon the author’s book, CRITIQUE OF IMPURE REASON: HORIZONS OF POSSIBILITY AND MEANING (Studies in Theory and Behavior, 2021). ¶¶¶¶¶ -/- The author’s purpose is twofold: first, to enable us to recognize the (...)
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  14. Meaning and Metaphysical Necessity.Tristan Grotvedt Haze - 2022 - New York: Routledge.
    This book is about the idea that some true statements would have been true no matter how the world had turned out, while others could have been false. It develops and defends a version of the idea that we tell the difference between these two types of truths in part by reflecting on the meanings of words. It has often been thought that modal issues—issues about possibility and necessity—are related to issues about meaning. In this book, the author defends the (...)
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  15. Against modal dualism.Dirk Franken - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):608-622.
    Modal dualism is the claim that there is a space of epistemically possible worlds that exceeds the space of metaphysically possible worlds. In the present paper, I argue that modal dualism is false. I do so via an argument that differs from most previous arguments against modal dualism in that it does not rely on controversial semantic or epistemological assumptions like descriptivism, internalism or modal rationalism. The point of my argument is, instead, that modal dualism is internally inconsistent because it (...)
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  16. Against modal dualism.Dirk Franken - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):608-622.
    Modal dualism is the claim that there is a space of epistemically possible worlds that exceeds the space of metaphysically possible worlds. In the present paper, I argue that modal dualism is false. I do so via an argument that differs from most previous arguments against modal dualism in that it does not rely on controversial semantic or epistemological assumptions like descriptivism, internalism or modal rationalism. The point of my argument is, instead, that modal dualism is internally inconsistent because it (...)
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  17. Margaret Cavendish on conceivability, possibility, and the case of colours.Peter West - 2021 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 30 (3):456-476.
    Throughout her philosophical writing, Margaret Cavendish is clear in stating that colours are real; they are not mere mind-dependent qualities that exist only in the mind of perceivers. This puts her at odds with other seventeenthcentury thinkers such as Galileo and Descartes who endorsed what would come to be known as the ‘primary-secondary quality distinction’. Cavendish’s argument for this view is premised on two claims. First, that colourless objects are inconceivable. Second, that if an object is inconceivable then it could (...)
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  18. Modal Arguments, Possible Evidence and Contingent Metaphysics.Michael Traynor - 2017 - Dissertation, St Andrews
    The present work explores various ways in which contingent evidence can impact metaphysics, while advocating that, just as a scientific realist allows for ampliative inferences to the unobservable, ampliative inferences from possible evidence can warrant possibility claims that lie beyond the reach of sensorial imagination. In slogan form: possible evidence is a guide to possibility. Drawing on Shoemaker’s (1969) argument for the possibility of time without change, I advocate the following principle: If there is a possible world at which the (...)
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  19. Varieties of Humeanism: an introduction.László Kocsis, Tamás Demeter & Iulian D. Toader - 2021 - Synthese 199 (Humeanisms):15069-15086.
  20. Is credibility a guide to possibility? A challenge for toy models in science.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2021 - Analysis 81 (3):470-478.
    Several philosophers of science claim that scientific toy models afford knowledge of possibility, but answers to the question of why toy models can be expected to competently play this role are scarce. The main line of reply is that toy models support possibility claims insofar as they are credible. I raise a challenge for this credibility-thesis, drawing on a familiar problem for imagination-based modal epistemologies, and argue that it remains unanswered in the current literature. The credibility-thesis has a long way (...)
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  21. Non-uniformism and the Epistemology of Philosophically Interesting Modal Claims.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2021 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 98 (4):629-656.
    Philosophers often make exotic-sounding modal claims, such as: “A timeless world is impossible”, “The laws of physics could have been different from what they are”, “There could have been an additional phenomenal colour”. Otherwise popular empiricist modal epistemologies in the contemporary literature cannot account for whatever epistemic justification we might have for making such modal claims. Those who do not, as a result of this, endorse scepticism with respect to their epistemic status typically suggest that they can be justified but (...)
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  22. The epistemology of modal modeling.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling & Till Grüne-Yanoff - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (10):e12775.
    Philosophers of science have recently taken care to highlight different modeling practices where scientific models primarily contribute modal information, in the form of for example possibility claims, how-possibly explanations, or counterfactual conditionals. While examples abound, comparatively little attention is being paid to the question of under what conditions, and in virtue of what, models can perform this epistemic function. In this paper, we firstly delineate modal modeling from other modeling practices, and secondly reviewattempts to spell out and explain the epistemic (...)
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  23. Knowledge, Number and Reality: Encounters with the Work of Keith Hossack.Nils Kürbis, Bahram Assadian & Jonathan Nassim (eds.) - 2022 - London: Bloomsbury.
    Throughout his career, Keith Hossack has made outstanding contributions to the theory of knowledge, metaphysics and the philosophy of mathematics. -/- This collection of previously unpublished papers begins with a focus on Hossack's conception of the nature of knowledge, his metaphysics of facts and his account of the relations between knowledge, agents and facts. Attention moves to Hossack's philosophy of mind and the nature of consciousness, before turning to the notion of necessity and its interaction with a priori knowledge. Hossack's (...)
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  24. Naturalised Modal Epistemology and Quasi-Realism.Michael Omoge - 2021 - South African Journal of Philosophy 40 (3):229-241.
    Given quasi-realism, the claim is that any attempt to naturalise modal epistemology would leave out absolute necessity. The reason, according to Simon Blackburn, is that we cannot offer an empirical psychological explanation for why we take any truth to be absolutely necessary, lest we lose any right to regard it as absolutely necessary. In this paper, I argue that not only can we offer such an explanation, but also that the explanation won’t come with a forfeiture of the involved necessity. (...)
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  25. Agentive Modality and the Structure of Modal Knowledge.Felipe Morales Carbonell - 2021 - Dissertation,
    This thesis develops a theory about the structure of modal judgment and knowledge. Arguing in favour of pluralism about the source of modal knowledge, it focuses on the questions of the varieties of modal judgment and their relations, the function of modal judgment and the scope of modal knowledge. It offers a hypothesis about the development of the framework of modal knowledge, grounding it on the capacity to evaluate temporal judgments, from which the capacity to evaluate alternatives comes from, and (...)
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  26. Epistemic Projects, Indispensability, and the Structure of Modal Thought.Felipe Morales Carbonell - 2020 - Res Philosophica 97 (4):611-638.
    I argue that modal epistemology should pay more attention to questions about the structure and function of modal thought. We can treat these questions from synchronic and diachronic angles. From a synchronic perspective, I consider whether a general argument for the epistemic support of modal though can be made on the basis of modal thoughs’s indispensability for what Enoch and Schechter (2008) call rationally required epistemic projects. After formulating the argument, I defend it from various objections. I also examine the (...)
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  27. A Case Study in Formalizing Contingent a priori Claims.Landon D. C. Elkind - 2020 - Res Philosophica 97 (4):571-591.
    Some philosophers, like Kripke, Williamson, Hawthorne, and Turri, have offered examples of claims that are allegedly contingent and a priori justifiable. If any of these examples is genuine, this would upend the traditional epistemological classification on which (a) all and only a priori justifiable claims are necessary and (b) all and only a posteriori ones are contingent. I argue here that these examples are not genuine. This conclusion is not new, but the strategy pursued here is to formalize these muchdiscussed (...)
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  28. Conceivability, Essence, and Haecceities.Timothy Bowen - manuscript
    This essay aims to redress the contention that epistemic possibility cannot be a guide to the principles of modal metaphysics. I introduce a novel epistemic two-dimensional truthmaker semantics. I argue that the interaction between the two-dimensional framework and the mereological parthood relation, which is super-rigid, enables epistemic possibilities and truthmakers with regard to parthood to be a guide to its metaphysical profile. I specify, further, a two-dimensional formula encoding the relation between the epistemic possibility and verification of essential properties obtaining (...)
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  29. The Nature of Impossibility.Martin Vacek - 2019 - Bratislava, Slovakia: VEDA.
    Possible-worlds semantics proved itself as a strong tool in analysing the statements of actuality, possibility, contingency and necessity. But impossible phenomena go beyond the expressive power of the apparatus. The proponents of possible-worlds apparatus thus owe us at least three stories. The first one is the story about ontological nature of possible worlds, the second one is the story about the theoretical role such entities play and the third one is the story about the impossible. Modal Realism (MR) provides us (...)
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  30. Modal Truth : Integrating the Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Semantics of the Necessary and the Possible.Lars Enden - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Washington
    The integration challenge for modality states that metaphysical theories of modality tend to fail in one of two ways: either they render the meanings of modal sentences mysterious, or they render modal knowledge mysterious. I argue that there are specific semantic and epistemic constraints on metaphysics implied by the integration challenge and that a plausible metaphysical theory of modality will satisfy both of them. I further argue that no popular metaphysical theory of modality simultaneously satisfies both of the constraints. Therefore, (...)
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  31. The Modal Status of Contextually A Priori Arithmetical Truths.Markus Pantsar - 2016 - In Francesca Boccuni & Andrea Sereni (eds.), Objectivity, Realism, and Proof. Filmat Studies in the Philosophy of Mathematics. Springer Verlag.
    In Pantsar, an outline for an empirically feasible epistemological theory of arithmetic is presented. According to that theory, arithmetical knowledge is based on biological primitives but in the resulting empirical context develops an essentially a priori character. Such contextual a priori theory of arithmetical knowledge can explain two of the three characteristics that are usually associated with mathematical knowledge: that it appears to be a priori and objective. In this paper it is argued that it can also explain the third (...)
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  32. Conceivability and Modal Knowledge.Albert Casullo - 2012 - In Essays on A priori Knowledge and Justification. New York, NY, USA: pp. 271-288.
    Christopher Hill contends that the metaphysical modalities can be reductively explained in terms of the subjunctive conditional and that this reductive explanation yields two tests for determining the metaphysical modality of a proposition. He goes on to argue that his reductive account of the metaphysical modalities in conjunction with his account of modal knowledge underwrites the further conclusion that conceivability does not provide a reliable test for metaphysical possibility. I argue (1) that Hill’s reductive explanation of the metaphysical modalities in (...)
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  33. Knowledge and Modality.Albert Casullo - 2006 - In D. M. Borchert (ed.), Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd ed. Detroit, MI, USA: pp. 100-102.
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  34. A. A. Rini and M. J. Cresswell, The World-Time Parallel. Tense and Modality in Logic and Metaphysics. Reviewed by.Kristie Miller - 2013 - Philosophy in Review 33 (1):70-73.
    This book advertises itself as an exploration of the world-time parallel, that is, the parallel between the modal dimension, on the one hand, and the temporal dimension, on the other. It is that, and much more. As the authors point out, there is reasonable agreement that we can model times, through temporal logic, in ways that are analogous to those by which we model modality through the logic of possible worlds. But this formal parallel has almost universally been taken to (...)
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  35. Modal Epistemology.E. Weber & T. DeMey (eds.) - 2004 - Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van Belgie vor Wetenschappen en Kunsten.
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  36. The Essential but Implicit Role of Modal Concepts in Science.Patrick Suppes - 1972 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1972:305 - 314.
  37. Identity and the Identity-like.Alan Sidelle - 1992 - Philosophical Topics 20 (1):269-292.
    Some relations - like supervenience and composition - can appear very much like identity. Sometimes, the relata differ only in modal, or modally-involved features. Yet, in some cases, we judge the pairs to be identical (water/H2O; Hesperus/Phosphorus), while in others, many judge one of the weaker relations to hold (c-fiber firing/pain; statues/lumps). Given the seemingly same actual properties these pairs have, what can justify us in sometimes believing identity is the relation, and sometimes something weaker? I argue that it can (...)
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Conceivability, Imagination, and Possibility
  1. Should We Embrace Impossible Worlds Due to the Flaws of Normal Modal Logic?Til Eyinck - 2024 - Logica Universalis 18:1-14.
    Some philosophers advance the claim that the phenomena of logical omniscience and of the indiscernibility of metaphysical statements, which arise in (certain) interpretations of normal modal logic, provide strong reasons in favour of impossible world approaches. These two specific lines of argument will be presented and discussed in this paper. Contrary to the recent much-held view that the characteristics of these two phenomena provide us with strong reasons to adopt impossible world approaches, the view defended here is that no such (...)
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  2. Confusion in the Bishop’s Church.Jan Heylen - 2023 - Philosophia 51 (4):1993-2003.
    Kearns (2021) reconstructs Berkeley’s (1713) Master Argument as a formally valid argument against the Materialist Thesis, with the key premise the Distinct Conceivability Thesis, namely the thesis that truths about sensible objects having or lacking thinkable qualities are (distinctly) conceivable and as its conclusion that all sensible objects are conceived. It will be shown that Distinct Conceivability Thesis entails the Reduction Thesis, which states that de dicto propositional (ordinary or distinct) conceivability reduces to de re propositional (ordinary or distinct) conceivability. (...)
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  3. Is Death Irreversible?Nada Gligorov - 2023 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 48 (5):492-503.
    There are currently two legally established criteria for death: the irreversible cessation of circulation and respiration and the irreversible cessation of neurologic function. Recently, there have been technological developments that could undermine the irreversibility requirement. In this paper, I focus both on whether death should be identified as an irreversible state and on the proper scope of irreversibility in the biological definition of death. In this paper, I tackle the distinction between the commonsense definition of death and the biological definition (...)
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  4. Irigarayan Ontology and the Possibilities of Sexual Difference.James Sares - 2022 - In Ruthanne Crapo Kim, Yvette Russell & Brenda Sharp (eds.), Horizons of Difference: Rethinking Space, Place, and Identity with Irigaray. Albany: SUNY Press. pp. 117–136.
    This chapter provides an account of sexual ontology, grounded in and responsive to Irigaray’s philosophy, that focuses on the question of possibility. I first consider possibility in terms of the ontological negativity of sexuate beings, whereby one sex or sexuate morphology does not exhaust all that that kind of being is or can be. Second, I consider how sexual difference, as a relational structure of being, engenders possibilities for sexuate beings to develop as irreducible individuals. With particular focus on the (...)
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  5. Modal Inertness and the Zombie Argument.Tristan Grøtvedt Haze - 2023 - Res Philosophica 100 (3):413-421.
    This article proposes a way of blocking the zombie argument against materialism. The central idea—which can be motivated in various ways, but which I will motivate by drawing on recent work by Wolfgang Schwarz—is that sentences reporting conscious experience are modally inert, roughly in the sense that adding them to a description of a metaphysically possible scenario always results in a description of a metaphysically possible scenario. This is notable in that it leads to a way of blocking the zombie (...)
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  6. Ideal Conceivers, the Nature of Modality and the Response-Dependent Account of Modal Concepts.Alexandru Dragomir - 2023 - Philosophia 51 (2):659-674.
    What grounds the truth of modal statements? And how do we get to know about what is possible or necessary? One of the most prominent anti-realist perspectives on the nature of modality, due to Peter Menzies, is the response-dependent account of modal concepts. Typically, offering a response-dependent account of a concept means defining it in terms of dispositions to elicit certain mental states from suitable agents under suitable circumstances. Menzies grounded possibility and necessity in the conceivability-response of ideal conceivers: P (...)
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  7. Resisting the epistemic argument for compatibilism.Patrick Todd & Brian Rabern - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (5):1743-1767.
    In this paper, we clarify, unpack, and ultimately resist what is perhaps the most prominent argument for the compatibility of free will and determinism: the epistemic argument for compatibilism. We focus on one such argument as articulated by David Lewis: (i) we know we are free, (ii) for all we know everything is predetermined, (iii) if we know we are free but for all we know everything is predetermined, then for all we know we are free but everything is predetermined, (...)
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  8. A hyperintensional approach to positive epistemic possibility.Niccolò Rossi & Aybüke Özgün - 2023 - Synthese 202 (44):1-29.
    The received view says that possibility is the dual of necessity: a proposition is (metaphysically, logically, epistemically etc.) possible iff it is not the case that its negation is (metaphysically, logically, epistemically etc., respectively) necessary. This reading is usually taken for granted by modal logicians and indeed seems plausible when dealing with logical or metaphysical possibility. But what about epistemic possibility? We argue that the dual definition of epistemic possibility in terms of epistemic necessity generates tension when reasoning about non-idealized (...)
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  9. Imagining Oneself.Andrea Altobrando - 2017 - In Michela Summa, Thomas Fuchs & Luca Vanzago (eds.), Imagination and Social Perspectives: Approaches from Phenomenology and Psychopathology. Routledge. pp. 23-43.
  10. A Puzzle About First-Person Imagination.Weber Clas - 2023 - Philosophical Studies (8):1-21.
    It is easy to imagine being someone else from the first-person point of view. Such imaginings give rise to a puzzle. In this paper I explain what the puzzle is and then consider several existing attempts of solving the puzzle. I argue that these attempts are unsuccessful. I propose a Lewisian account of first-person imagination and make the case that this account has the potential to solve the puzzle.
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  11. Theism and Secular Modality.Noah Gordon - 2023 - Dissertation, University of Southern California
    I examine issues in the philosophy of religion at the intersection of what possibilities there are and what a God, as classically conceived in the theistic philosophical tradition, would be able to do. The discussion is centered around arguing for an incompatibility between theism and two principles about possibility and ability, and exploring what theists should say about these incompatibilities. -/- I argue that theism entails that certain kinds and amounts of evil are impossible. This puts theism in conflict with (...)
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  12. Resurrecting the Hume's Dictum argument against metaethical non-naturalism.Noah Gordon - 2023 - Synthese 201 (6):1-23.
    I argue for the viability of one neglected way of developing supervenience-based objections to metaethical non-naturalism. This way goes through a principle known as ‘Hume’s Dictum’, according to which there are no necessary connections between distinct existences. I challenge several objections to the Hume’s Dictum-based argument. In the course of doing so, I formulate and motivate modest and precise versions of Hume’s Dictum, illustrate how arguments employing these principles might proceed, and argue that the Hume’s Dictum argument enjoys some advantages (...)
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  13. Intellectual Virtues and The Epistemology of Modality: Tracking the Relevance of Intellectual Character Traits in Modal Epistemology.Alexandru Dragomir - 2021 - Annals of the University of Bucharest – Philosophy Series 70 (2):124-143.
    The domain of modal epistemology tackles questions regarding the sources of our knowledge of modalities (i.e., possibility and necessity), and what justifies our beliefs about modalities. Virtue epistemology, on the other hand, aims at explaining epistemological concepts like knowledge and justification in terms of properties of the epistemic subject, i.e., cognitive capacities and character traits. While there is extensive literature on both domains, almost all attempts to analyze modal knowledge elude the importance of the agent’s intellectual character traits in justifying (...)
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