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 base 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 1998. 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. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. Against Modal Dualism.Dirk Franken - 2022 - 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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  6. Against Modal Dualism.Dirk Franken - 2022 - 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. Existence and Modality in Kant: Lessons From Barcan.Andrew Stephenson - forthcoming - Philosophical Review.
    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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  10. Varieties of Humeanism: An Introduction.László Kocsis, Tamás Demeter & Iulian D. Toader - 2021 - Synthese 199 (Humeanisms):15069-15086.
  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. The Epistemology of Modality and Philosophical Methodology.Duško Prelević & Anand Vaidya (eds.) - forthcoming - Routledge.
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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. Conceivability, Essence, and Haecceities.Hasen Khudairi - 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. Modal Epistemology.E. Weber & T. DeMey (eds.) - 2004 - Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van Belgie vor Wetenschappen en Kunsten.
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  27. 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.
  28. 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. Ideal Conceivers, the Nature of Modality and the Response-Dependent Account of Modal Concepts.Alexandru Dragomir - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-16.
    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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  2. Imagination, Modal Knowledge, and Modal Understanding.Uriah Kriegel - forthcoming - In Íngrid Vendrell Ferran & Christiana Werner (eds.), Imagination and Experience: Philosophical Explorations. London: Routledge.
    Recent work on the imagination has stressed the epistemic role of imaginative experiences, notably in justifying modal beliefs. An immediate problem with this is that modal beliefs appear to admit of justification through the mere exercise of rational capacities. For instance, mastery of the concepts of pig, flying, and possibility should suffice to form a justified belief that flying pigs are possible, regardless of whether one imagines a flying pig. In this paper, I consider three ways to defend the epistemic (...)
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  3. On the Difference Between Realistic and Fantastic Imagining.Christopher Gauker - 2020 - Erkenntnis 87 (4):1563-1582.
    When we imaginatively picture what might happen, we may take what we imagine to be either realistic or fantastic. A wine glass falling to the floor and shattering is realistic. A wine glass falling and morphing into a bird and flying away is fantastic. What does the distinction consist in? Two important necessary conditions are here defined. The first is a condition on the realistic representation of spatial configuration, grounded in an account of the imagistic representation of spatial configuration. The (...)
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  4. Centred Worlds, Personal Identity and Imagination.Andrea Sauchelli - forthcoming - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 1.
    The Centred View offers an account of the connection between imagination and possibility that combines the centred world framework with some allegedly appealing intuitions regarding our persistence over time. In particular, Dilip Ninan suggests that the Centred View has the theoretical advantage of respecting our intuitions about cases of personal identity in certain imaginative scenarios while also being compatible with physicalism. Unfortunately, the Centred View faces a series of serious objections and should ultimately be rejected.
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  5. Grounding Interventionism: Conceptual and Epistemological Challenges.Amanda Bryant - 2022 - Metaphilosophy 53 (2-3):322-343.
    Philosophers have recently highlighted substantial affinities between causation and grounding, which has inclined some to import the conceptual and formal resources of causal interventionism into the metaphysics of grounding. The prospect of grounding interventionism raises two important questions: exactly what are grounding interventions, and why should we think they enable knowledge of grounding? This paper will approach these questions by examining how causal interventionists have addressed (or might address) analogous questions and then comparing the available options for grounding interventionism. I (...)
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  6. Lateralism – The Globalization of US Hegemony after World War II.Yang Immanuel Pachankis - 2020 - Dissertation, Communication University of China
    This is a preliminary search and research of world order and global politics. It is history-based and examines the concept of globalization as a result of causes. The prevailing hegemonic power of United States is constituted of physical presence of troops, financial power, and most importantly, predominance in lateralized power in governance bodies around the world. Time is never linear per se in concept or in discoveries, sovereignty as so. The preeminence of space entities and discoveries of planet management is (...)
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  7. Introduction: exploring the limits of imagination.Amy Kind - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-14.
  8. The Inconceivability Argument.Brian Cutter - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    This paper develops and defends a new argument against physicalist views of consciousness: the inconceivability argument. The argument has two main premises. First, it is not (ideally, positively) conceivable that phenomenal truths are grounded in physical truths. (For example, one cannot positively conceive of a situation in which someone has a vivid experience of pink wholly in virtue of the movements of colorless, insentient atoms.) Second, (ideal, positive) inconceivability is a guide to falsity. I attempt to show that the inconceivability (...)
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  9. Is Death Irreversible?Nada Gligorov - forthcoming - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy.
    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 section two of this paper, I tackle the distinction between the commonsense definition of death and (...)
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  10. A Primer on Bartlett's CRITIQUE OF IMPURE REASON.Steven James Bartlett - 2021 - Willamette Univesity Faculty Research Website.
    This is a primer on Steven James Bartlett's book CRITIQUE OF IMPURE REASON: HORIZONS OF POSSIBILITY AND MEANING. ●●●●● -/- Some books are long and complex. The Critique of Impure Reason is such a book. It is long enough and complex enough so that it may be a service to some readers to offer a primer to introduce and partially summarize the book’s objectives and method. Here, the author of Critique of Impure Reason: Horizons of Possibility and Meaning provides such (...)
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  11. How Should Your Beliefs Change When Your Awareness Grows?Richard Pettigrew - forthcoming - Episteme:1-25.
    Epistemologists who study credences have a well-developed account of how you should change them when you learn new evidence; that is, when your body of evidence grows. What's more, they boast a diverse range of epistemic and pragmatic arguments that support that account. But they do not have a satisfactory account of when and how you should change your credences when you become aware of possibilities and propositions you have not entertained before; that is, when your awareness grows. In this (...)
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  12. An Agency-Based Epistemology of Modality.Barbara Vetter - forthcoming - In Duško Prelević & Anand Vaidya (eds.), The Epistemology of Modality and Philosophical Methodology. New York: Routledge.
    My aim in this paper is to sketch, with a broad brush and in bare outlines, an approach to modal epistemology that is characterized by three distinctive features. First, the approach is agency-based: it locates the roots of our modal thought and knowledge in our experience of our own agency. Second, the approach is ambitious in that it takes the experience of certain modal properties in agency to be the sole distinctive feature of specifically modal thought and knowledge; everything that (...)
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  13. Do Qualia Exist Necessarily?Paul Merriam - manuscript
    Why is there something rather than nothing? I don't know. But I give an argument that qualia exist *necessarily*. The *possibility* of the existence of red qualia requires actual red qualia to specify what the possibility is a possibility *of*.
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  14. Possibility and Pluralism.William Savery - 1934 - University of California Publications in Philosophy 17:201-223.
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  15. Two-Dimensional Semantics and Identity Statements.Kai-Yee Wong - 2021 - In The Routledge Handbook of Linguistic Reference. Routledge. pp. 237-256.
    In contrast to standard possible worlds semantics, possible worlds in a two-dimensional semantic framework play two kinds of roles, rather than just one. This allows the framework to assign two kinds of intensions to expressions, rather than just one. Its fruitful use in explicating modal operators and the meanings of referential expressions like indexicals has led to two-dimensional accounts that seek to revive the Fregean conception of meaning, or more specifically the descriptivist view of reference, which has fallen into disrepute (...)
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  16. The Epistemology of Modality.Antonella Mallozzi, Michael Wallner & Anand Vaidya - 2021 - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  17. Arnon Levy, Peter Godfrey-Smith (Eds.): The Scientific Imagination: Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives: Oxford University Press: Oxford 2020, 344 Pp., £55.00 (Hardcover), ISBN 9780190212308. [REVIEW]Michael T. Stuart - 2021 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 52 (3):493-499.
  18. Chalmers and Semantics.Panu Raatikainen - 2021 - Theoria 87 (5):1193-1221.
    David Chalmers’ two-dimensionalism is an ambitious philosophical program that aims to “ground” or “construct” Fregean meanings and restore “the golden triangle” of apriority, necessity, and meaning that Kripke seemingly broke. This paper aims to examine critically what Chalmers’ theory can in reality achieve. It is argued that the theory faces severe challenges. There are some gaps in the overall arguments, and the reasoning is in some places somewhat circular. Chalmers’ theory is effectively founded on certain strong philosophical assumptions. It is (...)
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  19. Two Problems in Spinoza's Theory of Mind.James Van Cleve - 2022 - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind 2:337-378.
    My aim in what follows is to expound and (if possible) resolve two problems in Spinoza’s theory of mind. The first problem is how Spinoza can accept a key premise in Descartes’s argument for dualism—that thought and extension are separately conceivable, “one without the help of the other”—without accepting Descartes’s conclusion that no substance is both thinking and extended. Resolving this problem will require us to consider a crucial ambiguity in the notion of conceiving one thing without another, the credentials (...)
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  20. Thinking Beyond Imagining.Jill Cumby - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):7423-7435.
    This paper defends a rational account of conceivability according to which conceiving is a kind of modal thinking that is distinct from imagining effectively allowing us to think beyond what we can imagine, and that we are subject to rational rather than experiential constraints when we do so. Defending this view involves appealing to the perspective of an idealized agent and I’ll argue that this appeal is not worrisome given an “objective” view of propositional justification.
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  21. An Imaginative Person’s Guide to Objective Modality.Derek Lam - forthcoming - In Amy Kind & Christopher Badura (eds.), Epistemic Uses of Imagination. Routledge.
    Imagination is a source of evidence for objective modality. It is through this epistemic connection that the idea of modality first gains traction in our intellectual life. A proper theory of modality should be able to explain our imagination’s modal epistemic behaviors. This chapter highlights a peculiar asymmetry regarding epistemic defeat for imagination-based modal justification. Whereas imagination-based evidence for possibility cannot be undermined by information about the causal origin of our imaginings, unimaginability-based evidence for impossibility can be undermined by information (...)
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  22. The Epistemic Idleness of Conceivability.M. Oreste Fiocco - 2018 - In Otávio Bueno & Scott A. Shalkowski (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Modality. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 167-179.
    One’s involvement with the world seems limited merely to things as they are; hence, modal knowledge—knowledge of what could be or must be simpliciter—should be perplexing. Traditionally, the notion of conceivability has been regarded as crucial to an account of modal knowledge. I believe one has a good deal of such knowledge (though perhaps less than others presume one has). I maintain, however, that conceiving is utterly idle in acquiring modal knowledge: the conceivability of a proposition can provide no evidence (...)
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