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Modal Epistemology and the Rationalist Renaissance

In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 71-125 (2002)

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  1. The Poverty of Analysis.David Papineau - 2009 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):1-30.
    I argue that philosophy is like science in three interesting and non-obvious ways. First, the claims made by philosophy are synthetic, not analytic: philosophical claims, just like scientific claims, are not guaranteed by the structure of the concepts they involve. Second, philosophical knowledge is a posteriori, not a priori: the claims established by philosophers depend on the same kind of empirical support as scientific theories. And finally, the central questions of philosophy concern actuality rather than necessity: philosophy is primarily aimed (...)
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  • Two-Dimensional Semantics.David J. Chalmers - 2006 - In E. Lepore & B. Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press.
    Two-dimensional approaches to semantics, broadly understood, recognize two "dimensions" of the meaning or content of linguistic items. On these approaches, expressions and their utterances are associated with two different sorts of semantic values, which play different explanatory roles. Typically, one semantic value is associated with reference and ordinary truth-conditions, while the other is associated with the way that reference and truth-conditions depend on the external world. The second sort of semantic value is often held to play a distinctive role in (...)
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  • Phenomenal and Perceptual Concepts.David Papineau - 2006 - In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press. pp. 111--144.
    1 Introduction 2 Perceptual Concepts 2.1 Perceptual Concepts are not Demonstrative 2.2 Perceptual Concepts as Stored Templates 2.3 Perceptual Semantics 2.4 Perceptually Derived Concepts 3 Phenomenal Concepts.
     
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  • Propositions and Attitude Ascriptions: A Fregean Account.David J. Chalmers - 2011 - Noûs 45 (4):595-639.
    When I say ‘Hesperus is Phosphorus’, I seem to express a proposition. And when I say ‘Joan believes that Hesperus is Phosphorus’, I seem to ascribe to Joan an attitude to the same proposition. But what are propositions? And what is involved in ascribing propositional attitudes?
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  • Modal Epistemology Made Concrete.Daniel Dohrn - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2455-2475.
    Many philosophers since Hume have accepted that imagining/conceiving a scenario is our prime guide to knowing its possibility. Stephen Yablo provided a more systematic criterion: one is justified in judging that p is possible if one can imagine a world which one takes to verify p. I defend a version of Yablo’s criterion against van Inwagen’s moderate modal scepticism. Van Inwagen’s key argument is that we cannot satisfy Yablo’s criterion because we are not in a position to spell out far-fetched (...)
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  • The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology.Herman Cappelen, Tamar Szabó Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press.
    This is the most comprehensive book ever published on philosophical methodology. A team of thirty-eight of the world's leading philosophers present original essays on various aspects of how philosophy should be and is done. The first part is devoted to broad traditions and approaches to philosophical methodology. The entries in the second part address topics in philosophical methodology, such as intuitions, conceptual analysis, and transcendental arguments. The third part of the book is devoted to essays about the interconnections between philosophy (...)
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  • Moral Experience: Perception or Emotion?James Hutton - 2022 - Ethics 132 (3):570-597.
    One solution to the problem of moral knowledge is to claim that we can acquire it a posteriori through moral experience. But what is a moral experience? When we examine the most compelling putative cases, we find features which, I argue, are best explained by the hypothesis that moral experiences are emotions. To preempt an objection, I argue that putative cases of emotionless moral experience can be explained away. Finally, I allay the worry that emotions are an unsuitable basis for (...)
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  • 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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  • Gedankenexperimente in der Philosophie.Daniel Cohnitz - 2006 - Mentis.
    Wie ist es wohl, eine Fledermaus zu sein? Wäre ein rein physikalisches Duplikat von mir nur ein empfindungsloser Zombie? Muss man sich seinem Schicksal ergeben, wenn man sich unfreiwillig als lebensnotwendige Blutwaschanlage eines weltberühmten Violinisten wieder findet? Kann man sich wünschen, der König von China zu sein? Bin ich vielleicht nur ein Gehirn in einem Tank mit Nährflüssigkeit, das die Welt von einer Computersimulation vorgegaukelt bekommt? Worauf beziehen sich die Menschen auf der Zwillingserde mit ihrem Wort 'Wasser', wenn es bei (...)
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  • Experience and Reason.Fabian Dorsch - 2011 - Rero Doc.
    This collection brings together a selection of my recently published or forthcoming articles. What unites them is their common concern with one of the central ambitions of philosophy, namely to get clearer about our first-personal perspective onto the world and our minds. Three aspects of that perspective are of particular importance: consciousness, intentionality, and rationality. The collected essays address metaphysical and epistemological questions both concerning the nature of each of these aspects and concerning the various connections among them. More generally, (...)
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  • On the Possibility of Skeptical Scenarios.Peter Kung - 2011 - European Journal of Philosophy 19 (3):387-407.
    : It is generally accepted that skeptical scenarios must be possible to raise legitimate skeptical doubt. I argue that if the possibility in question is supposed to be genuine metaphysical possibility, the skeptic's reasoning does not straightforwardly succeed. I first motivate the metaphysical possibility requirement on skeptical scenarios : it's a plausible position that several authors accept and that a family of prominent views—sensitivity, safety, relevant alternatives—are committed to. I argue that plausible constraints in modal epistemology show that justification for (...)
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  • On Categories and A Posteriori Necessity: A Phenomenological Echo.M. J. Garcia-Encinas - 2012 - Metaphilosophy 43 (1-2):147-164.
    This article argues for two related theses. First, it defends a general thesis: any kind of necessity, including metaphysical necessity, can only be known a priori. Second, however, it also argues that the sort of a priori involved in modal metaphysical knowledge is not related to imagination or any sort of so-called epistemic possibility. Imagination is neither a proof of possibility nor a limit to necessity. Rather, modal metaphysical knowledge is built on intuition of philosophical categories and the structures they (...)
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  • Modal Epistemology, Modal Concepts and the Integration Challenge.Sonia Roca-Royes - 2010 - Dialectica 64 (3):335-361.
    The paper argues against Peacocke's moderate rationalism in modality. In the first part, I show, by identifying an argumentative gap in its epistemology, that Peacocke's account has not met the Integration Challenge. I then argue that we should modify the account's metaphysics of modal concepts in order to avoid implausible consequences with regards to their possession conditions. This modification generates no extra explanatory gap. Yet, once the minimal modification that avoids those implausible consequences is made, the resulting account cannot support (...)
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  • The Origins of Modal Error.George Bealer - 2004 - Dialectica 58 (1):11-42.
    Modal intuitions are the primary source of modal knowledge but also of modal error. According to the theory of modal error in this paper, modal intuitions retain their evidential force in spite of their fallibility, and erroneous modal intuitions are in principle identifiable and eliminable by subjecting our intuitions to a priori dialectic. After an inventory of standard sources of modal error, two further sources are examined in detail. The first source - namely, the failure to distinguish between metaphysical possibility (...)
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  • Reliability Connections Between Conceivability and Inconceivability.Peter Murphy - 2006 - Dialectica 60 (2):195-205.
    Conceivability is an important source of our beliefs about what is possible; inconceivability is an important source of our beliefs about what is impossible. What are the connections between the reliability of these sources? If one is reliable, does it follow that the other is also reliable? The central contention of this paper is that suitably qualified the reliability of inconceivability implies the reliability of conceivability, but the reliability of conceivability fails to imply the reliability of inconceivability.
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  • You Really Do Imagine It: Against Error Theories of Imagination.Peter Kung - 2016 - Noûs 50 (1):90-120.
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  • The Necessity of Mathematics.Juhani Yli‐Vakkuri & John Hawthorne - 2018 - Noûs 52.
    Some have argued for a division of epistemic labor in which mathematicians supply truths and philosophers supply their necessity. We argue that this is wrong: mathematics is committed to its own necessity. Counterfactuals play a starring role.
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  • Varieties of Inference?Anna-Sara Malmgren - 2018 - Philosophical Issues 28 (1):221-254.
  • Imagery and Possibility.Dominic Gregory - 2020 - Noûs 54 (4):755-773.
    We often ascribe possibility to the scenes that are displayed by mental or nonmental sensory images. The paper presents a novel argument for thinking that we are prima facie justified in ascribing metaphysical possibility to what is displayed by suitable visual images, and it argues that many of our imagery‐based ascriptions of metaphysical possibility are therefore prima facie justified. Some potential objections to the arguments are discussed, and some potential extensions of them, to cover nonvisual forms of imagery and nonmetaphysical (...)
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  • Modal Epistemology.Stephen Mcleod - 2005 - Philosophical Books 46 (3):235-245.
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  • Are We Free to Imagine What We Choose?Daniel Munro & Margot Strohminger - 2021 - Synthese (5-6):1-18.
    It has long been recognized that we have a great deal of freedom to imagine what we choose. This paper explores a thesis—what we call “intentionalism (about the imagination)”—that provides a way of making this evident (if vague) truism precise. According to intentionalism, the contents of your imaginings are simply determined by whatever contents you intend to imagine. Thus, for example, when you visualize a building and intend it to be of King’s College rather than a replica of the college (...)
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  • Concepts and the Epistemology of Essence.Sonia Roca‐Royes - 2019 - Dialectica 73 (1-2):3-29.
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  • Rational Imagination and Modal Knowledge.Jonathan Ichikawa & Benjamin Jarvis - 2012 - Noûs 46 (1):127 - 158.
    How do we know what's (metaphysically) possible and impossible? Arguments from Kripke and Putnam suggest that possibility is not merely a matter of (coherent) conceivability/imaginability. For example, we can coherently imagine that Hesperus and Phosphorus are distinct objects even though they are not possibly distinct. Despite this apparent problem, we suggest, nevertheless, that imagination plays an important role in an adequate modal epistemology. When we discover what is possible or what is impossible, we generally exploit important connections between what is (...)
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  • Conceivability and De Re Modal Knowledge.Sonia Roca-Royes - 2011 - Noûs 45 (1):22-49.
    The paper presents a dilemma for both epistemic and non-epistemic versions of conceivability-based accounts of modal knowledge. On the one horn, non-epistemic accounts do not elucidate the essentialist knowledge they would be committed to. On the other, epistemic accounts do not elucidate everyday life de re modal knowledge. In neither case, therefore, do conceivability accounts elucidate de re modal knowledge.
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  • Imagining as a Guide to Possibility.Peter Kung - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (3):620-663.
    I lay out the framework for my theory of sensory imagination in “Imagining as a guide to possibility.” Sensory imagining involves mental imagery , and crucially, in describing the content of imagining, I distinguish between qualitative content and assigned content. Qualitative content derives from the mental image itself; for visual imaginings, it is what is “pictured.” For example, visually imagine the Philadelphia Eagles defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers to win their first Super Bowl. You picture the greenness of the field and (...)
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  • On Williamson’s Armchair Philosophical Knowledge.Cong Wang & Wen-Fang Wang - forthcoming - Sophia:1-20.
    Williamson argues that philosophers acquire no philosophical knowledge at all by semantic understanding alone. He further argues that the most important method used for achieving philosophical knowledge is through the ‘imaginative simulation’ process some of whose products are neither a priori nor a posteriori but ‘armchair’ knowledge. We argue in this paper that the way Williamson argues against the claim that semantic understanding alone is enough to achieve philosophical knowledge can be paralleled by an exactly similar argument against his view (...)
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  • Real Acquaintance and Physicalism.Philip Goff - 2015 - In Paul Coates & Sam Coleman (eds.), Phenomenal Qualities: Sense, Perception and Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
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  • Les intuitions rationnelles sont-elles des intuitions modales?Pierre Saint-Germier - 2017 - Philosophiques 44 (1):49-71.
    Pierre Saint-Germier | : Nous discutons la thèse, acceptée par de nombreux théoriciens des intuitions rationnelles, selon laquelle ces dernières s’accompagnent d’une apparence de nécessité. L’existence d’intuitions rationnelles ayant pour objet des propositions contingentes jette un doute sur l’adéquation de cette thèse. Le problème peut trouver une solution dans le cadre d’une théorie faillibiliste des intuitions rationnelles, pourvu que l’on admette des illusions modales inéliminables. En nous appuyant sur une explication bidimensionnelle de l’a priori contingent, nous défendons une solution différente (...)
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  • In Defense of Flip-Flopping.Andrew M. Bailey & Amy Seymour - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13907-13924.
    Some incompatibilists about free will or moral responsibility and determinism would abandon their incompatibilism were they to learn that determinism is true. But is it reasonable to flip-flop in this way? In this article, we contend that it is and show what follows. The result is both a defense of a particular incompatibilist strategy and a general framework for assessing other cases of flip-flopping.
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  • The Productive Anarchy of Scientific Imagination.Michael T. Stuart - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (5):968-978.
    Imagination is important for many things in science: solving problems, interpreting data, designing studies, and much else. Philosophers of imagination typically account for the productive role pla...
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  • What Intuitions Are Like.Elijah Chudnoff - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (3):625-654.
    What are intuitions? According to doxastic views, they are doxastic attitudes or dispositions, such as judgments or inclinations to make judgments. According to perceptualist views, they are—like perceptual experiences—pre-doxastic experiences that—unlike perceptual experiences—represent abstract matters as being a certain way. In this paper I argue against doxasticism and in favor of perceptualism. I describe two features that militate against doxasticist views of perception itself: perception is belief-independent and perception is presentational. Then I argue that intuitions also have both features. The (...)
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  • Ghosts and Sparse Properties: Why Physicalists Have More to Fear From Ghosts Than Zombies.Philip Goff - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1):119-139.
    Zombies are bodies without minds: creatures that are physically identical to actual human beings, but which have no conscious experience. Much of the consciousness literature focuses on considering how threatening philosophical reflection on such creatures is to physicalism. There is not much attention given to the converse possibility, the possibility of minds without bodies, that is, creatures who are conscious but whose nature is exhausted by their being conscious. We can call such a ‘purely conscious’ creature a ghost.
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  • Abduction and Modality.Stephen Biggs - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (2):283-326.
    This paper introduces a modal epistemology that centers on inference to the best explanation (i.e. abduction). In introducing this abduction-centered modal epistemology, the paper has two main goals. First, it seeks to provide reasons for pursuing an abduction-centered modal epistemology by showing that this epistemology aids a popular stance on the mind-body problem and allows an appealing approach to modality. Second, the paper seeks to show that an abduction-centered modal epistemology can work by showing that abduction can establish claims about (...)
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  • Modal Objectivity1.Clarke-Doane Justin - 2019 - Noûs:266-295.
    It is widely agreed that the intelligibility of modal metaphysics has been vindicated. Quine's arguments to the contrary supposedly confused analyticity with metaphysical necessity, and rigid with non-rigid designators.2 But even if modal metaphysics is intelligible, it could be misconceived. It could be that metaphysical necessity is not absolute necessity – the strictest real notion of necessity – and that no proposition of traditional metaphysical interest is necessary in every real sense. If there were nothing otherwise “uniquely metaphysically significant” about (...)
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  • A Randomness‐Based Theodicy for Evolutionary Evils.Jordan Wessling & Joshua Rasmussen - 2017 - Zygon 52 (4):984-1004.
    We develop and knit together several theodicies in order to find a more complete picture of why certain forms of animal suffering might be permitted by a perfect being. We focus on an especially potent form of the problem of evil, which arises from considering why a perfectly good, wise, and powerful God might use evolutionary mechanisms that predictably result in so much animal suffering and loss of life. There are many existing theodicies on the market, and although they offer (...)
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  • Modal Humeanism and Arguments From Possibility.Margot Strohminger - 2013 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (3pt3):391-401.
    Sider (2011, 2013) proposes a reductive analysis of metaphysical modality—‘(modal) Humeanism’—and goes on to argue that it has interesting epistemological and methodological implications. In particular, Humeanism is supposed to undermine a class of ‘arguments from possibility’, which includes Sider's (1993) own argument against mereological nihilism and Chalmers's (1996) argument against physicalism. I argue that Sider's arguments do not go through, and moreover that we should instead expect Humeanism to be compatible with the practice of arguing from possibility in philosophy.
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  • Perceptual Knowledge of Nonactual Possibilities.Margot Strohminger - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):363-375.
    It is widely assumed that sense perception cannot deliver knowledge of nonactual (metaphysical) possibilities. We are not supposed to be able to know that a proposition p is necessary or that p is possible (if p is false) by sense perception. This paper aims to establish that the role of sense perception is not so limited. It argues that we can know lots of modal facts by perception. While the most straightforward examples concern possibility and contingency, others concern necessity and (...)
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  • Hale on the Architecture of Modal Knowledge.Bob Fischer - 2016 - Analytic Philosophy 57 (1):76-89.
    There are many modal epistemologies available to us. Which should we endorse? According to Bob Hale, we can start to answer this question by examining the architecture of modal knowledge. That is, we can try to decide between the following claims: knowing that p is possible is essentially a matter of having a well-founded belief that there are no conflicting necessities—a necessity-based approach—and knowing that p is necessary is essentially a matter of having a well-founded belief that there are no (...)
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  • Counterpossibles.Alexander W. Kocurek - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (11):e12787.
  • Carving Intuition at its Joints.Jason Schukraft - 2016 - Metaphilosophy 47 (3):326-352.
    A central metaphilosophical project seeks to evaluate the reliability of the types of evidence that figure in philosophical arguments and, relatedly, the justificatory status of relying on those types of evidence. Traditionally, metaphilosophers have approached this project via an analysis of intuition. This article argues that the category picked out by “intuition” is both too broad and too heterogeneous to serve as the appropriate target for metaphilosophical inquiry. Intuition is a gerrymandered and disjunctive kind, undeserving of the widespread attention it (...)
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  • Rigid Designators.Joseph LaPorte - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Naturalism, Fallibilism, and the a Priori.Lisa Warenski - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (3):403-426.
    This paper argues that a priori justification is, in principle, compatible with naturalism—if the a priori is understood in a way that is free of the inessential properties that, historically, have been associated with the concept. I argue that empirical indefeasibility is essential to the primary notion of the a priori ; however, the indefeasibility requirement should be interpreted in such a way that we can be fallibilist about apriori-justified claims. This fallibilist notion of the a priori accords with the (...)
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  • Existence as a Real Property: The Ontology of Meinongianism.Francesco Berto - 2012 - Synthèse Library, Springer.
    This book is both an introduction to and a research work on Meinongianism. “Meinongianism” is taken here, in accordance with the common philosophical jargon, as a general label for a set of theories of existence – probably the most basic notion of ontology. As an introduction, the book provides the first comprehensive survey and guide to Meinongianism and non-standard theories of existence in all their main forms. As a research work, the book exposes and develops the most up-to-date Meinongian theory (...)
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  • 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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  • The Nomological Argument for the Existence of God.Tyler Hildebrand & Thomas Metcalf - forthcoming - Noûs.
    According to the Nomological Argument, observed regularities in nature are best explained by an appeal to a supernatural being. A successful explanation must avoid two perils. Some explanations provide too little structure, predicting a universe without regularities. Others provide too much structure, thereby precluding an explanation of certain types of lawlike regularities featured in modern scientific theories. We argue that an explanation based in the creative, intentional action of a supernatural being avoids these two perils whereas leading competitors do not. (...)
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  • Non-Uniformism and the Epistemology of Philosophically Interesting Modal Claims.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2021 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 98:629-656.
    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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  • Aboutness in Imagination.Franz Berto - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (8):1871-1886.
    I present a formal theory of the logic and aboutness of imagination. Aboutness is understood as the relation between meaningful items and what they concern, as per Yablo and Fine’s works on the notion. Imagination is understood as per Chalmers’ positive conceivability: the intentional state of a subject who conceives that p by imagining a situation—a configuration of objects and properties—verifying p. So far aboutness theory has been developed mainly for linguistic representation, but it is natural to extend it to (...)
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  • Why Husserl’s Universal Empiricism is a Moderate Rationalism.Philipp Berghofer - 2018 - Axiomathes 28 (5):539-563.
    Husserl claims that his phenomenological–epistemological system amounts to a “universal” form of empiricism. The present paper shows that this universal moment of Husserl’s empiricism is why his empiricism qualifies as a rationalism. What is empiricist about Husserl’s phenomenological–epistemological system is that he takes experiences to be an autonomous source of immediate justification. On top of that, Husserl takes experiences to be the ultimate source of justification. For Husserl, every justified belief ultimately depends epistemically on the subject’s experiences. These are paradigms (...)
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  • The Extent of Metaphysical Necessity.Daniel Nolan - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):313-339.
    A lot of philosophers engage in debates about what claims are “metaphysically necessary”, and a lot more assume with little argument that some classes of claims have the status of “metaphysical necessity”. I think we can usefully replace questions about metaphysical necessity with five other questions which each capture some of what people may have had in mind when talking about metaphysical necessity. This paper explains these five other questions, and then discusses the question “how much of metaphysics is metaphysically (...)
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  • Modal Epistemology: Our Knowledge of Necessity and Possibility.Simon Evnine - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (4):664-684.
    I survey a number of views about how we can obtain knowledge of modal propositions, propositions about necessity and possibility. One major approach is that whether a proposition or state of affairs is conceivable tells us something about whether it is possible. I examine two quite different positions that fall under this rubric, those of Yablo and Chalmers. One problem for this approach is the existence of necessary a posteriori truths and I deal with some of the ways in which (...)
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