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  1. Modality as a Subject for Science.Timothy Williamson - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (3):415-436.
    Section 1 introduces the category of objective modality, closely related to linguists’ category of circumstantial or dynamic modals, and explains metaphysical modality as its maximal element. Section 2 discusses various kinds of skepticism about modality, as in Hume and recent authors, and argues that it is illmotivated to apply such skepticism to metaphysical modality but not to more restricted objective modalities, including nomic modality. Section 3 suggests that the role of counterfactual conditionals in applications of scientific theories involves an objective (...)
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  • Creativity, Spontaneity, and Merit.Antti Kauppinen - forthcoming - In Alex King & Christy Mag Uidhir (eds.), Philosophy and Art: New Essays at the Intersection. Oxford University Press.
    Common sense has it that some of the greatest achievements that are to our credit are creative, whether artistic or otherwise. But standard theories of achievement and merit struggle to explain them, since the praiseworthiness of creative achievements isn’t grounded in effort, quality of will, disclosing the agent’s values, or even reasons-responsiveness. I argue that it’s distinctive of artistic or quasi-artistic creative activity that it is guided by what I call aspirational aims, which are formulated in terms of evaluative predicates (...)
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  • 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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  • Non‐Uniformism About the Epistemology of Modality: Strong and Weak.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2020 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (2):152-173.
    Uniformism about the epistemology of modality is the view that there is only one basic route to modal knowledge; non-uniformism is the view that there are several. Non-uniformism is becoming an increasingly popular stance, but how can it be defended? I prise apart two ways of understanding the uniformism/non-uniformism conflict that are mixed up in the literature. I argue that once separated, it is evident that they lead up to two different non-uniformist theses that need to be argued for in (...)
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  • Moderate Modal Skepticism.Margot Strohminger & Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2018 - In Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne & Dani Rabinowitz (eds.), Knowledge, Belief, and God: New Insights in Religious Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 302-321.
    This paper examines "moderate modal skepticism", a form of skepticism about metaphysical modality defended by Peter van Inwagen in order to blunt the force of certain modal arguments in the philosophy of religion. Van Inwagen’s argument for moderate modal skepticism assumes Yablo's (1993) influential world-based epistemology of possibility. We raise two problems for this epistemology of possibility, which undermine van Inwagen's argument. We then consider how one might motivate moderate modal skepticism by relying on a different epistemology of possibility, which (...)
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  • Perceptual Skill And Social Structure.Jessie Munton - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1):131-161.
    Visual perception relies on stored information and environmental associations to arrive at a determinate representation of the world. This opens up the disturbing possibility that our visual experiences could themselves be subject to a kind of racial bias, simply in virtue of accurately encoding previously encountered environmental regularities. This possibility raises the following question: what, if anything, is wrong with beliefs grounded upon these prejudicial experiences? They are consistent with a range of epistemic norms, including evidentialist and reliabilist standards for (...)
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  • Aesthetic Properties as Powers.Vid Simoniti - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):1434-1453.
    This paper argues for a realist position in the metaphysics of aesthetic properties. Realist positions about aesthetic properties are few and far between, though sometimes developed by analogy to realism about colours. By contrast, my position is based on a disanalogy between aesthetic properties and colours. Unlike colours, aesthetic properties are perceived as relatively unsteady properties: as powers that objects have to cause a certain experience in the observer. Following on from this observation, I develop a realist account of aesthetic (...)
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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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  • 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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  • On a Neglected Aspect of Agentive Experience.Andrew Sims - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (4):1313-1330.
    There is an argument for incompatibilism that is based on the experience of agency. Authors who endorse this argument place pro tanto evidential weight on one or more of two putative aspects of the experience of being an agent: i) the experience of being the causal source of our actions; ii) the experience of having robust alternative possibilities available to one. With some exceptions, these authors and their critics alike neglect a third significant aspect of the experience of agency: iii) (...)
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  • New Directions in the Epistemology of Modality: Introduction.Antonella Mallozzi - 2021 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1841-1859.
    The fourteen papers in this collection offer a variety of original contributions to the epistemology of modality. In seeking to explain how we might account for our knowledge of possibility and necessity, they raise some novel questions, develop some unfamiliar theoretical perspectives, and make some intriguing proposals. Collectively, they advance our understanding of the field. In Part I of this Introduction, I give some general background about the contemporary literature in the area, by sketching a timeline of the main tendencies (...)
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  • An Integrative Design? How Liberalised Modal Empiricism Fails the Integration Challenge.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2021 - Synthese 198 (6):5655-5673.
    The idea that justified modal belief can be accounted for in terms of empirically justified, non-modal belief is enjoying increasing popularity in the epistemology of modality. One alleged reason to prefer modal empiricism over more traditional, rationalist modal epistemologies is that empiricism avoids the problem with the integration challenge that arise for rationalism, assuming that we want to be realists about modal metaphysics. In this paper, I argue that given two very reasonable constraints on what it means to meet the (...)
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  • The Epistemological Objection to Modal Primitivism.Jennifer Wang - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1887-1898.
    Modal primitivists hold that some modal truths are primitively true. They thus seem to face a special epistemological problem: how can primitive modal truths be known? The epistemological objection has not been adequately developed in the literature. I undertake to develop the objection, and then to argue that the best formulation of the epistemological objection targets all realists about modality, rather than the primitivist alone. Furthermore, the moves available to reductionists in response to the objection are also available to primitivists. (...)
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  • Superexplanations for Counterfactual Knowledge.Antonella Mallozzi - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (4):1315-1337.
    I discuss several problems for Williamson’s counterfactual-theory of modal knowledge and argue that they have a common source, in that the theory neglects to elucidate the proper constraints on modal reasoning. Williamson puts forward an empirical hypothesis that rests on the role of counterfactual reasoning for modal knowledge. But he overlooks central questions of normative modal epistemology. In order for counterfactual reasoning to yield correct beliefs about modality, it needs to be suitably constrained. I argue that what is needed is, (...)
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  • The Inductive Route Towards Necessity.Quentin Ruyant - 2020 - Acta Analytica 35 (2):147-163.
    It is generally assumed that relations of necessity cannot be known by induction on experience. In this paper, I propose a notion of situated possibilities, weaker than nomic possibilities, that is compatible with an inductivist epistemology for modalities. I show that assuming this notion, not only can relations of necessity be known by induction on our experience, but such relations cannot be any more underdetermined by experience than universal regularities. This means that any one believing in a universal regularity is (...)
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  • Putting Modal Metaphysics First.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 8):1-20.
    I propose that we approach the epistemology of modality by putting modal metaphysics first and, specifically, by investigating the metaphysics of essence. Following a prominent Neo-Aristotelian view, I hold that metaphysical necessity depends on the nature of things, namely their essences. I further clarify that essences are core properties having distinctive superexplanatory powers. In the case of natural kinds, which is my focus in the paper, superexplanatoriness is due to the fact that the essence of a kind is what causes (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Modality and the Problem of Modal Epistemic Friction.Anand Jayprakash Vaidya & Michael Wallner - 2021 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1909-1935.
    There are three theories in the epistemology of modality that have received sustained attention over the past 20 years: conceivability-theory, counterfactual-theory, and deduction-theory. In this paper we argue that all three face what we call the problem of modal epistemic friction. One consequence of the problem is that for any of the three accounts to yield modal knowledge, the account must provide an epistemology of essence. We discuss an attempt to fend off the problem within the context of the internalism (...)
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  • Moral Perception, Inference, and Intuition.Daniel Wodak - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (6):1495-1512.
    Sarah McGrath argues that moral perception has an advantage over its rivals in its ability to explain ordinary moral knowledge. I disagree. After clarifying what the moral perceptualist is and is not committed to, I argue that rival views are both more numerous and more plausible than McGrath suggests: specifically, I argue that inferentialism can be defended against McGrath’s objections; if her arguments against inferentialism succeed, we should accept a different rival that she neglects, intuitionism; and, reductive epistemologists can appeal (...)
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  • Modal Science.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):453-492.
    This paper explains and defends the idea that metaphysical necessity is the strongest kind of objective necessity. Plausible closure conditions on the family of objective modalities are shown to entail that the logic of metaphysical necessity is S5. Evidence is provided that some objective modalities are studied in the natural sciences. In particular, the modal assumptions implicit in physical applications of dynamical systems theory are made explicit by using such systems to define models of a modal temporal logic. Those assumptions (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Modality.Margot Strohminger & Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2017 - Analysis 77 (4):825-838.
  • Williamsonian Modal Epistemology, Possibility-Based.Barbara Vetter - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):766-795.
    Williamsonian modal epistemology is characterized by two commitments: realism about modality, and anti-exceptionalism about our modal knowledge. Williamson’s own counterfactual-based modal epistemology is the best known implementation of WME, but not the only option that is available. I sketch and defend an alternative implementation which takes our knowledge of metaphysical modality to arise, not from knowledge of counterfactuals, but from our knowledge of ordinary possibility statements of the form ‘x can F’. I defend this view against a criticism indicated in (...)
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  • New Powers for Dispositionalism.Giacomo Giannini - 2020 - Synthese (ST: New Foundations for Disposit):1-30.
    Establishing Dispositionalism as a viable theory of modality requires the successful fulfilment of two tasks: showing that all modal truths can be derived from truths about actual powers, and offering a suitable metaphysics of powers. These two tasks are intertwined: difficulties in one can affect the chances of success in the other. In this paper, I generalise an objection to Dispositionalism by Jessica Leech and argue that the theory in its present form is ill-suited to account for de re truths (...)
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  • Two Notions of Metaphysical Modality.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 6):1-22.
    The paper explores the project of an ambitious modal epistemology that attempts to combine the a priori methods of Chalmers’ 2D semantics with Kripke’s modal metaphysics. I argue that such a project is not viable. The ambitious modal epistemology involves an inconsistent triad composed of (1) Modal Monism, (2) Two-Dimensionalism, and what I call (3) “Metaphysical Kripkeanism”. I present the three theses and show how only two of those can be true at a time. There is a fundamental incompatibility between (...)
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  • Conceivability and Possibility: Some Dilemmas for Humeans.Francesco Berto & Tom Schoonen - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2697-2715.
    The Humean view that conceivability entails possibility can be criticized via input from cognitive psychology. A mainstream view here has it that there are two candidate codings for mental representations (one of them being, according to some, reducible to the other): the linguistic and the pictorial, the difference between the two consisting in the degree of arbitrariness of the representation relation. If the conceivability of P at issue for Humeans involves the having of a linguistic mental representation, then it is (...)
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  • Reply to Vetter.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):796-802.
  • Spaces of Possibility.Timothy Williamson - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82:189-204.
    We care not just how things are but how they could have been otherwise – about possibility and necessity as well as actuality. Many philosophers regard such talk as beyond the reach of respectable science, since observation tells us how things are but not how they could have been otherwise. I argue that, on the contrary, such criticisms are ill-founded: possibility and necessity are studied in natural science, for example through phase spaces, abstract mathematical representations of the possible states of (...)
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