Van Inwagen’s modal skepticism

Philosophical Studies 153 (3):351-364 (2011)
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Abstract

In this paper, the author defends Peter van Inwagen’s modal skepticism. Van Inwagen accepts that we have much basic, everyday modal knowledge, but denies that we have the capacity to justify philosophically interesting modal claims that are far removed from this basic knowledge. The author also defends the argument by means of which van Inwagen supports his modal skepticism, offering a rebuttal to an objection along the lines of that proposed by Geirrson. Van Inwagen argues that Stephen Yablo’s recent and influential account of the relationship between conceivability and possibility supports his skeptical claims. The author’s defence involves a creative interpretation and development of Yablo’s account, which results in a recursive account of modal epistemology, what the author calls the “safe explanation” theory of modal epistemology.

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Author's Profile

Peter Hawke
Lingnan University

References found in this work

Is conceivability a guide to possibility?Stephen Yablo - 1993 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (1):1-42.
Modal Epistemology and the Rationalist Renaissance.George Bealer - 2002 - In Tamar Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 71-125.
Modal epistemology.Peter Van Inwagen - 1998 - Philosophical Studies 92 (1):67--84.
Modal Epistemology.E. Weber & T. DeMey (eds.) - 2004 - Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van Belgie vor Wetenschappen en Kunsten.
Conceivability and defeasible modal justification.Heimir Geirsson - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 122 (3):279-304.

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