Ylwa Sjölin Wirling
University of Gothenburg
Till Grüne-Yanoff
Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
Scientists regularly make possibility claims. While philosophers of science are well aware of the distinction between epistemic and objective notions of possibility, we believe that they often fail to apply this distinction in their analyses of scientific practices that employ modal concepts. We argue that heeding this distinction will help further progress in current debates in the philosophy of science, as it shows that the debaters talk about different things, rather than disagree on the same issue. We first discuss how the two notions differ with respect to their epistemology and show that these differences are sometimes ignored in the philosophy of science. We then revisit four current philosophy of science debates about modelling, that are framed in modal terms, to showcase how the distinction significantly clarifies these debates and thereby and helps advance them.
Keywords Epistemic Possibility  Modal Modeling  How-possibly Explanation  Constraint-based explanation  Climate models
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,740
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Epistemic Artifacts and the Modal Dimension of Modeling.Tarja Knuuttila - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (3):1-18.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

How Could Models Possibly Provide How-Possibly Explanations?Philippe Verreault-Julien - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 73:1-12.
Extending Similarity-Based Epistemology of Modality with Models.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
An Imaginative Person’s Guide to Objective Modality.Derek Lam - forthcoming - In Amy Kind & Christopher Badura (eds.), Epistemic Uses of Imagination. Routledge.
Free Choice Disjunction and Epistemic Possibility.Thomas Ede Zimmermann - 2000 - Natural Language Semantics 8 (4):255-290.
Spaces of Possibility.Timothy Williamson - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82:189-204.
Epistemic Modals and Modus Tollens.Joseph Salerno - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2663-2680.
Intuition and Modal Error.George Bealer - 2008 - In Quentin Smith (ed.), Epistemology: New Essays. Oxford University Press.


Added to PP index

Total views
42 ( #260,473 of 2,462,870 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
42 ( #21,145 of 2,462,870 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes