The epistemology of modality and the problem of modal epistemic friction

Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1909-1935 (2021)
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Abstract

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 versus externalism debate about epistemic justification. We then investigate the effects that the PMEF has on reductive and non-reductive theories of the relation between essence and modality.

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Author Profiles

Anand Vaidya
San Jose State University
Michael Wallner
University of Graz

Citations of this work

Possibility Precedes Actuality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (8):3583-3603.
The Epistemology of Essence.Antonella Mallozzi - 2024 - In Kathrin Koslicki & Michael J. Raven (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Essence in Philosophy. Routledge.
Superexplanations for counterfactual knowledge.Antonella Mallozzi - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (4):1315-1337.

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References found in this work

Does conceivability entail possibility.David J. Chalmers - 2002 - In Tamar Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 145--200.
A treatise of human nature.David Hume & A. D. Lindsay - 1969 - Harmondsworth,: Penguin Books. Edited by Ernest Campbell Mossner.
The Philosophy of Philosophy.Timothy Williamson - 2007 - Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
On what grounds what.Jonathan Schaffer - 2009 - In David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 347-383.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.

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