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Summary There are several things that we do not know about the world. Currently, for instance, I do not know whether it is raining in Canberra or not. So it is possible for me, epistemically speaking, that it rains in Canberra, and it is possible for me, epistemically speaking, that it does not. Most agree that epistemic possibilities are somehow related to knowledge: roughly, a possibility is an epistemic possibility just in case it is not known that it does not obtain. There are three central questions that philosophers ask about epistemic possibilities. First, what are epistemic possibilities? Some argue that they are akin to metaphysically possible worlds, others that they are akin to a priori consistent ways the world might be, and others again that at least some epistemic possibilities are akin to impossible worlds. Second, whose knowledge matters for determining what is epistemically possible and not? Some hold that it is the knowledge of a single subject that matters, while others hold that it is the knowledge of a group that matters. Third, what is the semantic analysis of epistemic modals? In natural language, epistemic possibilities are often expressed by sentences such as "It might be that P" and "For all I know, P", and people have proposed contextualist, relativist, contrastive, and non-truth-conditional analysis of such epistemic modals. 
Key works For issues concerning the nature of epistemic possibilities, see in particular Chalmers 2011 and Soames 2011. For issues concerning the knowledge-based analysis of epistemic possibility, see in particular DeRose 1991. For issues concerning the semantics of epistemic modals, see the entry on "Epistemic Modals" for details. 
Introductions Egan & Weatherson 2009 contains a collection of recent essays on epistemic possibility. Egan and Weatherson's introduction to the collection is very useful for gaining an overview of the main issues discussed in the literature. 
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  1. Charity Anderson (2014). Fallibilism and the Flexibility of Epistemic Modals. Philosophical Studies 167 (3):597-606.
    It is widely acknowledged that epistemic modals admit of inter-subjective flexibility. This paper introduces intra-subjective flexibility for epistemic modals and draws on this flexibility to argue that fallibilism is consistent with the standard account of epistemic modals.
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  2. Kent Bach (2009). Perspectives on Possibilities: Contextualism, Relativism, or What? In Andy Egan & B. Weatherson (eds.), Epistemic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    Epistemic possibilities are relative to bodies of information, or perspectives. To claim that something is epistemically possible is typically to claim that it is possible relative one’s own current perspective. We generally do this by using bare, unqualified epistemic possibility (EP) sentences, ones that don’t mention our perspective. The fact that epistemic possibilities are relative to perspectives suggests that these bare EP sentences fall short of fully expressing propositions, contrary to what both contextualists and relativists take for granted. Although they (...)
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  3. David Barnett (2009). Yalcin on 'Might'. Mind 118 (471):771 - 775.
    On one view about the word 'might', to say, sincerely and literally, that it might be that S is to say something about one's epistemic state (and perhaps also about the epistemic states of those around one). For convenience, I will call this the natural view about 'might' On one version of the natural view, to say that it might be that S is to say that what one is certain of is consistent with the proposition that S. Seth Yalcin (...)
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  4. Benjamin Bayer, An Evidentialist Account of Epistemic Possibility.
    Michael Huemer (2007) has articulated a provocative account of the concept of "epistemic possibility" which he hopes will explicate the explanatory value of the concept while also lending support to a broader anti-skeptical strategy. While I think his account has a number of advantages, many of which Huemer himself identifies, there are also significant disadvantages which should prompt us to seek an alternative. In this paper I describe an alternative which builds on some of the better features of Huemer's account, (...)
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  5. George Bealer (2002). Modal Epistemology and the Rationalist Renaissance. In Tamar S. Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. 71--125.
    The paper begins with a clarification of the notions of intuition (and, in particular, modal intuition), modal error, conceivability, metaphysical possibility, and epistemic possibility. It is argued that two-dimensionalism is the wrong framework for modal epistemology and that a certain nonreductionist approach to the theory of concepts and propositions is required instead. Finally, there is an examination of moderate rationalism.
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  6. Jens Christian Bjerring (2013). Impossible Worlds and Logical Omniscience: An Impossibility Result. Synthese 190 (13):2505-2524.
    In this paper, I investigate whether we can use a world-involving framework to model the epistemic states of non-ideal agents. The standard possible-world framework falters in this respect because of a commitment to logical omniscience. A familiar attempt to overcome this problem centers around the use of impossible worlds where the truths of logic can be false. As we shall see, if we admit impossible worlds where “anything goes” in modal space, it is easy to model extremely non-ideal agents that (...)
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  7. Jens Christian Bjerring (2012). Problems in Epistemic Space. Journal of Philosophical Logic (1):1-18.
    When a proposition might be the case, for all an agent knows, we can say that the proposition is epistemically possible for the agent. In the standard possible worlds framework, we analyze modal claims using quantification over possible worlds. It is natural to expect that something similar can be done for modal claims involving epistemic possibility. The main aim of this paper is to investigate the prospects of constructing a space of worlds—epistemic space—that allows us to model what is epistemically (...)
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  8. Jens Christian Bjerring (2010). Non-Ideal Epistemic Spaces. Dissertation, Australian National University
    In a possible world framework, an agent can be said to know a proposition just in case the proposition is true at all worlds that are epistemically possible for the agent. Roughly, a world is epistemically possible for an agent just in case the world is not ruled out by anything the agent knows. If a proposition is true at some epistemically possible world for an agent, the proposition is epistemically possible for the agent. If a proposition is true at (...)
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  9. Alex Byrne & James Pryor (2006). Bad Intensions. In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Maci (eds.), Two-Dimensional Semantics: Foundations and Applications. Oxford University Press. 38--54.
    _the a priori role_ (for word T). For instance, perhaps anyone who understands the word _water_ is able to know, without appeal to any further a posteriori information, that _water_ refers to the clear, drinkable natural kind whose instances are predominant in our oceans and lakes (if _water_ refers at all.
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  10. Fabrizio Cariani (2013). Epistemic and Deontic Should. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):73-84.
    Probabilistic theories of “should” and “ought” face a predicament. At first blush, it seems that such theories must provide different lexical entries for the epistemic and the deontic interpretations of these modals. I show that there is a new style of premise semantics that can avoid this consequence in an attractively conservative way.
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  11. David J. Chalmers (2011). The Nature of Epistemic Space. In Andy Egan & Brian Weatherson (eds.), Epistemic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    There are many ways the world might be, for all I know. For all I know, it might be that there is life on Jupiter, and it might be that there is not. It might be that Australia will win the next Ashes series, and it might be that they will not. It might be that my great-grandfather was my great-grandmother's second cousin, and it might be that he was not. It might be that copper is a compound, and it (...)
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  12. David J. Chalmers (2002). Does Conceivability Entail Possibility? In Tamar S. Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. 145--200.
    There is a long tradition in philosophy of using a priori methods to draw conclusions about what is possible and what is necessary, and often in turn to draw conclusions about matters of substantive metaphysics. Arguments like this typically have three steps: first an epistemic claim (about what can be known or conceived), from there to a modal claim (about what is possible or necessary), and from there to a metaphysical claim (about the nature of things in the world).
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  13. Keith DeRose (1991). Epistemic Possibilities. Philosophical Review 100 (4):581-605.
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  14. Josh Dever (2007). Low-Grade Two-Dimensionalism. Philosophical Books 48 (1):1-16.
    As tends to be the way with philosophical positions, there are at least as many two-dimensionalisms as there are two-dimensionalists. But painting with a broad brush, there are core epistemological and metaphysical commitments which underlie the two-dimensionalist project, commitments for which I have no sympathies. A sketch of three signi?cant points of disagreement.
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  15. Dylan Dodd (2010). Confusion About Concessive Knowledge Attributions. Synthese 172 (3):381 - 396.
    Concessive knowledge attributions (CKAs) are knowledge attributions of the form ‘S knows p, but it’s possible that q’, where q obviously entails not-p (Rysiew, Nous (Detroit, Mich.) 35:477–514, 2001). The significance of CKAs has been widely discussed recently. It’s agreed by all that CKAs are infelicitous, at least typically. But the agreement ends there. Different writers have invoked them in their defenses of all sorts of philosophical theses; to name just a few: contextualism, invariantism, fallibilism, infallibilism, and that the knowledge (...)
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  16. Dylan Dodd (2006). The Challenge of Concessive Knowledge Attributions. Facta Philosophica 8 (1-2):221-227.
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  17. Daniel Dohrn, The Unthinkable, Might It Be?
    A basic intuition about epistemic possibility is the following: It might be that p iff it is open whether p. The standard way of cashing out this intuition is: It might be that p iff it is reconcilable with one’s informational state that p. However, there are certain examples which point to a lacuna in this conception. They indicate that epistemic possibility is restricted to what one can conceive as an alternative, what one can have a cognitive attitude to.
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  18. Cian Dorr & John Hawthorne (2013). Embedding Epistemic Modals. Mind 122 (488):867-914.
    Seth Yalcin has pointed out some puzzling facts about the behaviour of epistemic modals in certain embedded contexts. For example, conditionals that begin ‘If it is raining and it might not be raining, … ’ sound unacceptable, unlike conditionals that begin ‘If it is raining and I don’t know it, … ’. These facts pose a prima facie problem for an orthodox treatment of epistemic modals as expressing propositions about the knowledge of some contextually specified individual or group. This paper (...)
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  19. Trent Dougherty & Patrick Rysiew (2009). Fallibilism, Epistemic Possibility, and Concessive Knowledge Attributions. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (1):123-132.
    If knowing requires believing on the basis of evidence that entails what’s believed, we have hardly any knowledge at all. Hence the near-universal acceptance of fallibilism in epistemology: if it's true that "we are all fallibilists now" (Siegel 1997: 164), that's because denying that one can know on the basis of non-entailing evidence1is, it seems, not an option if we're to preserve the very strong appearance that we do know many things (Cohen 1988: 91). Hence the significance of concessive knowledge (...)
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  20. Gary Ebbs (2008). Anti-Individualism, Self-Knowledge, and Epistemic Possibility: Further Reflections on a Puzzle About Doubt. In Anthony E. Hatzimoysis (ed.), Self-Knowledge. Oxford University Press.
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  21. Dorothy Edgington (2004). Two Kinds of Possibility. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 78 (1):1–22.
    I defend a version of Kripke's claim that the metaphysically necessary and the knowable a priori are independent. On my version, there are two independent families of modal notions, metaphysical and epistemic, neither stronger than the other. Metaphysical possibility is constrained by the laws of nature. Logical validity, I suggest, is best understood in terms of epistemic necessity.
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  22. Andy Egan (2007). Epistemic Modals, Relativism and Assertion. Philosophical Studies 133 (1):1--22.
    I think that there are good reasons to adopt a relativist semantics for epistemic modal claims such as ``the treasure might be under the palm tree'', according to which such utterances determine a truth value relative to something finer-grained than just a world (or a <world, time> pair). Anyone who is inclined to relativise truth to more than just worlds and times faces a problem about assertion. It's easy to be puzzled about just what purpose would be served by assertions (...)
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  23. Andy Egan, John Hawthorne & Brian Weatherson (2005). Epistemic Modals in Context. In G. Preyer & G. Peter (eds.), Contextualism in Philosophy. Oxford University Press. 131-170.
    A very simple contextualist treatment of a sentence containing an epistemic modal, e.g. a might be F, is that it is true iff for all the contextually salient community knows, a is F. It is widely agreed that the simple theory will not work in some cases, but the counterexamples produced so far seem amenable to a more complicated contextualist theory. We argue, however, that no contextualist theory can capture the evaluations speakers naturally make of sentences containing epistemic modals. If (...)
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  24. Andy Egan & B. Weatherson (eds.) (2009). Epistemic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    The ten new essays in this volume explore various answers to these questions, including those offered by contextualism, relativism, and expressivism.
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  25. James H. Fetzer (1974). On “Epistemic Possibility”. Philosophia 4 (2-3):327-335.
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  26. M. Oreste Fiocco (2007). Conceivability and Epistemic Possibility. Erkenntnis 67 (3):387 - 399.
    The notion of conceivability has traditionally been regarded as crucial to an account of modal knowledge. Despite its importance to modal epistemology, there is no received explication of conceivability. In recent discussions, some have attempted to explicate the notion in terms of epistemic possibility. There are, however, two notions of epistemic possibility, a more familiar one and a novel one. I argue that these two notions are independent of one another. Both are irrelevant to an account of modal knowledge on (...)
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  27. Ian Hacking (1967). Possibility. Philosophical Review 76 (2):143-168.
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  28. Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.) (2010). Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
    The philosophy of modality investigates necessity and possibility, and related notions--are they objective features of mind-independent reality? If so, are they irreducible, or can modal facts be explained in other terms? This volume presents new work on modality by established leaders in the field and by up-and-coming philosophers. Between them, the papers address fundamental questions concerning realism and anti-realism about modality, the nature and basis of facts about what is possible and what is necessary, the nature of modal knowledge, modal (...)
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  29. John Hawthorne & Maria Lasonen-Aarnio (2009). Knowledge and Objective Chance. In Patrick Greenough & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Williamson on Knowledge. Oxford University Press. 92--108.
    We think we have lots of substantial knowledge about the future. But contemporary wisdom has it that indeterminism prevails in such a way that just about any proposition about the future has a non-zero objective chance of being false.2, 3 What should one do about this? One, pessimistic, reaction is scepticism about knowledge of the future. We think this should be something of a last resort, especially since this scepticism is likely to infect alleged knowledge of the present and past. (...)
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  30. Jaakko Hintikka (1975). Impossible Possible Worlds Vindicated. Journal of Philosophical Logic 4 (4):475 - 484.
  31. Michael Huemer (2007). Epistemic Possibility. Synthese 156 (1):119 - 142.
    Seven proposed accounts of epistemic possibility are criticized, and a new account is proposed, making use of the notion of having justification for dismissing a proposition. The new account explains intuitions about otherwise puzzling cases, upholds plausible general principles about epistemic possibility, and explains the practical import of epistemic modality judgements. It is suggested that judgements about epistemic possibility function to assess which propositions are worthy of further inquiry.
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  32. Andrea Iacona (2012). TxW Epistemic Modality. Logic and Philosophy of Science 10:3-14.
    So far, T×W frames have been employed to provide a semantics for a language of tense logic that includes a modal operator that expresses historical necessity. The operator is defined in terms of quantification over possible courses of events that satisfy a certain constraint, namely, that of being alike up to a given point. However, a modal operator can as well be defined without placing that constraint. This paper outlines a T×W logic where an operator of the latter kind is (...)
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  33. Mark Jago (2013). The Problem of Rational Knowledge. Erkenntnis:1-18.
    Real-world agents do not know all consequences of what they know. But we are reluctant to say that a rational agent can fail to know some trivial consequence of what she knows. Since every consequence of what she knows can be reached via chains of trivial cot be dismissed easily, as some have attempted to do. Rather, a solution must give adequate weight to the normative requirements on rational agents’ epistemic states, without treating those agents as mathematically ideal reasoners. I’ll (...)
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  34. Mark Jago (2009). Logical Information and Epistemic Space. Synthese 167 (2):327 - 341.
    Gaining information can be modelled as a narrowing of epistemic space . Intuitively, becoming informed that such-and-such is the case rules out certain scenarios or would-be possibilities. Chalmers’s account of epistemic space treats it as a space of a priori possibility and so has trouble in dealing with the information which we intuitively feel can be gained from logical inference. I propose a more inclusive notion of epistemic space, based on Priest’s notion of open worlds yet which contains only those (...)
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  35. Mark Jago (2007). Hintikka and Cresswell on Logical Omniscience. Logic and Logical Philosophy 15 (3):325-354.
    I discuss three ways of responding to the logical omniscience problems faced by traditional ‘possible worlds’ epistemic logics. Two of these responses were put forward by Hintikka and the third by Cresswell; all three have been influential in the literature on epistemic logic. I show that both of Hintikka's responses fail and present some problems for Cresswell’s. Although Cresswell's approach can be amended to avoid certain unpalatable consequences, the resulting formal framework collapses to a sentential model of knowledge, which defenders (...)
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  36. Mark Jago (2006). Imagine the Possibilities: Information Without Overload. Logique Et Analyse 49 (196):345–371.
    Information is often modelled as a set of relevant possibilities, treated as logically possible worlds. However, this has the unintuitive consequence that the logical consequences of an agent's information cannot be informative for that agent. There are many scenarios in which such consequences are clearly informative for the agent in question. Attempts to weaken the logic underlying each possible world are misguided. Instead, I provide a genuinely psychological notion of epistemic possibility and show how it can be captured in a (...)
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  37. Jeffrey C. King (2007). What in the World Are the Ways Things Might Have Been? [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 133 (3):443 - 453.
    Robert Stalnaker is an actualist who holds that merely possible worlds are uninstantiated properties that might have been instantiated. Stalnaker also holds that there are no metaphysically impossible worlds: uninstantiated properties that couldn't have been instantiated. These views motivate Stalnaker's "two dimensional" account of the necessary a posteriori on which there is no single proposition that is both necessary and a posteriori. For a (metaphysically) necessary proposition is true in all (metaphysically) possible worlds. If there were necessary a posteriori propositions, (...)
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  38. Hylarie Kochiras (2006). Belief Contexts and Epistemic Possibility. Principia 10 (1):1-20.
    Although epistemic possibility figures in several debates, those debates have had relatively little contact with one another. G. E. Moore focused squarely upon analyzing epistemic uses of the phrase, ‘It’s possible that p’, and in doing so he made two fundamental assumptions. First, he assumed that epistemic possibility statements always express the epistemic position of a community, as opposed to that of an individual speaker. Second, he assumed that all epistemic uses of ‘It’s possible that p’ are analyzable in terms (...)
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  39. Clayton Littlejohn (2011). Concessive Knowledge Attributions and Fallibilism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (3):603-619.
    Lewis thought concessive knowledge attributions (e.g., ‘I know that Harry is a zebra, but it might be that he’s just a cleverly disguised mule’) caused serious trouble for fallibilists. As he saw it, CKAs are overt statements of the fallibilist view and they are contradictory. Dougherty and Rysiew have argued that CKAs are pragmatically defective rather than semantically defective. Stanley thinks that their pragmatic response to Lewis fails, but the fallibilist cause is not lost because Lewis was wrong about the (...)
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  40. John MacFarlane (forthcoming). Epistemic Modalities and Relative Truth. Drafts.
    I want to discuss a puzzle about the semantics of epistemic modals, like “It might be the case that” as it occurs in “It might be the case that Goldbach’s conjecture is false.”1 I’ll argue that the puzzle cannot be adequately explained on standard accounts of the semantics of epistemic modals, and that a proper solution requires relativizing utterance truth to a context of assessment, a semantic device whose utility and coherence I have defended elsewhere for future contingents (MacFarlane..
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  41. John MacFarlane (2009). Epistemic Modals Are Assessment-Sensitive. In Andy Egan & B. Weatherson (eds.), Epistemic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    By “epistemic modals,” I mean epistemic uses of modal words: adverbs like “necessarily,” “possibly,” and “probably,” adjectives like “necessary,” “possible,” and “probable,” and auxiliaries like “might,” “may,” “must,” and “could.” It is hard to say exactly what makes a word modal, or what makes a use of a modal epistemic, without begging the questions that will be our concern below, but some examples should get the idea across. If I say “Goldbach’s conjecture might be true, and it might be false,” (...)
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  42. Michael McGlone, Strong Impossibilities (Partial Draft 1).
    A strong impossibility is a situation that is epistemically, but not metaphysically, possible. Opponents of strong impossibilities (including Chalmers, Jackson and Stalnaker) have argued that we have “overwhelming reason” to reject and “very little” or “no reason” to think that such impossibilities exist. This partial draft argues that there are strong impossibilities and (very briefly) discusses the manner in which the existence of strong impossibilities is related to some much-discussed arguments in the philosophy of conscious experience. (The full version of (...)
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  43. Anna Papafragou, Epistemic Modality and Truth Conditions.
    Within the linguistics literature it is often claimed that epistemic modality, unlike other kinds of modality, does not contribute to truth-conditional content. In this paper I challenge this view. I reanalyze a variety of arguments which have been used in support of the non-truth-conditional view and show that they can be handled on an alternative analysis of epistemic modality. # 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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  44. Isaac Record (2013). Technology and Epistemic Possibility. Journal for General Philosophy of Science (2):1-18.
    My aim in this paper is to give a philosophical analysis of the relationship between contingently available technology and the knowledge that it makes possible. My concern is with what specific subjects can know in practice, given their particular conditions, especially available technology, rather than what can be known “in principle” by a hypothetical entity like Laplace’s Demon. The argument has two parts. In the first, I’ll construct a novel account of epistemic possibility that incorporates two pragmatic conditions: responsibility and (...)
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  45. Patrick Rysiew (2009). Fallibilism, Epistemic Possibility, and Concessive Knowledge Attributions. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (1):123-132.
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  46. Stephen R. Schiffer, Mental Content and Epistemic Two-Dimensional Semantics.
    David’s epistemic understanding of two-dimensional semantics has these two features. First, although he considers at least two construals of epistemically possible worlds, on one of them they are centered metaphysically possible worlds. Second, David intends epistemic two-dimensional semantics to yield a theory of propositional-attitude content, as well as having application to the semantics of natural language expressions. These two features come together in David’s “The Components of Content,” where he deploys the apparatus of epistemic two-dimensional semantics to provide an account (...)
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  47. Moritz Schulz (2010). Epistemic Modals and Informational Consequence. Synthese 174 (3):385 - 395.
    Recently, Yalcin (Epistemic modals. Mind, 116 , 983–1026, 2007) put forward a novel account of epistemic modals. It is based on the observation that sentences of the form ‘ & Might ’ do not embed under ‘suppose’ and ‘if’. Yalcin concludes that such sentences must be contradictory and develops a notion of informational consequence which validates this idea. I will show that informational consequence is inadequate as an account of the logic of epistemic modals: it cannot deal with reasoning from (...)
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  48. Ori Simchen (2004). On the Impossibility of Nonactual Epistemic Possibilities. Journal of Philosophy 101 (10):527-554.
    A problem inherited from Kripke is the reconciliation of commitments to various necessities with conflicting intuitions of contingency, intuitions that things "might have turned out otherwise." Kripke's reconciliation strategy is to say that while it is necessary that X is Y, and so impossible for X not to be Y, it is nevertheless epistemically possible for X not to be Y. But what are nonactual epistemic possibilities? Several answers are considered and it is concluded that scenarios adduced to explain away (...)
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  49. Ori Simchen (2004). On The Impossibility of Nonactual Epistemic Possibilities. Journal of Philosophy 101 (10):527 - 554.
    A problem inherited from Kripke is the reconciliation of commitments to various necessities with conflicting intuitions of contingency, intuitions that things "might have turned out otherwise." Kripke's reconciliation strategy is to say that while it is necessary that X is Y, and so impossible for X not to be Y, it is nevertheless epistemically possible for X not to be Y. But what are nonactual epistemic possibilities? Several answers are considered and it is concluded that scenarios adduced to explain away (...)
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  50. Scott Soames (2011). Kripke on Epistemic and Metaphysical Possibility: Two Routes to the Necessary Aposteriori. In Alan Berger (ed.), Saul Kripke. Cambridge University Press.
    Saul Kripke’s discussion of the necessary aposteriori in Naming and Necessity and “Identity and Necessity” -- in which he lays the foundation for distinguishing epistemic from metaphysical possibility, and explaining the relationship between the two – is, in my opinion, one of the outstanding achievements of twentieth century philosophy.1 My aim in this essay is to extract the enduring lessons of his discussion, and disentangle them from certain difficulties which, alas, can also be found there. I will argue that there (...)
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