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Summary Modal Skepticism is concerned with the question of how much modal knowledge we can genuinely claim to have. Extreme modal skeptics maintain that we have no modal knowledge. Moderate modal skeptics maintain that we are justified in holding a modal beliefs with a certain range for which we have a reliable modal belief forming mechanism. Most philosophers reject extreme modal skepticism. The key issue is how to specify the appropriate range of modal beliefs. 
Key works The key work in modal skepticism is Inwagen 1998. In this paper van Inwagen argues against extreme modal skepticism and in favor of moderate modal skepticism. He presents a key challenge to conceivability approaches, especially that of Yablo 1993. The criticism centers around the idea that in order for one to conclude that their conception provides adequate warrant for believing that a proposition is possible, their conception must have a certain grain of detail that is not easily defeasible by further facts. Often it is the case that our conception does not provide us of adequate warrant, because our conception is best explained by our ignorance of certain facts that are clearly relevant. 
Introductions A key introduction is Vaidya 2007
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  1. Thomas Baldwin & Timothy Smiley (eds.) (2005). Studies in the Philosophy of Logic and Knowledge. OUP/British Academy.
    Eleven papers by distinguished British and American philosophers are brought together in this volume. -/- Five of the contributors engage in effect in a running debate about knowledge. How does knowledge relate to evidence? How reliable need one be to have knowledge? Once sceptical doubt has been introduced is there any untainted evidence to show that it is misplaced? Does verificationism succeed in showing that scepticism is untenable? Or is there a natural propensity for belief which explains why we are (...)
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  2. George Bealer (2004). The Origins of Modal Error. Dialectica 58 (1):11-42.
    Modal intuitions are the primary source of modal knowledge but also of modal error. According to the theory of modal error in this paper, modal intuitions retain their evidential force in spite of their fallibility, and erroneous modal intuitions are in principle identifiable and eliminable by subjecting our intuitions to a priori dialectic. After an inventory of standard sources of modal error, two further sources are examined in detail. The first source - namely, the failure to distinguish between metaphysical possibility (...)
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  3. James Beebe (2011). A Priori Skepticism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (3):583 - 602.
    In this article I investigate a neglected form of radical skepticism that questions whether any of our logical, mathematical and other seemingly self-evident beliefs count as knowledge. ‘A priori skepticism,’ as I will call it, challenges our ability to know any of the following sorts of propositions: (1.1) The sum of two and three is five. (1.2) Whatever is square is rectangular. (1.3) Whatever is red is colored. (1.4) No surface can be uniformly red and uniformly blue at the same (...)
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  4. Michael Bergmann (2001). Skeptical Theism and Rowe's New Evidential Argument From Evil. Noûs 35 (2):278–296.
    Skeptical theists endorse the skeptical thesis (which is consistent with the rejection of theism) that we have no good reason for thinking the possible goods we know of are representative of the possible goods there are. In his newest formulation of the evidential arguments from evil, William Rowe tries to avoid assuming the falsity of this skeptical thesis, presumably because it seems so plausible. I argue that his new argument fails to avoid doing this. Then I defend that skeptical thesis (...)
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  5. Michael Bergmann & Michael Rea (2005). In Defence of Sceptical Theism: A Reply to Almeida and Oppy. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (2):241 – 251.
    Some evidential arguments from evil rely on an inference of the following sort: 'If, after thinking hard, we can't think of any God-justifying reason for permitting some horrific evil then it is likely that there is no such reason'. Sceptical theists, us included, say that this inference is not a good one and that evidential arguments from evil that depend on it are, as a result, unsound. Michael Almeida and Graham Oppy have argued (in a previous issue of this journal) (...)
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  6. Anthony Brueckner (1985). ``Losing Track of the Sceptic&Quot. Analysis 45:103--104.
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  7. Brandon Carey (2011). Possible Disagreements and Defeat. Philosophical Studies 155 (3):371-381.
    Conciliatory views about disagreement with one’s epistemic peers lead to a somewhat troubling skeptical conclusion: that often, when we know others disagree, we ought to be (perhaps much) less sure of our beliefs than we typically are. One might attempt to extend this skeptical conclusion by arguing that disagreement with merely possible epistemic agents should be epistemically significant to the same degree as disagreement with actual agents, and that, since for any belief we have, it is possible that someone should (...)
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  8. Daniel Cohnitz, The Logic of Negative Conceivability.
    Analytic epistemology is traditionally interested in rational reconstructions of cognitive pro- cesses. The purpose of these rational reconstructions is to make plain how a certain cognitive process might eventually result in knowledge or justi?ed beliefs, etc., if we pre-theoretically think that we have such knowledge or such justi?ed beliefs. Typically a rational reconstruction assumes some (more or less) unproblematic basis of knowledge and some justi?cation-preserving inference pattern and then goes on to show how these two su ce to generate the (...)
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  9. Daniel Cohnitz (2003). Modal Skepticism: Philosophical Thought Experiments and Modal Epistemology. Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 10.
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  10. Daniel Cohnitz (2003). Modal Skepticism: Philosophical Thought Experiments and Modal Epistemology. Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 10:281--296.
    One of the most basic methods of philosophy is, and has always been, the consideration of counterfactual cases and imaginary scenarios. One purpose of doing so obviously is to test our theories against such counterfactual cases. Although this method is widespread, it is far from being commonly accepted. Especially during the last two decades it has been confronted with criticism ranging from complete dismissal to denying only its critical powers to a cautious defense of the use of thought experiments as (...)
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  11. Nicholas Denyer (1991). Review: Symbolic Scepticism. [REVIEW] Phronesis 36 (3):313 - 318.
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  12. John Divers (2007). Quinean Scepticism About de Re Modality After David Lewis. European Journal of Philosophy 15 (1):40–62.
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  13. Manuel García-Carpintero (2003). Gómez-Torrente on Modality and Tarskian Logical Consequence. Theoria 18 (2):159-170.
    Gómez-Torrente’s papers have made important contributions to vindicate Tarski’s model-theoretic account of the logical properties in the face of Etchemendy’s criticisms. However, at some points his vindication depends on interpreting the Tarskian account as purportedly modally deflationary, i.e., as not intended to capture the intuitive modal element in the logical properties, that logical consequence is (epistemic or alethic) necessary truth-preservation. Here it is argued that the views expressed in Tarski’s seminal work do not support this modally deflationary interpretation, even if (...)
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  14. Bob Hale & Crispin Wright (1989). Necessity, Caution and Scepticism. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 63:175 - 238.
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  15. Peter Hawke (2011). Van Inwagen's Modal Skepticism. Philosophical Studies 153 (3):351-364.
    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 (...)
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  16. András Kertész (2002). On the de-Naturalization of Epistemology. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 33 (2):269-288.
    Starting from an overview of approaches to naturalized epistemology, the paper shows, firstly, that Quine's programme yields a sceptical paradox. This means that Quine's attempt to defeat scepticism itself yields a rather strong argument for scepticism and thus against his own programme of naturalized epistemology. Secondly, it is shown that this paradox can be solved by an approach called reflexive-heuristic naturalism. Finally, the paper also raises some fundamental problems which the solution proposed has to leave open.
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  17. Philip Kitcher (1976). Hilbert's Epistemology. Philosophy of Science 43 (1):99-115.
    Hilbert's program attempts to show that our mathematical knowledge can be certain because we are able to know for certain the truths of elementary arithmetic. I argue that, in the absence of a theory of mathematical truth, Hilbert does not have a complete theory of our arithmetical knowledge. Further, while his deployment of a Kantian notion of intuition seems to promise an answer to scepticism, there is no way to complete Hilbert's epistemology which would answer to his avowed aims.
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  18. Maja Malec (2004). A Priori Knowledge Contextualised and Benacerraf's Dilemma. Acta Analytica 19 (33):31-44.
    In this article, I discuss Hawthorne'€™s contextualist solution to Benacerraf'€™s dilemma. He wants to find a satisfactory epistemology to go with realist ontology, namely with causally inaccessible mathematical and modal entities. I claim that he is unsuccessful. The contextualist theories of knowledge attributions were primarily developed as a response to the skeptical argument based on the deductive closure principle. Hawthorne uses the same strategy in his attempt to solve the epistemologist puzzle facing the proponents of mathematical and modal realism, but (...)
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  19. Charles G. Morgan (1979). Note on a Strong Liberated Modal Logic and its Relevance to Possible World Skepticism. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 20 (4):718-722.
  20. F. A. Muller (2005). Deflating Skolem. Synthese 143 (3):223--53.
    . Remarkably, despite the tremendous success of axiomatic set-theory in mathematics, logic and meta-mathematics, e.g., model-theory, two philosophical worries about axiomatic set-theory as the adequate catch of the set-concept keep haunting it. Having dealt with one worry in a previous paper in this journal, we now fulfil a promise made there, namely to deal with the second worry. The second worry is the Skolem Paradox and its ensuing Skolemite skepticism. We present a comparatively novel and simple analysis of the argument (...)
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  21. F. A. Muller (2005). Deflating Skolem. Synthese 143 (3):223 - 253.
    Remarkably, despite the tremendous success of axiomatic set-theory in mathematics, logic and meta-mathematics, e.g., model-theory, two philosophical worries about axiomatic set-theory as the adequate catch of the set-concept keep haunting it. Having dealt with one worry in a previous paper in this journal, we now fulfil a promise made there, namely to deal with the second worry. The second worry is the Skolem Paradox and its ensuing 'Skolemite skepticism'. We present a comparatively novel and simple analysis of the argument of (...)
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  22. Robert Nozick (2001). Invariances: The Structure of the Objective World. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
    Excerpts from Robert Nozick's "Invariances" Necessary truths are invariant across all possible worlds, contingent ones across only some.
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  23. Timothy O'Connor (2008). Theism and Ultimate Explanation: The Necessary Shape of Contingency. Blackwell Pub..
    An expansive, yet succinct, analysis of the Philosophy of Religion --from metaphysics through theology. Organized into two sections, the text first examines truths concerning what is possible and what is necessary. These chapters lay the foundation for the book’s second part -- the search for a metaphysical framework that permits the possibility of an ultimate explanation that is correct and complete.
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  24. Hilary Putnam (1962). It Ain't Necessarily So. Journal of Philosophy 59 (22):658-671.
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  25. Colin P. Ruloff (2006). Modal Stability and Warrant. Philosophia 34 (2):173-188.
    Keith DeRose believes that it is a strength of his contextualist analysis that it explains why the recently much-discussed skeptical Argument from Ignorance (AI) is so persuasive. Not only that, however; DeRose also believes that he is able to explain the underlying dynamics of AI by utilizing solely the epistemological and linguistic resources contained within his contextualist analysis. DeRose believes, in other words, that his contextualist analysis functions as a genuinely self-contained explanation of skepticism. But does it? In this paper (...)
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  26. Andrea Sauchelli (2012). Modal Scepticism, Unqualified Modality, and Modal Kinds. Philosophia 40 (2):403-409.
    I formulate and defend two sceptical theses on specific parts of our modal knowledge (unqualified and absolute modalities). My main point is that unqualified modal sentences are defective in that they fail to belong unambiguously to specific modal kinds and thus cannot be evaluated; hence, we must be sceptical of beliefs involving them.
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  27. P. K. Schotch & R. E. Jennings (1981). Epistemic Logic, Skepticism, and Non-Normal Modal Logic. Philosophical Studies 40 (1):47 - 67.
    An epistemic logic is built up on the basis of an analysis of two skeptical arguments. the method used is to first construct an inference relation appropriate to epistemic contexts and introduce "a knows that..." as an operator giving rise to sentences closed with respect to this new concept of inference. soundness and completeness proofs are provided using auxiliary three-valued valuations.
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  28. Peter K. Schotch (2000). Skepticism and Epistemic Logic. Studia Logica 66 (1):187-198.
    This essay attempts to implement epistemic logic through a non-classical inference relation. Given that relation, an account of '(the individual) a knows that A' is constructed as an unfamiliar non-normal modal logic. One advantage to this approach is a new analysis of the skeptical argument.
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  29. Sextus (2005). Against the Logicians. Cambridge University Press.
    By far the most detailed surviving examination by any ancient Greek sceptic of epistemology and logic, this work critically reviews the pretensions of non-sceptical philosophers, to have discovered methods for determining the truth, either through direct observation or by inference from the observed to the unobserved. A fine example of the Pyrrhonist sceptical method at work, it also provides extensive information about the ideas of other Greek thinkers, which in many instances, are poorly preserved in other sources.
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  30. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (1999). Explanation and Justification in Moral Epistemology. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 1:117-127.
    Recent exchanges among Harman, Thomson, and their critics about moral explanations have done much to clarify this two-decades-old debate. I discuss some points in these exchanges along with five different kinds of moral explanations that have been proposed. I conclude that moral explanations cannot provide evidence within an unlimited contrast class that includes moral nihilism, but some moral explanations can still provide evidence within limited contrast classes where all competitors accept the necessary presuppositions. This points towards a limited version of (...)
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  31. Margot Strohminger (2013). Modal Humeanism and Arguments From Possibility. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (3pt3):391-401.
    Sider (2011, 2013) proposes a reductive analysis of metaphysical modality—‘(modal) Humeanism’—and goes on to argue that it has interesting epistemological and methodological implications. In particular, Humeanism is supposed to undermine a class of ‘arguments from possibility’, which includes Sider's (1993) own argument against mereological nihilism and Chalmers's (1996) argument against physicalism. I argue that Sider's arguments do not go through, and moreover that we should instead expect Humeanism to be compatible with the practice of arguing from possibility in philosophy.
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  32. Jennifer Vaughan Taylor (2008). Acquaintance and Possible Worlds. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1pt3):393-400.
    I argue that if a subject's acquaintance with an object is necessary for him to think about and refer to the object, then the content of his thought cannot be a set of metaphysically possible worlds. Acquaintance resets what possibilities there are; it affects the powers of representation, and does not only limit the range of possibilities. If acquaintance restricts what a subject can think about, the theorist cannot specify what possibilities are open to the subject simply in terms of (...)
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  33. Neil Tennant, Contents.
    I examine Paul Boghossian’s recent attempt to argue for scepticism about logical rules. I argue that certain rule- and proof-theoretic considerations can avert such scepticism. Boghossian’s ‘Tonk Argu- ment’ seeks to justify the rule of tonk-introduction by using the rule itself. The argument is subjected here to more detailed proof-theoretic scrutiny than Boghossian undertook. Its sole axiom, the so-called Meaning Postulate for tonk, is shown to be false or devoid of content. It is also shown that the rules of Disquotation (...)
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  34. Thomas Tymoczko (1984). Godel, Wittgenstein and the Nature of Mathematical Knowledge. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1984:449 - 468.
    The nature of mathematical knowledge can be understood only by locating the knowing mathematician in an epistemic community. This claim is defended by extending Kripke's version of the Private Language Argument to include informal rules and using Godelian results to argue that such rules rules necessary in mathematics. A committed formalist might evade Kripke's original argument by positing internal mechanisms that determine rule-governed behavior. However, in the presence of informal rules, the formalist position collapses into the extreme skepticism that (...)
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  35. Michael J. White (1988). The Unimportance of Being Random. Synthese 76 (1):171 - 178.
    This note fleshes in and generalizes an argument suggested by W. Salmon to the effect that the addition of a requirement of mathematical randomness to his requirement of physical homogeneity is unimportant for his ontic account of objective homogeneity. I consider an argument from measure theory as a plausible justification of Salmon''s skepticism concerning the possibility that a physically homogeneous sequence might nonetheless be recursive and show that this argument does not succeed. However, I state a principle (the Generalized Salmon (...)
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  36. Timothy Williamson (2007). Philosophical Knowledge and Knowledge of Counterfactuals. Grazer Philosophische Studien 74 (1):89-123.
    Metaphysical modalities are definable from counterfactual conditionals, and the epistemology of the former is a special case of the epistemology of the latter. In particular, the role of conceivability and inconceivability in assessing claims of possibility and impossibility can be explained as a special case of the pervasive role of the imagination in assessing counterfactual conditionals, an account of which is sketched. Thus scepticism about metaphysical modality entails a more far-reaching scepticism about counterfactuals. The account is used to question the (...)
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  37. Crispin Wright (1985). Skolem and the Skeptic. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 59:117--137.
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  38. Juhani Yli-Vakkuri (2013). Modal Skepticism and Counterfactual Knowledge. Philosophical Studies 162 (3):605-623.
    Abstract Timothy Williamson has recently proposed to undermine modal skepticism by appealing to the reducibility of modal to counterfactual logic ( Reducibility ). Central to Williamson’s strategy is the claim that use of the same non-deductive mode of inference ( counterfactual development , or CD ) whereby we typically arrive at knowledge of counterfactuals suffices for arriving at knowledge of metaphysical necessity via Reducibility. Granting Reducibility, I ask whether the use of CD plays any essential role in a Reducibility-based reply (...)
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