Modal Rationalism and Constructive Realism: Models and Their Modality

Abstract
I present a case for a rapprochement between aspects of rationalism and scientific realism, by way of a general framework employing modal epistemology and elements of 2-dimensional semantics (2DS). My overall argument strategy is meta-inductive: The bulk of this paper establishes a “base case,” i.e., a concretely constructive example by which I demonstrate this linkage. The base case or constructive example acts as the exemplar for generating, in a constructively ‘bottom-up’ fashion, a more generally rigorous case for rationalism-realism qua modal epistemology. The exemple I choose in D. Chalmers’ (2002) modal rationalism and R. Giere’s (1985, 1988) constructive realism. I show by way of a thorough analysis how Giere’s claims concerning modal scope are characterized as instances of Chalmers’ modal rationalism, both weak and strong. In essence, as I demonstrate via Chalmers’ notions, ceteris paribus the constructive realist ultimately opts for a comparatively wider gate, characterized by modal reasoning, to lead from the rooms of conceivability qua thought experiments and models, to the pastures of metaphysical possibility. Chalmers likewise tries to erect such a wider gate, in his general conceivability-possibility theses. Anti-realists, on the other hand, see a narrower passage and my contention herein is that they suffer from modal myopia, which hopefully the ‘corrective vision’ of Chalmers’ modal rationalism can restore. In the introduction and concluding sections I sketch out suggestions of constructing ‘inductive steps’ from my base case, to generate more extensively general claims regarding realism qua rationalism.
Keywords 2D semantics, modal rationalism,  scientific realism
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PhilPapers Archive William Michael Kallfelz, Modal Rationalism and Constructive Realism: Models and Their Modality
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