Explaining modal intuition

Acta Analytica 18 (1-2):5-41 (2003)
The paper defends causal explanationism concerning our modal intuitions and judgments, and, in particular, the following claims. If a causally explainable mirroring or pre-established harmony between our mind and modal reality obtains, we are justified in believing it does. We do not hold our modal beliefs compulsively and blindly but with full subjective and objective justification. Therefore, causal explanation of our modal beliefs does not undermine rational trust in them. Explanation and trust support each other. In contrast, anti-explanationists (from Kant, through neo-wittgensteinians to T. Nagel and J. Pust), claim that causal explanation of intuitions and judgments undermines rational trust in them. They especially target causal explanation in terms of pre-established harmony between our mind, shaped by causal processes, and the underlying modal structure of reality. The paper argues against them. The argument builds upon the claim that the appeal to modal facts is indispensable for systematization and explanation of non-modal ones. Therefore, we should assume that modal facts exist and are not disjoint and isolated from actual facts. The modal structure of the universe intervenes in the non-modal reality. Causal processes indirectly carry information about deep modal structure. Any (reasonable candidate) causal explanation of our intuitional modal beliefs should start from this indirect contact with and information about modal facts. Therefore, if our intuitional modal beliefs are true and causally explainable (by a factual, non-modal explanans), they are true in virtue of the deep underlying modal structure. They are sensitive to modal reality and track it. We can come to know this fact, and thus strengthen our spontaneous trust in our modal intuitions
Keywords modal beliefs  modal intuition  causal explanation  modal reality  anti-explanationism
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