Epistemic Modals and Epistemic Modality

There is a lot that we don’t know. That means that there are a lot of possibilities that are, epistemically speaking, open. For instance, we don’t know whether it rained in Seattle yesterday. So, for us at least, there is an epistemic possibility where it rained in Seattle yesterday, and one where it did not. It’s tempting to give a very simple analysis of epistemic possibility: • A possibility is an epistemic possibility if we do not know that it does not obtain. But this is problematic for a few reasons. One issue, one that we’ll come back to, concerns the first two words. The analysis appears to quantify over possibilities. But what are they? As we said, that will become a large issue pretty soon, so let’s set it aside for now. A more immediate problem is that it isn’t clear what it is to have de re attitudes towards possibilities, such that we know a particular possibility does or doesn’t obtain. Let’s try rephrasing our analysis so that it avoids this complication
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Kai von Fintel & Anthony S. Gillies (2009). `Might' Made Right. In Andy Egan & Brian Weatherson (eds.), Epistemic Modality. Oxford University Press
Moritz Schulz (2010). Wondering What Might Be. Philosophical Studies 149 (3):367 - 386.

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