A formal result is proved which is used in JuhaniYli-Vakkuri’s ‘Epistemicism and Modality’ to argue that certain two-dimensional possible world models are inadequate for a language with operators for ‘necessarily’, ‘actually’, and ‘definitely’.
JuhaniYli-Vakkuri has argued that the Twin Earth thought experiments offered in favour of semantic externalism can be replaced by a straightforward deductive argument from premisses widely accepted by both internalists and externalists alike. The deductive argument depends, however, on premisses that, on standard formulations of internalism, cannot be satisfied by a single belief simultaneously. It does not therefore, constitute a proof of externalism. The aim of this article is to explain why.
This special issue of the Canadian Journal of Philosophy is dedicated to Timothy Williamson's work on modality. It consists of a new paper by Williamson followed by papers on Williamson's work on modality, with each followed by a reply by Williamson. -/- Contributors: Andrew Bacon, Kit Fine, Peter Fritz, Jeremy Goodman, John Hawthorne, Øystein Linnebo, Ted Sider, Robert Stalnaker, Meghan Sullivan, Gabriel Uzquiano, Barbara Vetter, Timothy Williamson, JuhaniYli-Vakkuri.
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 (...) to two kinds of modal skepticism. I argue that its use is entirely dispensable, and that Reducibility makes available replies to modal skeptics which show certain propositions to be metaphysically necessary by deductive arguments from premises the modal skeptic accepts can be known. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-19 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9784-4 Authors JuhaniYli-Vakkuri, Wolfson College, Oxford University, Oxford, OX2 6UD UK Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116. (shrink)
Some central epistemological notions are expressed by sentential operators O that entail the possibility of knowledge in the sense that 'Op' entails 'It is possible to know that p'. We call these modal-epistemological notions. Using apriority and being in a position to know as case studies, we argue that the logics of modal epistemological notions are extremely weak. In particular, their logics are not normal and do not include any closure principles.
Some have argued for a division of epistemic labor in which mathematicians supply truths and philosophers supply their necessity. We argue that this is wrong: mathematics is committed to its own necessity. Counterfactuals play a starring role.
The idea that the epistemology of modality is in some sense a priori is a popular one, but it has turned out to be difficult to precisify in a way that does not expose it to decisive counterexamples. The most common precisifications follow Kripke’s suggestion that cases of necessary a posteriori truth that can be known a priori to be necessary if true ‘may give a clue to a general characterization of a posteriori knowledge of necessary truths’. The idea is (...) that whether it is contingent whether p can be known a priori for at least some broad range of sentences ‘p’. Recently, Al Casullo and Jens Kipper have discussed restrictions of such principles to atomic sentences. We show that decisive counterexamples even to such dramatically restricted Kripke-style principles can be constructed using minimal logical resources. We then consider further restrictions, and show that the counterexamples to the original principles can be turned into counterexamples to the further restricted principles. We conclude that, if there are any true restrictions of Kripke-style principles, then they are so weak as to be of little epistemological interest. (shrink)
What kind of semantics should someone who accepts the epistemicist theory of vagueness defended in Timothy Williamson’s Vagueness (1994) give a definiteness operator? To impose some interesting constraints on acceptable answers to this question, I will assume that the object language also contains a metaphysical necessity operator and a metaphysical actuality operator. I will suggest that the answer is to be found by working within a three-dimensional model theory. I will provide sketches of two ways of extracting an epistemicist semantics (...) from that model theory, one of which I will find to be more plausible than the other. (shrink)
The epistemology of modality has focused on metaphysical modality and, more recently, counterfactual conditionals. Knowledge of kinds of modality that are not metaphysical has so far gone largely unexplored. Yet other theoretically interesting kinds of modality, such as nomic, practical, and 'easy' possibility, are no less puzzling epistemologically. Could Clinton easily have won the 2016 presidential election—was it an easy possibility? Given that she didn't in fact win the election, how, if at all, can we know whether she easily could (...) have? This paper investigates the epistemology of the broad category of 'objective' modality, of which metaphysical modality is a special, limiting case. It argues that the same cognitive mechanisms that are capable of producing knowledge of metaphysical modality are also capable of producing knowledge of all other objective modalities. This conclusion can be used to explain the roles of counterfactual reasoning and the imagination in the epistemology of objective modality. (shrink)
Externalism is the thesis that the contents of intentional states and speech acts are not determined by the way the subjects of those states or acts are internally. It is a widely accepted but not entirely uncontroversial thesis. Among such theses in philosophy, externalism is notable for owing the assent it commands almost entirely to thought experiments, especially to variants of Hilary Putnam's famous Twin Earth scenario. This paper presents a thought experiment-free argument for externalism. It shows that externalism is (...) a deductive consequence of a pair of widely accepted principles whose relevance to the issue has hitherto gone unnoticed. (shrink)
Table of Contents; Introduction by Francesco Orilia and Simone Gozzano; Modes and Mind by John Heil; Does Ontology Matter? by Anna-Sofia Maurin; Basic Ontology, Multiple Realizability and Mental Causation by Francesco Orilia; The “Supervenience Argument”:Kim’s Challenge to Nonreductive Physicalism by Ausonio Marras and JuhaniYli-Vakkuri; Tropes’ Simplicity and Mental Causation by Simone Gozzano; Zombies from Below by David Robb; Tropes and Perception by E. Jonathan Lowe; About the authors.
How does vagueness interact with metaphysical modality and with restrictions of it, such as nomological modality? In particular, how do definiteness, necessity (understood as restricted in some way or not), and actuality interact? This paper proposes a model-theoretic framework for investigating the logic and semantics of that interaction. The framework is put forward in an ecumenical spirit: it is intended to be applicable to all theories of vagueness that express vagueness using a definiteness (or: determinacy) operator. We will show how (...) epistemicists, supervaluationists, and theorists of metaphysical vagueness like Barnes and Williams (2010) can interpret the framework. We will also present a complete axiomatization of the logic we recommend to both epistemicists and local supervaluationists. . (shrink)
This paper examines "moderate modal skepticism", a form of skepticism about metaphysical modality defended by Peter van Inwagen in order to blunt the force of certain modal arguments in the philosophy of religion. Van Inwagen’s argument for moderate modal skepticism assumes Yablo's (1993) influential world-based epistemology of possibility. We raise two problems for this epistemology of possibility, which undermine van Inwagen's argument. We then consider how one might motivate moderate modal skepticism by relying on a different epistemology of possibility, which (...) does not face these problems: Williamson’s (2007: ch. 5) counterfactual-based epistemology. Two ways of motivating moderate modal skepticism within that framework are found unpromising. Nevertheless, we also find a way of vindicating an epistemological thesis that, while weaker than moderate modal skepticism, is strong enough to support the methodological moral van Inwagen wishes to draw. (shrink)
Michael Fara's ‘habitual analysis’ of disposition ascriptions is equivalent to a kind of ceteris paribus conditional analysis which has no evident advantage over Martin's well known and simpler analysis. I describe an unsatisfactory hypothetical response to Martin's challenge, which is lacking in just the same respect as the analysis considered by Martin; Fara's habitual analysis is equivalent to this hypothetical analysis. The feature of the habitual analysis that is responsible for this cannot be harmlessly excised, for the resulting analysis would (...) be subject to familiar counter-examples. (shrink)
Can there be 'narrow' mental content, that is entirely determined by the goings-on inside the head of the thinker? This book argues not, and defends instead a thoroughgoing externalism: the entanglement of our minds with the external world runs so deep that no internal component of mentality can easily be cordoned off.
Timothy Williamson is one of the most influential living philosophers working in the areas of logic and metaphysics. His work in these areas has been particularly influential in shaping debates about metaphysical modality, which is the topic of his recent provocative and closely-argued book *Modal Logic as Metaphysics* (2013). The present book comprises ten essays by metaphysicians and logicians responding to Williamson’s work on metaphysical modality. The authors include some of the most distinguished philosophers of modality in the world, as (...) well as several rising stars. Each essay is followed by a reply by Williamson. In addition, the book contains a major new essay by Williamson, ‘Modal science,’ concerning the role of modal claims in natural science. This book was originally published as a special issue of the *Canadian Journal of Philosophy.*. (shrink)
There is an important and fairly straightforward link between necessity and apriority which can shed light on our knowledge of the former, but initially plausible attempts to spell out what it is fall victim to counterexamples. Casullo (2003) discusses one such proposal, argues - following Anderson (1993) - that it fails, and suggests an alternative. In this paper, I argue that Casullo’s alternative also fails, before making a suggestion for which I can find no counterexamples and which, notably, handles some (...) recent examples due to Kipper and Strohminger & Yli-Vakkuri. (shrink)
El De dogmatibus ecclesiasticis de Genadio de Marsella se encuentra próximo a la tradición de los símbolos, compilaciones doctrinarias de consulta ágil, por su estructura interna y contenidos. El examen del tratado genadiano contribuye a delimitar su contexto de composición, así como las preferencias dogmáticas de su autor. The De dogmatibus ecclesiasticis of Gennadius of Massilia is close to the tradition of symbols, easy to read doctrinal compilations, because of its structure and contents. The exam of Gennadius’ book contributes to (...) define its composition context and its author’s dogmatic choices. (shrink)
This important collection focuses on the nature and importance of biodiversity. The concept is clarified and its intrinsic and instrumental value are discussed. Even though the term biodiversity was invented in the 1980s to promote the cause of species conservation, discussions on biological diversity go back to Plato. There are many controversies surrounding biodiversity and a few of them are examined here: What is worthy of protection or restoration and what is the acceptable level of costs? Is it permissible to (...) kill sentient animals to promote native populations? Can species be reintroduced if they have disappeared a long time ago? How should the responsibilities for biodiversity be shared? This book will be of interest to philosophers of science and biologists, but also to anyone interested in conservation and the environment. (shrink)
Most public discussion has focused on those effects of genetic research that are considered in some way unwanted or unpleasant. For example, there has been much debate concerning the risks and the ethical appropriateness of genetic screening, gene therapy, and agricultural applications based on genetic techniques. It often claimed that genetic research may cause new problems such as genetic discrimination, stigmatization, environmental risks, or mistreatment of animals.Genes and Morality: New Essays adopts a critical attitude toward genetic research, on both a (...) theoretical and a practical level. It presents some of the most important problems in the ethics of genetic engineering, including the questions of genetic health and disease, genetic testing, responsibility for health, patenting non-human and human life, and problems related to the disclosure of genetic information.The aim of the book is to focus on real ethical and conceptual issues. Consider, for instance, the concept of genetic disease. As one of the contributors, Ingmar Pörn, writes, "fear of genetic disease, or anxiety, is not itself a disease any more than fear of becoming unemployed is a disease. Alleviating such emotions is not a medical task to be discharged by drug therapy."The book also examines the philosophical foundations of these issues by discussing the most influential bioethical theories of today, including utilitarianism and principlism. (shrink)
The idea of active power played central role in the 17th Century philosophy and science. The idea is as follows: if not prevented, bodies necessarily do certain things in virtue of their power. This kind of thought naturally arose from what might properly be called the law of persistence, according to which moving bodies continue their motion unchanged if no new external force intervenes.1 What bodies do in virtue of their power was called actions, and in terms of actions such (...) things as resistance, pressure and affections were explained. What is this active power? One of the main aims of philosophers in the 17th and 18th Centuries was to find a good answer to this question. (shrink)