About this topic
Summary In Western philosophy the human capacity to conceive of or imagine various states of affairs has often been thought to be a good guide to whether the state of affairs is possible. For example, one might infer from the fact that they can conceive of a chair located at L in room R, that it is possible for the chair to be located at L in R. While it is natural to think that conceivability and imaginability provide some kind of evidence for believing that something is possible or impossible, it is often difficult to show why this should be the case. Often times we find something conceivable because we lack knowledge. For example, historically one might have found it possible for water to be something other than H2O because at the time the community did not know that water is H2O. If ignorance often explains conceivability and imaginability, how can we be certain at any given time that our conceptions are tracking the way the world is. Some of the main questions in the area of conceivability and imaginability are the following: does conceivability entail possibility or is it merely a good guide to possibility? Is conceivability more reliable or less reliable than inconceivability? What kind of possibility is conceivability linked to (physical, logical, metaphysical)?
Key works In contemporary work on the epistemology of modality Yablo 1993 sets up a lot of the main issues for discussions of conceivability. In particular it discusses the central problem that Kripkean a posteriori necessities pose for a priori accounts of how conceivability entails possibility. Chalmers 2002 is also a key work that addresses the problem of a posteriori necessities. Chalmers uses epistemic-two dimensionalism to provide a novel solution to the problem, and he argues for an account on which conceivability entails possibility, rather than one on which conceivability merely provides evidence.  
Introductions A key introductory article on conceivability is Vaidya 2007.
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  1. Fact, Fiction, and Fantasy.Ben Blumson - 2015 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 39 (1):46-57.
    This paper argues: (1) All knowledge from fiction is from imagination (2) All knowledge from imagination is modal knowledge (3) So, all knowledge from fiction is modal knowledge Moreover, some knowledge is from fiction, so (1)-(3) are non-vacuously true.
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  2. The Logic of Negative Conceivability.Daniel Cohnitz - manuscript
    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 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 explicandum.
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  3. Response to Dominic Gregory’s ‘Conceivability and Apparent Possibility’.Ross Cameron - manuscript
    forthcoming in a collection of papers (from OUP, edited by Bob Hale) given at the Arché modality conference, St Andrews University, 7th-9th June 2006.
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  4. Thinking Beyond Imagining.Jill Cumby - forthcoming - Synthese:1-13.
    This paper defends a rational account of conceivability according to which conceiving is a kind of modal thinking that is distinct from imagining effectively allowing us to think beyond what we can imagine, and that we are subject to rational rather than experiential constraints when we do so. Defending this view involves appealing to the perspective of an idealized agent and I’ll argue that this appeal is not worrisome given an “objective” view of propositional justification.
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  5. Knowledge by Imagination - How Imaginative Experience Can Ground Knowledge.Fabiab Dorsch - forthcoming - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy.
    In this article, I defend the view that we can acquire factual knowledge – that is, contingent propositional knowledge about certain (perceivable) aspects of reality – on the basis of imaginative experience. More specifically, I argue that, under suitable circumstances, imaginative experiences can rationally determine the propositional content of knowledge-constituting beliefs – though not their attitude of belief – in roughly the same way as perceptual experiences do in the case of perceptual knowledge. I also highlight some philosophical consequences of (...)
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  6. On the Difference Between Realistic and Fantastic Imagining.Christopher Gauker - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    When we imaginatively picture what might happen, we may take what we imagine to be either realistic or fantastic. A wine glass falling to the floor and shattering is realistic. A wine glass falling and morphing into a bird and flying away is fantastic. What does the distinction consist in? Two important necessary conditions are here defined. The first is a condition on the realistic representation of spatial configuration, grounded in an account of the imagistic representation of spatial configuration. The (...)
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  7. Philosophical Perspectives on Imagination in the Western Tradition.Amy Kind - forthcoming - In Anna Abraham (ed.), Cambridge Handbook of Imagination.
    Philosophers in the Western tradition have both theorized about imagination and used imagination in their theorizing about other matters. In this chapter, I first provide a brief overview of philosophical theorizing about imagination with a special focus on its relation to other mental states such as belief and perception. I then turn to a discussion of the methodological role that imagination has played in philosophy. I here focus on the imaginability principle, i.e., the claim that the imaginability of a given (...)
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  8. An Imaginative Person’s Guide to Objective Modality.Derek Lam - forthcoming - In Amy Kind & Christopher Badura (eds.), Epistemic Uses of Imagination. Routledge.
    Imagination is a source of evidence for objective modality. It is through this epistemic connection that the idea of modality first gains traction in our intellectual life. A proper theory of modality should be able to explain our imagination’s modal epistemic behaviors. This chapter highlights a peculiar asymmetry regarding epistemic defeat for imagination-based modal justification. Whereas imagination-based evidence for possibility cannot be undermined by information about the causal origin of our imaginings, unimaginability-based evidence for impossibility can be undermined by information (...)
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  9. New Directions in the Epistemology of Modality, Special Issue of Synthese.Antonella Mallozzi (ed.) - forthcoming - Springer.
    The fourteen papers in this collection offer a variety of original contributions to the epistemology of modality. In seeking to explain our knowledge of possibility and necessity, they raise some novel questions, develop some unfamiliar theoretical perspectives, and make some intriguing proposals. In the Introduction (penultimate draft available for download), I give some general background about the contemporary literature in the area, by sketching a timeline of the main tendencies of the past twenty-five years or so, up to the present (...)
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  10. Wilfrid Sellars' Anti-Descriptivism.Kevin Scharp - forthcoming - In Koskinen (ed.), Categories of Being.
    The work of Kripke, Putnam, Kaplan, and others initiated a tradition in philosophy that has come to be known as anti-descriptivism. I argue that when properly interpreted, Wilfrid Sellars is a staunch anti-descriptivist. Not only does he accept most of the conclusions drawn by the more famous anti-descriptivists, he goes beyond their critiques to reject the fundamental tenant of descriptivism—that understanding a linguistic expression consists in mentally grasping its meaning and associating that meaning with the expression. I show that Sellars’ (...)
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  11. Two Problems in Spinoza's Theory of Mind.James Van Cleve - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind.
    My aim in what follows is to expound and (if possible) resolve two problems in Spinoza’s theory of mind. The first problem is how Spinoza can accept a key premise in Descartes’s argument for dualism—that thought and extension are separately conceivable, “one without the help of the other”—without accepting Descartes’s conclusion that no substance is both thinking and extended. Resolving this problem will require us to consider a crucial ambiguity in the notion of conceiving one thing without another, the credentials (...)
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  12. Imagining Fictional Contradictions.Michel-Antoine Xhignesse - forthcoming - Synthese:1-20.
    It is widely believed, among philosophers of literature, that imagining contradictions is as easy as telling or reading a story with contradictory content. Italo Calvino’s The Nonexistent Knight, for instance, concerns a knight who performs many brave deeds, but who does not exist. Anything at all, they argue, can be true in a story, including contradictions and other impossibilia. While most will readily concede that we cannot objectually imagine contradictions, they nevertheless insist that we can propositionally imagine them, and regularly (...)
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  13. The Epistemic Idleness of Conceivability.M. Oreste Fiocco - 2021 - In Otávio Bueno & Scott Shalkowski (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Modality. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 167-179.
    One’s involvement with the world seems limited merely to things as they are; hence, modal knowledge—knowledge of what could be or must be simpliciter—should be perplexing. Traditionally, the notion of conceivability has been regarded as crucial to an account of modal knowledge. I believe one has a good deal of such knowledge (though perhaps less than others presume one has). I maintain, however, that conceiving is utterly idle in acquiring modal knowledge: the conceivability of a proposition can provide no evidence (...)
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  14. Impossible Fiction Part II: Lessons for Mind, Language and Epistemology.Daniel Nolan - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (2):1-12.
    Abstract Impossible fictions have lessons to teach us about linguistic representation, about mental content and concepts, and about uses of conceivability in epistemology. An adequate theory of impossible fictions may require theories of meaning that can distinguish between different impossibilities; a theory of conceptual truth that allows us to make useful sense of a variety of conceptual falsehoods; and a theory of our understanding of necessity and possibility that permits impossibilities to be conceived. After discussing these questions, strategies for resisting (...)
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  15. Learning Through Simulation.Sara Aronowitz & Tania Lombrozo - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20.
    Mental simulation — such as imagining tilting a glass to figure out the angle at which water would spill — can be a way of coming to know the answer to an internally or externally posed query. Is this form of learning a species of inference or a form of observation? We argue that it is neither: learning through simulation is a genuinely distinct form of learning. On our account, simulation can provide knowledge of the answer to a query even (...)
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  16. Invasive Weeds in Parmenides' Garden.Olga Ramirez Calle - 2020 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 20 (60):391-412.
    The paper attempts to conciliate the important distinction between what-is, or exists, and what-is-not _thereby supporting Russell’s existential analysis_ with some Meinongian insights. For this purpose, it surveys the varied inhabitants of the realm of ‘non-being’ and tries to clarify their diverse statuses. The position that results makes it possible to rescue them back in surprising but non-threatening form, leaving our ontology safe from contradiction.
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  17. Counterfactuals and Non-exceptionalism About Modal Knowledge.Daniel Dohrn - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (6):1461-1483.
    Since our capacities and methods of cognizing reality merely seem to tell us how things are but only within close limits how they could or must be, our claims to knowledge of mere possibilities and necessities raise the suspicion of exceptionalism: the capacities and methods used in developing these claims seem special compared to those involved in cognizing reality. One may be sceptical especially with regard to them, and there are doubts that they can be naturalistically explained. To avoid exceptionalism, (...)
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  18. Making Sorrow Sweet: Emotion and Empathy in the Experience of Fiction. In A. Houen (Ed.), Affect and Literature (Cambridge Critical Concepts, Pp. 190-210). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Doi:10.1017/9781108339339.011.A. E. Denham, A. E. Denham & A. Denham - 2020 - In Denham, A. (2020). Making Sorrow Sweet: Emotion and Empathy in the Experience of Fiction. In A. Houen (Ed.), Affect and Literature (Cambridge Critical Concepts, pp. 190-210). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108339339.011. Cambridge, UK: pp. 190-210.
    The nature and consequences of readers’ affective engagement with literature has, in recent years, captured the attention of experimental psychologists and philosophers alike. Psychological studies have focused principally on the causal mechanisms explaining our affective interactions with fictions, prescinding from questions concerning their rational justifiability. Transportation Theory, for instance, has sought to map out the mechanisms the reader tracks the narrative experientially, mirroring its descriptions through first-personal perceptual imaginings, affective and motor responses and even evaluative beliefs. Analytical philosophers, by contrast, (...)
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  19. Imagery and Possibility.Dominic Gregory - 2020 - Noûs 54 (4):755-773.
    We often ascribe possibility to the scenes that are displayed by mental or nonmental sensory images. The paper presents a novel argument for thinking that we are prima facie justified in ascribing metaphysical possibility to what is displayed by suitable visual images, and it argues that many of our imagery‐based ascriptions of metaphysical possibility are therefore prima facie justified. Some potential objections to the arguments are discussed, and some potential extensions of them, to cover nonvisual forms of imagery and nonmetaphysical (...)
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  20. Epistemic Modality, Mind, and Mathematics.Hasen Khudairi - 2020 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    This book concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The book demonstrates how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the epistemic status of undecidable propositions and abstraction principles in the philosophy of mathematics; to the modal profile of rational propositional intuition; and to the (...)
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  21. Correct Conceivability and its Role in the Epistemology of Modality.Robert Michels - 2020 - Les Principes Métaphysiques.
    The starting point of this paper is an argument to the conclusion that the definition of metaphysical possibility in terms of correct conceivability, conceivability informed by knowledge of relevant essences, found in Rosen (2006) is equivalent to a version of the essentialist definition of metaphysical necessity. This argument appears to show that correct conceivability is a notion of conceivability by name only and is therefore of no interest to epistemologists of modality. In this paper, I present the equivalence argument, explain (...)
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  22. Imaginative Resistance and Modal Knowledge.Daniel Nolan - 2020 - Res Philosophica 97 (4):661-685.
    Readers of fictions sometimes resist taking certain kinds of claims to be true according to those fictions, even when they appear explicitly or follow from applying ordinary principles of interpretation. This "imaginative resistance" is often taken to be significant for a range of philosophical projects outside aesthetics, including giving us evidence about what is possible and what is impossible, as well as the limits of conceivability, or readers' normative commitments. I will argue that this phenomenon cannot do the theoretical work (...)
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  23. The Actually Possible: An Essay in Modal Psychology.Michael Omoge - 2020 - Dissertation, University of KwaZulu-Natal
    The problem of justification for our modal beliefs is an old modal epistemological problem that has hitherto been addressed rationalistically, i.e., without listening to the sciences that study our experiences of modality. Here, I argue that taking a closer look at the architectures of perception and imagination, affords one way of addressing the problem for practical and metaphysical modal beliefs, respectively. The end result is a naturalistic accounts of imaginative and perceptual modal justification.
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  24. Abductive Two-Dimensionalism: A New Route to the a Priori Identification of Necessary Truths.Biggs Stephen & Wilson Jessica - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):59-93.
    Epistemic two-dimensional semantics, advocated by Chalmers and Jackson, among others, aims to restore the link between necessity and a priority seemingly broken by Kripke, by showing how armchair access to semantic intensions provides a basis for knowledge of necessary a posteriori truths. The most compelling objections to E2D are that, for one or other reason, the requisite intensions are not accessible from the armchair. As we substantiate here, existing versions of E2D are indeed subject to such access-based objections. But, we (...)
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  25. Consciousness, Conceivability, and Intrinsic Reduction.Jonathon VandenHombergh - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (5):1129-1151.
    Conceivability arguments constitute a serious threat against reductive physicalism. Recently, a number of authors have proven and characterized a devastating logical truth, centered on these arguments: namely, that their soundness entails the inconceivability of reductive physicalism. In this paper, I demonstrate that is only a logical truth when reductive physicalism is interpreted in its stronger, intrinsic sense, as opposed to its weaker—yet considerably more popular—extrinsic sense. The basic idea generalizes: perhaps surprisingly, stronger forms of reduction are uniquely resistant to the (...)
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  26. Abduction Versus Conceiving in Modal Epistemology.Stephen Biggs & Jessica Wilson - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):2045-2076.
    How should modal reasoning proceed? Here we compare abduction-based and conceiving-based modal epistemologies, and argue that an abduction-based approach is preferable, and by a wide margin.
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  27. Modal Epistemology Made Concrete.Daniel Dohrn - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (9):2455-2475.
    Many philosophers since Hume have accepted that imagining/conceiving a scenario is our prime guide to knowing its possibility. Stephen Yablo provided a more systematic criterion: one is justified in judging that p is possible if one can imagine a world which one takes to verify p. I defend a version of Yablo’s criterion against van Inwagen’s moderate modal scepticism. Van Inwagen’s key argument is that we cannot satisfy Yablo’s criterion because we are not in a position to spell out far-fetched (...)
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  28. Essentialist Modal Rationalism.Philip Goff - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):2019-2027.
    It used to be thought that rational coherence and metaphysical possibility went hand in hand. Kripke and Putnam put a spanner in the works by proposing examples of propositions which seem to violate this principle. I will propose a nuanced form of modal rationalism consistent with the Kripke/putnam cases. The rough idea is that rational coherence entails possibility when you grasp the essential nature of what you’re conceiving of.
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  29. Martha Kneale on Why Metaphysical Necessities Are Not A Priori.Jessica Leech - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (4):389-409.
    In her 1938 paper ‘Logical and Metaphysical Necessity’, Martha Kneale introduces the necessary a posteriori. I present a critical summary of Kneale's argument that so-called ‘metaphysical propositions’ are necessary but not a priori. I argue that Kneale is well placed to offer a template for reconciling conceivability approaches to modal epistemology with the post-Kripkean trend for taking metaphysical necessities to have their source in mind-independent reality.
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  30. New Directions in the Epistemology of Modality: Introduction.Antonella Mallozzi - 2019 - Synthese:1-19.
    The fourteen papers in this collection offer a variety of original contributions to the epistemology of modality. In seeking to explain how we might account for our knowledge of possibility and necessity, they raise some novel questions, develop some unfamiliar theoretical perspectives, and make some intriguing proposals. Collectively, they advance our understanding of the field. In Part I of this Introduction, I give some general background about the contemporary literature in the area, by sketching a timeline of the main tendencies (...)
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  31. Una fenomenologia (del) possibile. Crisi del significato e senso della contingenza tra Heidegger e Richir.Francesco Pisano - 2019 - In Anna Pia Ruoppo (ed.), Essere eEssere e Tempo novanta anni dopo: attualità e inattualità dell'analitica esistenziale. Napoli NA, Italia: pp. 185-197.
    I present some aspects of Sein und Zeit’s phenomenology of possibility as a key feature of Heidegger’s theoretical confrontation with the crisis of European culture. I draw from paragraphs 73-74 for an inquiry into the relation between possibility and historicity within the structure of the Dasein. Specifically, I consider the concept of repetition in light of Heidegger’s idea that authentic historicity is to be grounded in temporality. Many interpreters found the concept of repetition to be the mark of a conservative (...)
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  32. Knowledge of Objective Modality.Margot Strohminger & Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (5):1155-1175.
    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 (...)
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  33. Everyday Scientific Imagination: A Qualitative Study of the Uses, Norms, and Pedagogy of Imagination in Science.Michael T. Stuart - 2019 - Science & Education 28 (6-7):711-730.
    Imagination is necessary for scientific practice, yet there are no in vivo sociological studies on the ways that imagination is taught, thought of, or evaluated by scientists. This article begins to remedy this by presenting the results of a qualitative study performed on two systems biology laboratories. I found that the more advanced a participant was in their scientific career, the more they valued imagination. Further, positive attitudes toward imagination were primarily due to the perceived role of imagination in problem-solving. (...)
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  34. Imaginability and Possibility.Yingying Tang - 2019 - Studies in Logic 12 (3):102-114.
    Recently there is heated discussion on the puzzle of imaginative resistance, i.e. the puzzle of why it is difficult to imagine certain counterfactual scenarios. After examining Brian Weatherson’s “In-Virtue-Of Hypothesis”, I put forward an alternative hypothesis that all and only conceptual impossibilities are unimaginable. I argue that my account has some theoretical advantages over the In-Virtue-Of hypothesis. I consider some challenges to my hypothesis and then attempt to show that those objections are unsuccessful.
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  35. Conceivability and Possibility: Some Dilemmas for Humeans.Francesco Berto & Tom Schoonen - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2697-2715.
    The Humean view that conceivability entails possibility can be criticized via input from cognitive psychology. A mainstream view here has it that there are two candidate codings for mental representations (one of them being, according to some, reducible to the other): the linguistic and the pictorial, the difference between the two consisting in the degree of arbitrariness of the representation relation. If the conceivability of P at issue for Humeans involves the having of a linguistic mental representation, then it is (...)
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  36. Thought Experiments Without Possible Worlds.Daniel Dohrn - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (2):363-384.
    The method of thought experiments or possible cases is widespread in philosophy and elsewhere. Thought experiments come with variegated theoretical commitments. These commitments are risky. They may turn out to be false or at least controversial. Other things being equal, it seems preferable to do with minimal commitments. I explore exemplary ways of minimising commitments, focusing on modal ones. There is a near-consensus to treat the scenarios considered in thought experiments as metaphysical possibilities. I challenge this consensus. Paradigmatic thought experiments (...)
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  37. The Life of Imagination: Revealing and Making the World.Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei - 2018 - New York, NY, USA: Columbia University Press.
    Imagination allows us to step out of the ordinary but also to transform it through our sense of wonder and play, artistic inspiration and innovation, or the eureka moment of a scientific breakthrough. In this book, Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei offers a groundbreaking new understanding of its place in everyday experience as well as the heights of creative achievement. -/- The Life of Imagination delivers a new conception of imagination that places it at the heart of our engagement with the world—thinking, (...)
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  38. Justification by Imagination.Magdalena Balcerak Jackson - 2018 - In Fiona Macpherson & Fabian Dorsch (eds.), Perceptual Imagination and Perceptual Memory. Oxford University Press. pp. 209-226.
  39. Knowing How Things Might Have Been.Mark Jago - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 8):1-19.
    I know that I could have been where you are right now and that you could have been where I am right now, but that neither of us could have been turnips or natural numbers. This knowledge of metaphysical modality stands in need of explanation. I will offer an account based on our knowledge of the natures, or essencess, of things. I will argue that essences need not be viewed as metaphysically bizarre entities; that we can conceptualise and refer to (...)
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  40. Kant and Frege on Existence.Toni Kannisto - 2018 - Synthese (8):01-26.
    According to what Jonathan Bennett calls the Kant–Frege view of existence, Frege gave solid logical foundations to Kant’s claim that existence is not a real predicate. In this article I will challenge Bennett’s claim by arguing that although Kant and Frege agree on what existence is not, they agree neither on what it is nor on the importance and justification of existential propositions. I identify three main differences: first, whereas for Frege existence is a property of a concept, for Kant (...)
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  41. Grounding, Conceivability, and the Mind-Body Problem.Hasen Khudairi - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):919-926.
    This paper challenges the soundness of the two-dimensional conceivability argument against the derivation of phenomenal truths from physical truths in light of a hyperintensional regimentation of the ontology of consciousness. The regimentation demonstrates how ontological dependencies between truths about consciousness and about physics cannot be witnessed by epistemic constraints, when the latter are recorded by the conceivability—i.e., the epistemic possibility—thereof. Generalizations and other aspects of the philosophical significance of the hyperintensional regimentation are further examined.
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  42. Is Imagination Too Liberal for Modal Epistemology?Derek Lam - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2155-2174.
    Appealing to imagination for modal justification is very common. But not everyone thinks that all imaginings provide modal justification. Recently, Gregory and Kung :620–663, 2010) have independently argued that, whereas imaginings with sensory imageries can justify modal beliefs, those without sensory imageries don’t because of such imaginings’ extreme liberty. In this essay, I defend the general modal epistemological relevance of imagining. I argue, first, that when the objections that target the liberal nature of non-sensory imaginings are adequately developed, those objections (...)
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  43. Is Mathematical Knowledge a Precedent for Modal Knowledge?: A Novel Objection to Lewis’s Modal Epistemology.Joungbin Lim - 2018 - SATS 19 (2):183-199.
    The goal of this paper is to raise a novel objection to Lewis’s modal realist epistemology. After reformulating his modal epistemology, I shall argue that his view that we have necessary knowledge of the existence of counterparts ends up with an absurdity. Specifically, his analogy between mathematical knowledge and modal knowledge leads to an unpleasant conclusion that one’s counterpart exists in all possible worlds. My argument shows that if Lewis’s modal realism is true, we cannot know what is possible. Conversely, (...)
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  44. Two Notions of Metaphysical Modality.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 6):1-22.
    The paper explores the project of an ambitious modal epistemology that attempts to combine the a priori methods of Chalmers’ 2D semantics with Kripke’s modal metaphysics. I argue that such a project is not viable. The ambitious modal epistemology involves an inconsistent triad composed of (1) Modal Monism, (2) Two-Dimensionalism, and what I call (3) “Metaphysical Kripkeanism”. I present the three theses and show how only two of those can be true at a time. There is a fundamental incompatibility between (...)
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  45. Cosmic Loops.Daniel Nolan - 2018 - In Ricki Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and Its Structure. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 91-106.
    This paper explores a special kind of loop of grounding: cosmic loops. A cosmic loop is a loop that intuitively requires us to go "around" the entire universe to come back to the original ground. After describing several kinds of cosmic loop scenarios, I will discuss what we can learn from these scenarios about constraints on grounding; the conceivability of cosmic loops; the possibility of cosmic loops; and the prospects for salvaging local reflexivity, asymmetry and transitivity of grounding in a (...)
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  46. Нет ничего невозможного. (Контекстуальный реализм и модальности.).Francois-Igor Pris - 2018 - Конференция ИФ НАНБ. Минск 1:133-135.
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  47. Revisionism, Scepticism, and the Non-Belief Theory of Hinge Commitments.Chris Ranalli - 2018 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 8 (2):96-130.
    In his recent work, Duncan Pritchard defends a novel Wittgensteinian response to the problem of radical scepticism. The response makes essential use of a form of non-epistemicism about the nature of hinge commitments. According to non-epistemicism, hinge commitments cannot be known or grounded in rational considerations, such as reasons and evidence. On Pritchard’s version of non-epistemicism, hinge commitments express propositions but cannot be believed. This is the non-belief theory of hinge commitments. One of the main reasons in favour of NBT (...)
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  48. Conceivability, Inconceivability and Cartesian Modal Epistemology.Pierre Saint-Germier - 2018 - Synthese 195 (11):4785-4816.
    In various arguments, Descartes relies on the principles that conceivability implies possibility and that inconceivability implies impossibility. Those principles are in tension with another Cartesian view about the source of modality, i.e. the doctrine of the free creation of eternal truths. In this paper, I develop a ‘two-modality’ interpretation of the doctrine of eternal truths which resolves the tension and I discuss how the resulting modal epistemology can still be relevant for the contemporary discussion.
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  49. Conceivability and Possibility.Joshua Spencer - 2018 - In Graham Oppy (ed.), Ontological Arguments. pp. 214-237.
    Some people might be tempted by modal ontological arguments from the possibility that God exists to the conclusion that God in fact exists. They might also be tempted to support the claim that possibly God exists by appealing to the conceivability of God’s existence. In this chapter, I introduce three constraints on an adequate theory of philosophical conceivability. I then consider and develop both imagination-based accounts of conceivability and conceptual coherence-based accounts of conceivability. Finally, I return to the modal ontological (...)
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  50. Moderate Modal Skepticism.Margot Strohminger & Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2018 - In Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne & Dani Rabinowitz (eds.), Knowledge, Belief, and God: New Insights in Religious Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 302-321.
    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 (...)
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