Modal Error

Edited by Anand Vaidya (San Jose State University)
About this topic
Summary Modal error is that area of modal epistemology where philosophers debate what the best explanation is for why a subject believes that a proposition is possible or necessary when in fact the proposition has the opposite modal valence. In the epistemology of modality it is important for one to be able to give a coherent account of why it is that we fall into modal error.
Key works One key work in the area of modal error is Bealer 2004. In this work Bealer gives a complete account of modal error consistent with his own view of how we acquire knowledge of metaphysical modality. In addition, he discusses the view proposed in Yablo 1993. Other key works in this area are Van Inwagen 1998 and Hawke 2011.
Introductions A key introduction is Vaidya 2007
Related categories

10 found
  1. Intuition and Modal Error.George Bealer - 2008 - In Quentin Smith (ed.), Epistemology: New Essays. Oxford University Press.
    Modal intuitions are not only the primary source of modal knowledge but also the primary source of modal error. An explanation of how modal error arises — and, in particular, how erroneous modal intuitions arise — is an essential part of a comprehensive theory of knowledge and evidence. This chapter begins with a summary of certain preliminaries: the phenomenology of intuitions, their fallibility, the nature of concept-understanding and its relationship to the reliability of intuitions, and so forth. It then identifies (...)
  2. The Origins of Modal Error.George Bealer - 2004 - Dialectica 58 (1):11-42.
    Modal intuitions are the primary source of modal knowledge but also of modal error. According to the theory of modal error in this paper, modal intuitions retain their evidential force in spite of their fallibility, and erroneous modal intuitions are in principle identifiable and eliminable by subjecting our intuitions to a priori dialectic. After an inventory of standard sources of modal error, two further sources are examined in detail. The first source - namely, the failure to distinguish between metaphysical possibility (...)
  3. The Modal-Knowno Problem.Robert William Fischer & Felipe Leon - 2016 - Southwest Philosophy Review 32 (1):225-232.
  4. Illusory Possibilities and Imagining Counterparts.Janine Jones - 2004 - Acta Analytica 19 (32):19-43.
    Given Kripke’s semantic views, a statement, such as ‘Water is H 2 O’, expresses a necessary a posteriori truth. Yet it seems that we can conceive that this statement could have been false; hence, it appears that we can conceive impossible states of affairs as holding. Kripke used a de dicto strategy and a de re strategy to address three illusions that arise with respect to necessary a posteriori truths: (1) the illusion that a statement such as ‘Water is H (...)
  5. The Modal Ontological Argument Meets Modal Fictionalism.T. Parent - 2016 - Analytic Philosophy 57 (4):338-352.
    This paper attacks the modal ontological argument, as advocated by Plantinga among others. Whereas other criticisms in the literature reject one of its premises, the present line is that the argument is invalid. This becomes apparent once we run the argument assuming fictionalism about possible worlds. Broadly speaking, the problem is that if one defines “x” as something that exists, it does not follow that there is anything satisfying the definition. Yet unlike non-modal ontological arguments, the modal argument commits this (...)
  6. On The Impossibility of Nonactual Epistemic Possibilities.Ori Simchen - 2004 - Journal of Philosophy 101 (10):527 - 554.
    A problem inherited from Kripke is the reconciliation of commitments to various necessities with conflicting intuitions of contingency, intuitions that things "might have turned out otherwise." Kripke's reconciliation strategy is to say that while it is necessary that X is Y, and so impossible for X not to be Y, it is nevertheless epistemically possible for X not to be Y. But what are nonactual epistemic possibilities? Several answers are considered and it is concluded that scenarios adduced to explain away (...)
  7. Conceivability and the Epistemology of Modality.Asger Bo Skjerning Steffensen - 2015 - Dissertation, Aarhus University
    The dissertation is in the format of a collection of several academic texts, composed of a two-part presentation and three papers on the topic of conceivability and the epistemology of modality. The presentation is composed of, first, a general introduction to conceivability theses and objections and, second, a discussion of two cases. Following the presentation, Asger provides three papers. The first paper, Pretense and Conceivability: A reply to Roca-Royes, presents a problem and a dilemma for Roca-Royes’ Non-Standard Dilemma for conceivability-based (...)
  8. Is Conceivability a Guide to Possibility?Stephen Yablo - 1993 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (1):1-42.
  9. The Real Distinction Between Mind and Body.Stephen Yablo - 1990 - In David Copp (ed.), Canadian Journal of Philosophy. pp. 149--201.
    Descartes's "conceivability argument" for substance-dualism is defended against Arnauld's criticism that, for all he knows, Descartes can conceive himself without a body only because he underestimates his true essence; one could suggest with equal plausibility that it is only for ignorance of his essential hairiness that Descartes can conceive himself as bald. Conceivability intuitions are defeasible but special reasons are required; a model for such defeat is offered, and various potential defeaters of Descartes's intuition are considered and rejected. At best (...)
  10. The Real Distinction Between Mind and Body.Stephen Yablo - 1990 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume 16:149.