Are there a posteriori conceptual necessities?

Philosophical Studies 155 (2):181-197 (2011)
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Abstract

I critically assess Stephen Yablo’s claim that cassinis are ovals is an a posteriori conceptual necessity. One does not know it simply by mastering the relevant concepts but by substantial empirical scrutiny. Yablo represents narrow content by would have turned out -conditionals. An epistemic reading of such conditionals does not bear Yablo’s claim. Two metaphysically laden readings are considered. In one reading, Yablo’s conditionals test under what circumstances concepts remain the same while their extensions diverge. As an alternative, I develop a more literal metaphysical interpretation: Yablo’s conditionals draw on scenarios which are qualitatively identical to some original situation. None of these interpretations sustains Yablo’s core thesis

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Daniel Dohrn
Università degli Studi di Milano

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References found in this work

Knowledge and its limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Naming and Necessity: Lectures Given to the Princeton University Philosophy Colloquium.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Edited by Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel.
The character of consciousness.David John Chalmers - 2010 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The Philosophy of Philosophy.Timothy Williamson - 2007 - Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

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