Modal epistemology: Our knowledge of necessity and possibility

Philosophy Compass 3 (4):664-684 (2008)
Abstract
I survey a number of views about how we can obtain knowledge of modal propositions, propositions about necessity and possibility. One major approach is that whether a proposition or state of affairs is conceivable tells us something about whether it is possible. I examine two quite different positions that fall under this rubric, those of Yablo and Chalmers. One problem for this approach is the existence of necessary a posteriori truths and I deal with some of the ways in which these authors respond to the problem, including the use of two-dimensional modal semantics. Conventionalism about modality offers a complementary approach to modal epistemology, prompting us to identify our knowledge of modal truths with our mastery of linguistic or conceptual conventions. Finally, I discuss an approach to modal epistemology deriving from David Lewis's work that seeks to identify structural features of the modal space over which necessity and possibility are defined.
Keywords Necessity  Possiblity  Yablo  Chalmers  Lewis  Conventionalism
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DOI 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2008.00147.x
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References found in this work BETA
Essays in Quasi-Realism.Simon Blackburn - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
Does Conceivability Entail Possibility?David J. Chalmers - 2002 - In Tamar S. Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 145--200.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 2010 - In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 431-433.
Ordinary Objects.Amie L. Thomasson - 2007 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA
Essential Properties and Individual Essences.Sonia Roca-Royes - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (1):65-77.
New Problems for Modal Fictionalism.Bradley Armour-Garb - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (5):1201-1219.
Identity Theories.Thomas W. Polger - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (5):822-834.

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