Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):208-217 (2014)

Authors
Joachim Horvath
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Abstract
In recent work, E. J. Lowe presents an essence-based account of our knowledge of metaphysical modality that he claims to be superior to its main competitors. I argue that knowledge of essences alone, without knowledge of a suitable bridge principle, is insufficient for knowing that something is metaphysically necessary or metaphysically possible. Yet given Lowe's other theoretical commitments, he cannot account for our knowledge of the needed bridge principle, and so his essence-based modal epistemology remains incomplete. In addition to that, Lowe's account implies a psychologically unrealistic reconstruction of how we ordinarily acquire knowledge of metaphysical modalities. The discussion of Lowe's suggestive essence-based account is also intended as a case study that illustrates a more general problem in the epistemology of modality: the great difficulty of explaining our modal knowledge in terms of a single overtly nonmodal kind of knowledge. The failure of Lowe's account suggests that such a sweeping reductive explanation of our modal knowledge might simply not be available. This should be good news for those philosophers who champion less reductive or more pluralistic accounts of our modal knowledge.
Keywords epistemic gap  metaphysical modality  essentialism  E. J. Lowe  modal epistemology
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1002/tht3.135
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 64,037
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Constructing the World.David Chalmers - 2012 - Oxford University Press.
Essence and Modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8 (Logic and Language):1-16.
Mathematical Truth.Paul Benacerraf - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (19):661-679.
Identity and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1971 - In Milton Karl Munitz (ed.), Identity and Individuation. New York: New York University Press. pp. 135-164.

View all 19 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Epistemology of Essence.Tuomas Tahko - 2018 - In Alexander Carruth, S. C. Gibb & John Heil (eds.), Ontology, Modality, Mind: Themes from the Metaphysics of E. J. Lowe. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 93-110.
Putting Modal Metaphysics First.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 8):1-20.
Knowing How Things Might Have Been.Mark Jago - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 8):1-19.
Empirically-Informed Modal Rationalism.Tuomas Tahko - 2017 - In Robert William Fischer & Felipe Leon (eds.), Modal Epistemology After Rationalism. Synthese Library. pp. 29-45.

View all 14 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Epistemology of Essence.Tuomas Tahko - 2018 - In Alexander Carruth, S. C. Gibb & John Heil (eds.), Ontology, Modality, Mind: Themes from the Metaphysics of E. J. Lowe. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 93-110.
Understanding and Essence.Anand Jayprakash Vaidya - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (4):811-833.
Counterfactuals and Modal Epistemology.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2012 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 86 (1):93–115.
Empirically-Informed Modal Rationalism.Tuomas Tahko - 2017 - In Robert William Fischer & Felipe Leon (eds.), Modal Epistemology After Rationalism. Synthese Library. pp. 29-45.
Essence and Being.Scott A. Shalkowski - 2008 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 62:49-63.
Modal Knowledge and Counterfactual Knowledge.Sonia Roca-Royes - 2011 - Logique Et Analyse 54 (216):537-552.
Van Inwagen’s Modal Skepticism.Peter Hawke - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 153 (3):351-364.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2014-09-28

Total views
122 ( #88,696 of 2,454,419 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #179,336 of 2,454,419 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes