Does Conceivability Entail Metaphysical Possibility?

Ratio 28 (1):1-13 (2015)

Abstract

In this paper, we argue that ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’, which is the view that ideal primary positive conceivability entails primary metaphysical possibility, is self-defeating. To this end, we outline two reductio arguments against ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’. The first reductio shows that, from supposing that ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’ is true, it follows that conceivability both is and is not conclusive evidence for possibility. The second reductio shows that, from supposing that ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’ is true, it follows that it is possible that ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’ is necessarily false, and hence that ‘Weak Modal Rationalism’ is false. We then argue that adopting a weaker position according to which conceivability is merely prima facie evidence for possibility provides limited protection from our criticism of conceivability arguments.

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Author Profiles

David R. Morrow
American University
Moti Mizrahi
Florida Institute of Technology

References found in this work

Does Conceivability Entail Possibility.David J. Chalmers - 2002 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 145--200.
Introduction.Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne - 2002 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Clarendon Press.
Why Zombies Are Inconceivable.Eric Marcus - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (3):477-90.
Conceivability, Imagination and Modal Knowledge.M. Oreste Fiocco - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):364–380.

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