Modal Rationalism and the Objection from the Insolvability of Modal Disagreement

Logos and Episteme 7 (2):171-183 (2016)
The objection from the insolvability of principle-based modal disagreements appears to support the claim that there are no objective modal facts, or at the very least modal facts cannot be accounted for by modal rationalist theories. An idea that resurfaced fairly recently in the literature is that the use of ordinary empirical statements presupposes some prior grasp of modal notions. If this is correct, then the idea that we may have a total agreement concerning empirical facts and disagree on modal facts, which is the starting point of the objection from the insolvability of modal disagreement, is undercut. This paper examines the no-separation thesis and shows that some of the arguments against the classical (empiricist) distinction between empirical and modal statements fail to be conclusive if they are taken to defend a strong notion of metaphysical possibility. The no-separation thesis appears to work only in theoretical frameworks where metaphysical modalities are considered (broadly) conceptual. For these reasons, the no-separation thesis cannot save modal rationalism from the insolvability of modal disagreement.
Keywords metaphysical modality  modal rationalism  principle-based account  modal disagreement  Alan Sidelle  Robert Brandom
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ISBN(s) 2069-0533
DOI 10.5840/logos-episteme20167217
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