The Presidential Address: Armchair Philosophy, Metaphysical Modality and Counterfactual Thinking

Abstract
A striking feature of the traditional armchair method of philosophy is the use of imaginary examples: for instance, of Gettier cases as counterexamples to the justified true belief analysis of knowledge. The use of such examples is often thought to involve some sort of a priori rational intuition, which crude rationalists regard as a virtue and crude empiricists as a vice. It is argued here that, on the contrary, what is involved is simply an application of our general cognitive capacity to handle counterfactual conditionals, which is not exclusively a priori and is not usefully conceived as a form of rational intuition. It is explained how questions of metaphysical possibility and necessity are equivalent to questions about counterfactuals, and the epistemology of the former (in particular, the role of conceiving or imagining) is a special case of the epistemology of the latter. A non-imaginary Gettier case is presented in order to show how little difference it makes.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.0066-7373.2004.00100.x
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 26,205
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

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
The Rise and Fall of Experimental Philosophy.Antti Kauppinen - 2007 - Philosophical Explorations 10 (2):95 – 118.
Order Effects in Moral Judgment.Alex Wiegmann, Yasmina Okan & Jonas Nagel - 2012 - Philosophical Psychology 25 (6):813-836.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
I *-Armchair Philosophy, Metaphysical Modality and Counterfactual Thinking.Timothy Williamson - 2005 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 105 (1):1-23.
Counterfactuals and Modal Epistemology.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2012 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 86 (1):93–115.
Understanding, Modality, Logical Operators. [REVIEW]Christopher Peacocke - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (2):472 - 480.
Circumstantial and Temporal Dependence in Counterfactual Modals.Dorit Abusch - 2012 - Natural Language Semantics 20 (3):273-297.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-05-29

Total downloads

19 ( #254,271 of 2,154,162 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #224,606 of 2,154,162 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums