Results for 'modal knowledge'

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  1. Modal Knowledge and Counterfactual Knowledge.Sonia Roca-Royes - 2011 - Logique Et Analyse 54 (216):537-552.
    The paper compares the suitability of two different epistemologies of counterfactuals—(EC) and (W)—to elucidate modal knowledge. I argue that, while both of them explain the data on our knowledge of counterfactuals, only (W)—Williamson’s epistemology—is compatible with all counterpossibles being true. This is something on which Williamson’s counterfactual-based account of modal knowledge relies. A first problem is, therefore, that, in the absence of further, disambiguating data, Williamson’s choice of (W) is objectionably biased. A second, deeper problem (...)
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  2.  58
    Modal Knowledge, Evolution, and Counterfactuals.Thomas Kroedel - 2017 - In Robert William Fischer & Felipe Leon (eds.), Modal Epistemology After Rationalism. Dordrecht.
    The chapter defends an evolutionary explanation of modal knowledge from knowledge of counterfactual conditionals. Knowledge of counterfactuals is evolutionarily useful, as it enables us to learn from mistakes. Given the standard semantics for counterfactuals, there are several equivalences between modal claims and claims involving counterfactuals that can be used to explain modal knowledge. Timothy Williamson has suggested an explanation of modal knowledge that draws on the equivalence of ‘Necessarily p’ with ‘If (...)
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  3. Modal Knowledge, Counterfactual Knowledge and the Role of Experience.C. S. Jenkins - 2008 - Philosophical Quarterly 58 (233):693-701.
    In recent work Timothy Williamson argues that the epistemology of metaphysical modality is a special case of the epistemology of counterfactuals. I argue that Williamson has not provided an adequate argument for this controversial claim, and that it is not obvious how what he says should be supplemented in order to derive such an argument. But I suggest that an important moral of his discussion survives this point. The moral is that experience could play an epistemic role which is more (...)
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  4. Conceivability and De Re Modal Knowledge.Sonia Roca-Royes - 2011 - Noûs 45 (1):22-49.
    The paper presents a dilemma for both epistemic and non-epistemic versions of conceivability-based accounts of modal knowledge. On the one horn, non-epistemic accounts do not elucidate the essentialist knowledge they would be committed to. On the other, epistemic accounts do not elucidate everyday life de re modal knowledge. In neither case, therefore, do conceivability accounts elucidate de re modal knowledge.
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  5. Essence and Modal Knowledge.Boris Kment - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1957-1979.
    During the last quarter of a century, a number of philosophers have become attracted to the idea that necessity can be analyzed in terms of a hyperintensional notion of essence. One challenge for proponents of this view is to give a plausible explanation of our modal knowledge. The goal of this paper is to develop a strategy for meeting this challenge. My approach rests on an account of modality that I developed in previous work, and which analyzes (...) properties in terms of the notion of a metaphysical law. I discuss what information about the metaphysical laws is required for modal knowledge. Moreover, I describe two ways in which we might be able to acquire this information. The first way employs inference to the best explanation. The metaphysical laws, including the essential truths, play a crucial role in causal and grounding explanations and we can gain knowledge of these laws by abductive inferences from facts of which we have perceptual or a priori knowledge. The second way of gaining information about the metaphysical laws rests on knowledge that is partly constitutive of competence with the concepts that are needed to express the relevant information. Finally, I consider how knowledge of the metaphysical laws can be used to establish modal claims, paying special attention to the much-discussed connection between conceiving and possibility. (shrink)
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  6. Rational Imagination and Modal Knowledge.Jonathan Ichikawa & Benjamin Jarvis - 2012 - Noûs 46 (1):127 - 158.
    How do we know what's (metaphysically) possible and impossible? Arguments from Kripke and Putnam suggest that possibility is not merely a matter of (coherent) conceivability/imaginability. For example, we can coherently imagine that Hesperus and Phosphorus are distinct objects even though they are not possibly distinct. Despite this apparent problem, we suggest, nevertheless, that imagination plays an important role in an adequate modal epistemology. When we discover what is possible or what is impossible, we generally exploit important connections between what (...)
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  7. Conceivability, Imagination and Modal Knowledge.M. Oreste Fiocco - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):364–380.
    The notion of conceivability has traditionally been regarded as crucial to an account of modal knowledge. Despite its importance to modal epistemology, there is no received explication of conceivability. One purpose of this paper is to argue that the notion is not fruitfully explicated in terms of the imagination. The most natural way of presenting a notion of conceivability qua imaginability is open to cogent criticism. In order to avoid such criticism, an advocate of the modal (...)
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  8. Lowe on Modal Knowledge.Joachim Horvath - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):208-217.
    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 (...)
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  9.  51
    Modal Knowledge, in Theory.Robert William Fischer - 2012 - Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (1):227-235.
    Some philosophers think that a person can justifi ably believe that p is possible even though she has no theory according to which p is possible. They think, for example, that she can justifiably believe that there could be naturally purple elephants even though she lacks (inter alia) a theory about the factors germane to elephant pigmentation. There is a certain optimism about this view: it seems to assume that people are fairly good at ferreting out problems with proposed (...) claims; so, if a person doesn’t detect one, then she’s within her rights to assume that there is no problem to be found. I am suspicious of this optimism, but I do not have space to challenge it here. Instead, I want to outline the more pessimistic alternative. Suppose that a person is not justified in believing that p is possible unless she has a theory according to which p is possible. How might such an account be developed? My aim is to map out this neglected option. (shrink)
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  10. Imaginative Resistance and Modal Knowledge.Daniel Nolan - 2020 - Res Philosophica 97 (4):661-685.
    Readers of fictions sometimes resist taking certain kinds of claims to be true according to those fictions, even when they appear explicitly or follow from applying ordinary principles of interpretation. This "imaginative resistance" is often taken to be significant for a range of philosophical projects outside aesthetics, including giving us evidence about what is possible and what is impossible, as well as the limits of conceivability, or readers' normative commitments. I will argue that this phenomenon cannot do the theoretical work (...)
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  11.  72
    Counterfactuals and Modal Knowledge.Albert Casullo - 2012 - In Essays on a Priori Knowledge and Justification. Oxford University Press. pp. 251-270.
    Timothy Williamson offers a reductive account of modal knowledge in terms of knowledge of counterfactual conditionals. The account is developed in a broader context of defending two more general theses regarding the subject matter and methodology of philosophy. My primary focus in this paper is Williamson’s account of modal knowledge. I argue (1) that his account of modal knowledge does not support his more general theses regarding the subject matter and methodology of philosophy; (...)
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  12. Conceivability and Modal Knowledge.Albert Casullo - 2012 - In Essays on A priori Knowledge and Justification. New York, NY, USA: pp. 271-288.
    Christopher Hill contends that the metaphysical modalities can be reductively explained in terms of the subjunctive conditional and that this reductive explanation yields two tests for determining the metaphysical modality of a proposition. He goes on to argue that his reductive account of the metaphysical modalities in conjunction with his account of modal knowledge underwrites the further conclusion that conceivability does not provide a reliable test for metaphysical possibility. I argue (1) that Hill’s reductive explanation of the metaphysical (...)
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  13. The Logic(s) of Modal Knowledge.Daniel Cohnitz - 2012 - In Greg Restall & Gillian Russell (eds.), New Waves in Philosophical Logic. MacMillan.
  14. Art and Modal Knowledge.Dustin Stokes - 2006 - In Dominic Lopes & Matthew Kieran (eds.), Knowing Art: Essays in Epistemology and Aesthetics. Springer.
  15.  41
    Conceivability and Modal Knowledge.Rene Woudenberg - 2006 - Metaphilosophy 37 (2):210-221.
  16. Rationalism and Modal Knowledge.Stephen K. McLeod - 2009 - Critica 41 (122):29-42.
    The article argues against attempts to combine ontological realism about modality with the rejection of modal rationalism and it suggests that modal realism requires modal rationalism. /// El artículo da argumentos en contra de que se intente combinar el realismo ontológico sobre la modalidad con el rechazo del racionalismo modal y sugiere que el realismo modal exige racionalismo modal.
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  17.  61
    Hale on the Architecture of Modal Knowledge.Bob Fischer - 2016 - Analytic Philosophy 57 (1):76-89.
    There are many modal epistemologies available to us. Which should we endorse? According to Bob Hale, we can start to answer this question by examining the architecture of modal knowledge. That is, we can try to decide between the following claims: knowing that p is possible is essentially a matter of having a well-founded belief that there are no conflicting necessities—a necessity-based approach—and knowing that p is necessary is essentially a matter of having a well-founded belief that (...)
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  18.  48
    Conceivability and Modal Knowledge.René van Woudenberg - 2006 - Metaphilosophy 37 (2):210–221.
    This article is a discussion of Hume's maxim Nothing we imagine is absolutely impossible. First I explain this maxim and distinguish it from the principle Whatever cannot be imagined (conceived), is impossible. Next I argue that Thomas Reid's criticism of the maxim fails and that the arguments by Tamar Szábo Gendler and John Hawthorne for the claim that "it is uncontroversial that there are cases where we are misled" by the maxim are unconvincing. Finally I state the limited but real (...)
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  19.  20
    On Modal Knowledge.Filipe Drapeau Vieira Contim & Motta - 2012 - Philosophia Scientiae 16 (2):3-37.
    L’objectif de cette introduction est double : elle présente les articles rassembles dans ce volume et offre une synthèse des développements récents de l’épistemologie des modalités.The role of this introduction is twofold: it presents the papers collected in this volume and offers a synthesis of recent developments of the epistemology of modality.
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  20.  20
    On Modal Knowledge.Filipe Drapeau Vieira Contim & Sébastien Motta - 2012 - Philosophia Scientae 16:3-37.
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    Conceivability, Counterfactual Thinking and Philosophical Exceptionality of Modal Knowledge.Vittorio Morato - 2017 - Topoi 98:1-13.
    According to Williamson, our knowledge of metaphysical necessities and possibilities is just a “special case” of our knowledge of counterfactual conditionals. This subsumption of modal under counterfactual thinking mainly serves a methodological role: to sign the end of “philosophical exceptionalism” in modal epistemology, namely the view that our knowledge of metaphysical modalities is obtained by means of a special, dedicated, possibly a priori, capacity. In this paper, I show that a counterfactual approach to modal (...)
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  22.  14
    Modal Knowledge and Transmodularity.Leslie Smith - 1994 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 17 (4):729-730.
  23.  9
    Conceivability, Counterfactual Thinking and Philosophical Exceptionality of Modal Knowledge.Vittorio Morato - 2019 - Topoi 38 (4):821-833.
    According to Williamson, our knowledge of metaphysical necessities and possibilities is just a “special case” of our knowledge of counterfactual conditionals. This subsumption of modal under counterfactual thinking mainly serves a methodological role: to sign the end of “philosophical exceptionalism” in modal epistemology, namely the view that our knowledge of metaphysical modalities is obtained by means of a special, dedicated, possibly a priori, capacity. In this paper, I show that a counterfactual approach to modal (...)
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  24.  5
    Conceivability, Counterfactual Thinking and Philosophical Exceptionality of Modal Knowledge.Vittorio Morato - 2019 - Topoi 38 (4):821-833.
    According to Williamson, our knowledge of metaphysical necessities and possibilities is just a “special case” of our knowledge of counterfactual conditionals. This subsumption of modal under counterfactual thinking mainly serves a methodological role: to sign the end of “philosophical exceptionalism” in modal epistemology, namely the view that our knowledge of metaphysical modalities is obtained by means of a special, dedicated, possibly a priori, capacity. In this paper, I show that a counterfactual approach to modal (...)
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  25. Concrete Possible Worlds and Counterfactual Conditionals: Lewis Versus Williamson on Modal Knowledge.Andrea Sauchelli - 2010 - Synthese 176 (3):345-359.
    The epistemology of modality is gradually coming to play a central role in general discussions about modality. This paper is a contribution in this direction, in particular I draw a comparison between Lewis’s Modal realism and Timothy Williamson’s recent account of modality in terms of counterfactual thinking. In order to have criteria of evaluation, I also formulate four requirements which are supposed to be met by any theory of modality to be epistemologically adequate.
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  26. Chalmers on the Apriority of Modal Knowledge.Christopher S. Hill - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):20-26.
  27. Conceivability and Modal Knowledge.Stephen Cade Hetherington - 1991 - In Tamara Horowitz (ed.), Thought Experiments in Science and Philosophy. Rowman & Littlefield.
    I argue for an analysis of conceivability as a form of modal knowledge: to conceive of p's being true is to know that "Possibly, p" is true.
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  28. Knowledge of Objective Modality.Margot Strohminger & Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (5):1155-1175.
    The epistemology of modality has focused on metaphysical modality and, more recently, counterfactual conditionals. Knowledge of kinds of modality that are not metaphysical has so far gone largely unexplored. Yet other theoretically interesting kinds of modality, such as nomic, practical, and ‘easy’ possibility, are no less puzzling epistemologically. Could Clinton easily have won the 2016 presidential election—was it an easy possibility? Given that she didn’t in fact win the election, how, if at all, can we know whether she easily (...)
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  29.  28
    Concrete Possible Worlds and Counterfactual Conditionals: Lewis Versus Williamson on Modal Knowledge.Andrea Sauchelli - unknown
    The epistemology of modality is gradually coming to play a central role in general discussions about modality. This paper is a contribution in this direction, in particular I draw a comparison between Lewis’s Modal realism and Timothy Williamson’s recent account of modality in terms of counterfactual thinking. In order to have criteria of evaluation, I also formulate four requirements which are supposed to be met by any theory of modality to be epistemologically adequate.
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  30.  13
    The Limits of Modal Knowledge.Rehan P. Visser - 2019 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 23 (2):323-343.
    Modal agnosticism is the view that we must be agnostic about whether things could have turned out differently. I argue that claims about unrealised possibilities are not justified by our modal intuitions, nor are they justified by any of the means proposed by philosophers. It follows that we do not have merely metaphysical modal knowledge, and that we must adopt modal agnosticism.
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  31.  18
    Chalmers on the Apriority of Modal Knowledge.C. S. Hill - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):20-26.
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  32. Modal Skepticism and Counterfactual Knowledge.Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (3):605-623.
    Abstract Timothy Williamson has recently proposed to undermine modal skepticism by appealing to the reducibility of modal to counterfactual logic ( Reducibility ). Central to Williamson’s strategy is the claim that use of the same non-deductive mode of inference ( counterfactual development , or CD ) whereby we typically arrive at knowledge of counterfactuals suffices for arriving at knowledge of metaphysical necessity via Reducibility. Granting Reducibility, I ask whether the use of CD plays any essential role (...)
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  33. Modal Motivations for Noumenal Ignorance: Knowledge, Cognition, and Coherence.Andrew Chignell - 2014 - Kant-Studien 105 (4):573-597.
    My goal in this paper is to show that Kant’s prohibition on certain kinds of knowledge of things-in-themselves is motivated less by his anti-soporific encounter with Hume than by his new view of the distinction between “real” and “logical” modality, a view that developed out of his reflection on the rationalist tradition in which he was trained. In brief: at some point in the 1770’s, Kant came to hold that a necessary condition on knowing a proposition is that one (...)
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  34. Knowledge and Modality.A. Casullo - 2010 - Synthese 172 (3):341 - 359.
    Kripke claims that there are necessary a posteriori truths and contingent a priori truths. These claims challenge the traditional Kantian view that (K) All knowledge of necessary truths is a priori and all a priori knowledge is of necessary truths. Kripke’s claims continue to be resisted, which indicates that the Kantian view remains attractive. My goal is to identify the most plausible principles linking the epistemic and the modal. My strategy for identifying the principles is to investigate (...)
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  35.  59
    Modal Empiricism and Knowledge of De Re Possibilities: A Critique of Roca-Royes' Account.Duško Prelević - 2015 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 22 (4):488–498.
    Accounting for our knowledge of de re modalities is probably the main reason why the proponents of modal empiricism think that their view should be preferred to modal rationalism. In this paper, I address Sonia Roca-Royes' account, which is taken to be a representative modal empiricist view, in order to show that modal empiricism faces serious problems even in explaining our knowledge of possibility de re, something which seems to be the easiest thing to (...)
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  36. Modal Epistemology: Our Knowledge of Necessity and Possibility.Simon Evnine - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (4):664-684.
    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 (...)
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  37.  32
    Common Knowledge: Relating Anti-Founded Situation Semantics to Modal Logic Neighbourhood Semantics. [REVIEW]L. Lismont - 1994 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 3 (4):285-302.
    Two approaches for defining common knowledge coexist in the literature: the infinite iteration definition and the circular or fixed point one. In particular, an original modelization of the fixed point definition was proposed by Barwise in the context of a non-well-founded set theory and the infinite iteration approach has been technically analyzed within multi-modal epistemic logic using neighbourhood semantics by Lismont. This paper exhibits a relation between these two ways of modelling common knowledge which seem at first (...)
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  38.  96
    Defining Knowledge in Terms of Belief: The Modal Logic Perspective.Joseph Y. Halpern, Dov Samet & Ella Segev - 2009 - Review of Symbolic Logic 2 (3):469-487.
    The question of whether knowledge is definable in terms of belief, which has played an important role in epistemology for the last 50 years, is studied here in the framework of epistemic and doxastic logics. Three notions of definability are considered: explicit definability, implicit definability, and reducibility, where explicit definability is equivalent to the combination of implicit definability and reducibility. It is shown that if knowledge satisfies any set of axioms contained in S5, then it cannot be explicitly (...)
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  39. Agentive Modality and the Structure of Modal Knowledge.Felipe Morales Carbonell - 2021 - Dissertation,
    This thesis develops a theory about the structure of modal judgment and knowledge. Arguing in favour of pluralism about the source of modal knowledge, it focuses on the questions of the varieties of modal judgment and their relations, the function of modal judgment and the scope of modal knowledge. It offers a hypothesis about the development of the framework of modal knowledge, grounding it on the capacity to evaluate temporal judgments, (...)
     
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  40.  36
    Is Mathematical Knowledge a Precedent for Modal Knowledge?: A Novel Objection to Lewis’s Modal Epistemology.Joungbin Lim - 2018 - SATS 19 (2):183-199.
    The goal of this paper is to raise a novel objection to Lewis’s modal realist epistemology. After reformulating his modal epistemology, I shall argue that his view that we have necessary knowledge of the existence of counterparts ends up with an absurdity. Specifically, his analogy between mathematical knowledge and modal knowledge leads to an unpleasant conclusion that one’s counterpart exists in all possible worlds. My argument shows that if Lewis’s modal realism is true, (...)
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  41.  23
    Is Knowledge of Essence the Basis of Modal Knowledge?Albert Casullo - 2020 - Res Philosophica 97 (4):593-609.
    E. J. Lowe offers an account of modal knowledge that involves two primary theses. First, the basis of modal knowledge is essential knowledge, and the source of essential knowledge is grasp of essence. Second, all empirical knowledge ultimately depends on some modal knowledge. This article assesses Lowe’s account and defends four conclusions. First, there is a tension in Lowe’s account of grasp of essence; it wavers between an undemanding version, which holds (...)
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  42.  7
    Defining Knowledge in Terms of Belief: The Modal Logic Perspective: Defining Knowledge in Terms of Belief.Joseph Y. Halpern - 2009 - Review of Symbolic Logic 2 (3):469-487.
    The question of whether knowledge is definable in terms of belief, which has played an important role in epistemology for the last 50 years, is studied here in the framework of epistemic and doxastic logics. Three notions of definability are considered: explicit definability, implicit definability, and reducibility, where explicit definability is equivalent to the combination of implicit definability and reducibility. It is shown that if knowledge satisfies any set of axioms contained in S5, then it cannot be explicitly (...)
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  43.  48
    Counterfactuals and Non-exceptionalism About Modal Knowledge.Daniel Dohrn - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (6):1461-1483.
    Since our capacities and methods of cognizing reality merely seem to tell us how things are but only within close limits how they could or must be, our claims to knowledge of mere possibilities and necessities raise the suspicion of exceptionalism: the capacities and methods used in developing these claims seem special compared to those involved in cognizing reality. One may be sceptical especially with regard to them, and there are doubts that they can be naturalistically explained. To avoid (...)
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  44.  7
    Conceivability, Counterfactual Thinking and Philosophical Exceptionality of Modal Knowledge.Vittorio Morato - 2019 - Topoi 38 (4):821-833.
    According to Williamson, our knowledge of metaphysical necessities and possibilities is just a “special case” of our knowledge of counterfactual conditionals. This subsumption of modal under counterfactual thinking mainly serves a methodological role: to sign the end of “philosophical exceptionalism” in modal epistemology, namely the view that our knowledge of metaphysical modalities is obtained by means of a special, dedicated, possibly a priori, capacity. In this paper, I show that a counterfactual approach to modal (...)
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  45.  38
    Counterfactuals Versus Conceivability as a Guide to Modal Knowledge.Daniel Dohrn - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3637-3659.
    I compare two prominent approaches to knowledge of metaphysical modality, the more traditional approach via conceiving viz. imagining a scenario and a more recent approach via counterfactual reasoning. In particular, Timothy Williamson has claimed that the proper context for a modal exercise of imagination is a counterfactual supposition. I critically assess this claim, arguing that a purely conceivability/imaginability-based approach has a key advantage compared to a counterfactual-based one. It can take on board Williamson’s insights about the structure of (...)
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  46.  1
    Truth, Knowledge, and Modality.G. H. von Wright - 1983 - Blackwell.
  47.  77
    Grounding Conceptual Knowledge in Modality-Specific Systems.Lawrence W. Barsalou, W. Kyle Simmons, Aron K. Barbey & Christine D. Wilson - 2003 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7 (2):84-91.
  48. What is the Source of Our Knowledge of Modal Truths?E. J. Lowe - 2012 - Mind 121 (484):919-950.
    There is currently intense interest in the question of the source of our presumed knowledge of truths concerning what is, or is not, metaphysically possible or necessary. Some philosophers locate this source in our capacities to conceive or imagine various actual or non-actual states of affairs, but this approach is open to certain familiar and seemingly powerful objections. A different and ostensibly more promising approach has been developed by Timothy Williamson, according to which our capacity for modal (...) is just an extension, or by-product, of our general capacity to acquire knowledge of true counterfactual conditionals — a capacity that we deploy ubiquitously in everyday life. Williamson’s account crucially involves a thesis to the effect that modal truths can be explained in terms of counterfactual truths. In this paper, I query Williamson’s account on a number of points, including this thesis. My positive proposal, which owes a debt to the work of Kit Fine on modality and essence, appeals instead to our capacity to grasp essences, understood in a neo-Aristotelian fashion, according to which essences are expressed by ‘real definitions’. (shrink)
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  49. Armchair Knowledge and Modal Skepticism: A Rapprochement.Felipe Leon - 2009 - Dissertation, University of California, Riverside
    The thought experiment is a seemingly indispensable tool in the armchair philosopher’s toolbox. One wonders, for example, how philosophers could come to think that justified true belief isn’t knowledge, that reference isn’t determined by an expression’s associated description, or that moral responsibility doesn’t require the ability to do otherwise, without the use of thought experiments. But even if thought experiments play an integral role in philosophical methodology, their legitimacy is at least initially puzzling: one would think that significant (...) of the world requires extensive empirical investigation. But since thought experiments are done from the armchair, how can they tell us about the world? -/- A standard account of the nature and utility of thought experiments provides an answer to this question, and in a way that fits naturally with a standard picture of the nature of the facts philosophers investigate: Philosophers are about the business of investigating the essences of things and kinds. But a thing’s essential and accidental properties are modal properties. Thus, one can discern a thing’s essence by discovering its modal profile. But if so, then thought experiments are naturally suited as tools for the armchair philosopher. For thought experiments shed light on modal facts. Therefore, since philosophers investigate essences, facts about essence are modal facts, and the thought experiment is one of the few tools they have for discerning such facts, thought experiments play a legitimate and indispensable role in philosophical methodology. In my dissertation, I argue that the standard account of the nature and utility of thought experiments is inadequate, and sketch a more promising account. -/- First, I argue that our knowledge of possibility is restricted to the relatively humdrum. And if so, then since the standard account ties the utility of thought experiments to our knowledge of possibility, too many thought experiments will be ruled out as useless, which raises serious concerns about the significance, and perhaps even the legitimacy, of armchair philosophy. Thus, there is pressure for armchair philosophers to reject the standard account. -/- Second, I sketch an alternative picture of the nature of facts philosophers investigate – one that’s more fine-grained than the standard modal-profile picture. Relatedly, I sketch a correspondingly fine-grained semantics for claims about such facts. This alternative picture underwrites the legitimacy of a hitherto underappreciated sort of thought experiment, which I call the non-modal thought experiment. Such thought experiments shed light on facts about the world that are more fine-grained than what can be discerned by merely examining their modal profiles. I argue that non-modal thought experiments often succeed at just the points where the more familiar modal thought experiments fail, and thus that the two are naturally suited to complement one another in the philosopher’s practice. -/- Finally, I exploit the points mentioned above to sketch an account of the variety and utility of thought experiments that’s much more nuanced than that of the standard account. I then illustrate some of its virtues by indicating its ability to account for a wide range of epistemically forceful thought experiments – both humdrum and exotic –, and by demonstrating how it can be used to make progress in debates that have reached a stalemate due to conflicting modal intuitions. -/- . (shrink)
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  50. Iterated Modalities, Meaning and A Priori Knowledge.Dominic Gregory - 2011 - Philosophers' Imprint 11.
    Recent work on the philosophy of modality has tended to pass over questions about iterated modalities in favour of constructing ambitious metaphysical theories of possibility and necessity, despite the central importance of iterated modalities to modal logic. Yet there are numerous unresolved but fundamental issues involving iterated modalities: Chandler and Salmon have provided forceful arguments against the widespread assumption that all necessary truths are necessarily necessary, for example. The current paper examines a range of ways in which one might (...)
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