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  1. Counterfactuals and the 'Grue-Speaker'.Alfred Schramm - manuscript
    Freitag (2015) and Schramm (2014) have proposed different, although converging, solutions of Goodman’s New Riddle of Induction. Answering their proposals, Dorst (2016 and 2018) has used the fictitious character of a ‘grue-speaker’ as his principal device for criticizing counterfactual-based treatments of the Riddle. In this paper, I argue that Dorst’s arguments fail: On the observation of no other than green emeralds, the ‘grue-speaker’ cannot use the symmetry between the ‘green’- and ‘grue’-languages for claiming ‘grue’- instead of ‘green’-evidence, and the counterfactuals (...)
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  2. Human Foreknowledge.Fabrizio Cariani - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives.
    I explore the motivation and logical consequences of the idea that we have some (limited) ability to know contingent facts about the future, even in presence of the assumption that the future is objectively unsettled or indeterminate. I start by formally characterizing skepticism about the future. This analysis nudges the anti-skeptic towards the idea that if some propositions about the future are objectively indeterminate, then it may be indeterminate whether a suitably positioned agent knows them.
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  3. Knowledge by Imagination - How Imaginative Experience Can Ground Knowledge.Fabiab Dorsch - forthcoming - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy.
    In this article, I defend the view that we can acquire factual knowledge – that is, contingent propositional knowledge about certain (perceivable) aspects of reality – on the basis of imaginative experience. More specifically, I argue that, under suitable circumstances, imaginative experiences can rationally determine the propositional content of knowledge-constituting beliefs – though not their attitude of belief – in roughly the same way as perceptual experiences do in the case of perceptual knowledge. I also highlight some philosophical consequences of (...)
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  4. Realism, Reliability, and Epistemic Possibility: On Modally Interpreting the Benacerraf–Field Challenge.Brett Topey - forthcoming - Synthese:1-22.
    A Benacerraf–Field challenge is an argument intended to show that common realist theories of a given domain are untenable: such theories make it impossible to explain how we’ve arrived at the truth in that domain, and insofar as a theory makes our reliability in a domain inexplicable, we must either reject that theory or give up the relevant beliefs. But there’s no consensus about what would count here as a satisfactory explanation of our reliability. It’s sometimes suggested that giving such (...)
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  5. Superexplanations for Counterfactual Knowledge.Antonella Mallozzi - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (4):1315-1337.
    I discuss several problems for Williamson’s counterfactual-theory of modal knowledge and argue that they have a common source, in that the theory neglects to elucidate the proper constraints on modal reasoning. Williamson puts forward an empirical hypothesis that rests on the role of counterfactual reasoning for modal knowledge. But he overlooks central questions of normative modal epistemology. In order for counterfactual reasoning to yield correct beliefs about modality, it needs to be suitably constrained. I argue that what is needed is, (...)
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  6. Sensitivity, Safety, and Impossible Worlds.Guido Melchior - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):713-729.
    Modal knowledge accounts that are based on standards possible-worlds semantics face well-known problems when it comes to knowledge of necessities. Beliefs in necessities are trivially sensitive and safe and, therefore, trivially constitute knowledge according to these accounts. In this paper, I will first argue that existing solutions to this necessity problem, which accept standard possible-worlds semantics, are unsatisfactory. In order to solve the necessity problem, I will utilize an unorthodox account of counterfactuals, as proposed by Nolan, on which we also (...)
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  7. Non-Reductive Safety.Michael Blome-Tillmann - 2020 - Belgrade Philosophical Annual 33:25-38.
    Safety principles in epistemology are often hailed as providing us with an explanation of why we fail to have knowledge in Gettier cases and lottery examples, while at the same time allowing for the fact that we know the negations of sceptical hypotheses. In a recent paper, Sinhababu and Williams have produced an example—the Backward Clock—that is meant to spell trouble for safety accounts of knowledge. I argue that the Backward Clock case is, in fact, unproblematic for the more sophisticated (...)
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  8. Humean Laws and (Nested) Counterfactuals.Christian Loew & Siegfried Jaag - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (278):93-113.
    Humean reductionism about laws of nature is the view that the laws reduce to the total distribution of non-modal or categorical properties in spacetime. A worry about Humean reductionism is that it cannot motivate the characteristic modal resilience of laws under counterfactual suppositions and that it thus generates wrong verdicts about certain nested counterfactuals. In this paper, we defend Humean reductionism by motivating an account of the modal resilience of Humean laws that gets nested counterfactuals right.
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  9. Game Counterpossibles.Felipe Morales Carbonell - 2020 - Argumenta 6 (1):117-133.
    Counterpossibles, counterfactuals conditional with impossible antecedents, are notoriously contested; while the standard view makes them trivially true, some authors argue that they can be non-trivially true. In this paper, I examine the use of counterfactuals in the context of games, and argue that there is a case to be made for their non-triviality in a restricted sense. In particular, I examine the case of retro problems in chess, where it can happen that one is tasked with evaluating counterfactuals about illegal (...)
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  10. New Directions in the Epistemology of Modality: Introduction.Antonella Mallozzi - 2019 - Synthese:1-19.
    The fourteen papers in this collection offer a variety of original contributions to the epistemology of modality. In seeking to explain how we might account for our knowledge of possibility and necessity, they raise some novel questions, develop some unfamiliar theoretical perspectives, and make some intriguing proposals. Collectively, they advance our understanding of the field. In Part I of this Introduction, I give some general background about the contemporary literature in the area, by sketching a timeline of the main tendencies (...)
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  11. Fictionalism, the Safety Result and Counterpossibles.Lukas Skiba - 2019 - Analysis 79 (4):647-658.
    Fictionalists maintain that possible worlds, numbers or composite objects exist only according to theories which are useful but false. Hale, Divers and Woodward have provided arguments which threaten to show that fictionalists must be prepared to regard the theories in question as contingently, rather than necessarily, false. If warranted, this conclusion would significantly limit the appeal of the fictionalist strategy rendering it unavailable to anyone antecedently convinced that mathematics and metaphysics concern non-contingent matters. I try to show that their arguments (...)
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  12. 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 could (...)
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  13. Williamson on Counterpossibles.Berto Francesco, David Ripley, Graham Priest & Rohan French - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (4):693-713.
    A counterpossible conditional is a counterfactual with an impossible antecedent. Common sense delivers the view that some such conditionals are true, and some are false. In recent publications, Timothy Williamson has defended the view that all are true. In this paper we defend the common sense view against Williamson’s objections.
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  14. Judgements About Thought Experiments.Alexander Geddes - 2018 - Mind 127 (505):35-67.
    Thought experiments invite us to evaluate philosophical theses by making judgements about hypothetical cases. When the judgements and the theses conflict, it is often the latter that are rejected. But what is the nature of the judgements such that they are able to play this role? I answer this question by arguing that typical judgements about thought experiments are in fact judgements of normal counterfactual sufficiency. I begin by focusing on Anna-Sara Malmgren’s defence of the claim that typical judgements about (...)
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  15. Moderate Modal Skepticism.Margot Strohminger & Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2018 - In Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne & Dani Rabinowitz (eds.), Knowledge, Belief, and God: New Insights in Religious Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 302-321.
    This paper examines "moderate modal skepticism", a form of skepticism about metaphysical modality defended by Peter van Inwagen in order to blunt the force of certain modal arguments in the philosophy of religion. Van Inwagen’s argument for moderate modal skepticism assumes Yablo's (1993) influential world-based epistemology of possibility. We raise two problems for this epistemology of possibility, which undermine van Inwagen's argument. We then consider how one might motivate moderate modal skepticism by relying on a different epistemology of possibility, which (...)
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  16. Epistemic Modals and Alternative Possibilities.John Turri - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (5):1063-1084.
    Indicative judgments pertain to what is true. Epistemic modal judgments pertain to what must or might be true relative to a body of information. A standard view is that epistemic modals implicitly quantify over alternative possibilities, or ways things could turn out. On this view, a proposition must be true just in case it is true in all the possibilities consistent with the available information, and a proposition might be true just in case it is true in at least one (...)
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  17. The Epistemology of Modality and the Problem of Modal Epistemic Friction.Anand Jayprakash Vaidya & Michael Wallner - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1909-1935.
    There are three theories in the epistemology of modality that have received sustained attention over the past 20 years : conceivability-theory, counterfactual-theory, and deduction-theory. In this paper we argue that all three face what we call the problem of modal epistemic friction. One consequence of the problem is that for any of the three accounts to yield modal knowledge, the account must provide an epistemology of essence. We discuss an attempt to fend off the problem within the context of the (...)
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  18. Impossible Worlds and the Logic of Imagination.Francesco Berto - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (6):1277-1297.
    I want to model a finite, fallible cognitive agent who imagines that p in the sense of mentally representing a scenario—a configuration of objects and properties—correctly described by p. I propose to capture imagination, so understood, via variably strict world quantifiers, in a modal framework including both possible and so-called impossible worlds. The latter secure lack of classical logical closure for the relevant mental states, while the variability of strictness captures how the agent imports information from actuality in the imagined (...)
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  19. Safety's Swamp: Against The Value of Modal Stability.Georgi Gardiner - 2017 - American Philosophical Quarterly 54 (2):119-129.
    An account of the nature of knowledge must explain the value of knowledge. I argue that modal conditions, such as safety and sensitivity, do not confer value on a belief and so any account of knowledge that posits a modal condition as a fundamental constituent cannot vindicate widely held claims about the value of knowledge. I explain the implications of this for epistemology: We must either eschew modal conditions as a fundamental constituent of knowledge, or retain the modal conditions but (...)
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  20. Counterfactual Reasoning and Knowledge of Possibilities.Dominic Gregory - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (4):821-835.
    Williamson has argued against scepticism concerning our metaphysically modal knowledge, by arguing that standard patterns of suppositional reasoning to counterfactual conclusions provide reliable sources of correct ascriptions of possibility and necessity. The paper argues that, while Williamson’s claims relating to necessity may well be right, he has not provided adequate reasons for thinking that the familiar modes of counterfactual reasoning to which he points generalise to provide a decent route to ascriptions of possibility. The paper also explores another path to (...)
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  21. How to Reject a Counterfactual.Vittorio Morato - 2017 - Logique Et Analyse 239:317-335.
    Aaccording to D. K. lewis (1973), would-couterfactuals and might-counterfactuals are duals. from this, it follows that the negation of a would-counterfactual is equiv- alent to the corresponding “might-not”-counterfactual and that the negation of a might-counterfactual is equivalent to the corresponding “would-not”- counterfactual. there are cases, however, where we seem to be entitled to accept the would- counterfactual and we are also equally entitled to accept the corresponding might-not-counterfactual and cases where we seem to be entitled to accept the might-counterfactual without (...)
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  22. Moderately Naturalistic Metaphysics.Matteo Morganti & Tuomas E. Tahko - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2557-2580.
    The present paper discusses different approaches to metaphysics and defends a specific, non-deflationary approach that nevertheless qualifies as scientifically-grounded and, consequently, as acceptable from the naturalistic viewpoint. By critically assessing some recent work on science and metaphysics, we argue that such a sophisticated form of naturalism, which preserves the autonomy of metaphysics as an a priori enterprise yet pays due attention to the indications coming from our best science, is not only workable but recommended.
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  23. The Epistemology of Modality.Margot Strohminger & Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2017 - Analysis 77 (4):825-838.
    This article surveys recent developments in the epistemology of modality.
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  24. An Interpretation of McCall’s “Real Possible Worlds” and His Semantics for Counterfactuals.Alexandru Dragomir - 2016 - Symposion: Theoretical and Applied Inquiries in Philosophy and Social Sciences 3 (1):65-78.
    McCall (1984) offered a semantics of counterfactual conditionals based on “real possible worlds” that avoids using the vague notion of similarity between possible worlds. I will propose an interpretation of McCall’s counterfactuals in a formal framework based on Baltag-Moss-Solecki events and protocols. Moreover, I will argue that using this interpretation one can avoid an objection raised by Otte (1987).
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  25. Modals and Modal Epistemology.Jonathan Ichikawa - 2016 - In Amy Kind & Peter Kung (eds.), Knowledge Through Imagination. Oxford University Press. pp. 124-144.
    I distinguish (§1) two projects in modal epistemology—one about how we come to know modal truths, and one about why we have the ability so to come to know. The latter, I suggest, (§§2–3) is amenable to an evolutionary treatment in terms of general capacities developed to evaluate quotidian modal claims. I compare (§4) this approach to a recent suggestion in a similar spirit by Christopher Hill and Timothy Williamson, emphasizing counterfactual conditionals instead of quotidian modals; I argue that while (...)
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  26. Blocking Blockage.Ken Levy - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (2):565-583.
    The Blockage Argument is designed to improve upon Harry Frankfurt’s famous argument against the Principle of Alternative Possibilities by removing the counterfactual intervener altogether. If the argument worked, then it would prove in a way that Frankfurt’s argument does not that moral responsibility does not require any alternative possibilities whatsoever, not even the weakest “flicker of freedom”. -/- Some philosophers have rejected the Blockage Argument solely on the basis of their intuition that the inability to do otherwise is incompatible with (...)
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  27. Reply to Vetter.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):796-802.
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  28. What Should I Believe About What Would Have Been the Case?Franz Huber - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 44 (1):81-110.
    The question I am addressing in this paper is the following: how is it possible to empirically test, or confirm, counterfactuals? After motivating this question in Section 1, I will look at two approaches to counterfactuals, and at how counterfactuals can be empirically tested, or confirmed, if at all, on these accounts in Section 2. I will then digress into the philosophy of probability in Section 3. The reason for this digression is that I want to use the way observable (...)
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  29. Review of Bob Hale's Necessary Beings. [REVIEW]Nils Kürbis - 2015 - Disputatio (40):92-100.
    Review of Bob Hale's "Necessary Beings: An Essay on Ontology, Modality, and the Relations Between Them". Oxford: Oxford University Press 2013, ISBN 9780199669578.
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  30. Perceptual Knowledge of Nonactual Possibilities.Margot Strohminger - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):363-375.
    It is widely assumed that sense perception cannot deliver knowledge of nonactual (metaphysical) possibilities. We are not supposed to be able to know that a proposition p is necessary or that p is possible (if p is false) by sense perception. This paper aims to establish that the role of sense perception is not so limited. It argues that we can know lots of modal facts by perception. While the most straightforward examples concern possibility and contingency, others concern necessity and (...)
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  31. Counterfactuals and Their Truthmakers.Joshua Anderson - 2014 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):7-24.
    This article compares David Lewis’s understanding of counterfactuals with a Platonic theory of counterfactual truthmakers. By pointing to some weaknesses in Lewis’s theory, it will highlight some of the strengths of the Platonic theory. The article will progress in the following way. First, I present David Lewis’s understanding of counterfactuals, and discuss some problems the theory has. Next, I discuss Platonic truthmakers, in general, and then show how this applies to counterfactuals. Finally, I discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the (...)
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  32. On Conceiving the Inconsistent.Francesco Berto - 2014 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (1pt1):103-121.
    I present an approach to our conceiving absolute impossibilities—things which obtain at no possible world—in terms of ceteris paribus intentional operators: variably restricted quantifiers on possible and impossible worlds based on world similarity. The explicit content of a representation plays a role similar in some respects to the one of a ceteris paribus conditional antecedent. I discuss how such operators invalidate logical closure for conceivability, and how similarity works when impossible worlds are around. Unlike what happens with ceteris paribus counterfactual (...)
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  33. Evidence, Hypothesis, and Grue.Alfred Schramm - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (3):571-591.
    Extant literature on Goodman’s ‘New Riddle of Induction’ deals mainly with two versions. I consider both of them, starting from the (‘epistemic’) version of Goodman’s classic of 1954. It turns out that it belongs to the realm of applications of inductive logic, and that it can be resolved by admitting only significant evidence (as I call it) for confirmations of hypotheses. Sect. 1 prepares some ground for the argument. As much of it depends on the notion of evidential significance, this (...)
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  34. Doxastic Voluntarism, Epistemic Deontology and Belief-Contravening Commitments.Michael J. Shaffer - 2013 - American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (1):73-82.
    Defenders of doxastic voluntarism accept that we can voluntarily commit ourselves to propositions, including belief-contravening propositions. Thus, defenders of doxastic voluntarism allow that we can choose to believe propositions that are negatively implicated by our evidence. In this paper it is argued that the conjunction of epistemic deontology and doxastic voluntarism as it applies to ordinary cases of belief-contravening propositional commitments is incompatible with evidentialism. In this paper ED and DV will be assumed and this negative result will be used (...)
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  35. 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 in a Reducibility-based reply (...)
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  36. The Logic(s) of Modal Knowledge.Daniel Cohnitz - 2012 - In Greg Restall & Gillian Russell (eds.), New Waves in Philosophical Logic. MacMillan.
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  37. Counterfactuals and Modal Epistemology.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2012 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 86 (1):93–115.
    What is our epistemic access to metaphysical modality? Timothy Williamson suggests that the epistemology of counterfactuals will provide the answer. This paper challenges Williamson's account and argues that certain elements of the epistemology of counterfactuals that he discusses, namely so called background knowledge and constitutive facts, are already saturated with modal content which his account fails to explain. Williamson's account will first be outlined and the role of background knowledge and constitutive facts analysed. Their key role is to restrict our (...)
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  38. Counterfactual Fallacies.Andrea Iacona - 2011 - Humana Mente 4 (19).
    A widely accepted claim about counterfactuals is that they differ from strict conditionals, that is, there is no adequate representation of them as sentences of the form   . To justify this claim, Stalnaker and Lewis have argued that some fallacious inferences would turn out valid if counterfactuals were so represented. However, their argument has a flaw, as it rests on a questionable assumption about the relation between surface grammar and logical form. Without that assumption, no consequence of the (...)
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  39. 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 is that (W) cannot satisfactorily (...)
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  40. What Do Philosophers Know? A Critical Study of Williamson's "The Philosophy of Philosophy". [REVIEW]Andrew Melnyk - 2010 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 80 (1):297-307.
    This is a critical notice of Timothy Williamson's, The Philosophy of Philosophy (Blackwell, 2007). It focuses on criticizing the book's two main positive proposals: that we should “replace true belief by knowledge in a principle of charity constitutive of content”, and that “the epistemology of metaphysically modal thinking is tantamount to a special case of the epistemology of counterfactual thinking”.
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  41. Cue Competition Effects and Young Children's Causal and Counterfactual Inferences.Teresa McCormack, Stephen Andrew Butterfill, Christoph Hoerl & Patrick Burns - 2009 - Developmental Psychology 45 (6):1563-1575.
    The authors examined cue competition effects in young children using the blicket detector paradigm, in which objects are placed either singly or in pairs on a novel machine and children must judge which objects have the causal power to make the machine work. Cue competition effects were found in a 5- to 6-year-old group but not in a 4-year-old group. Equivalent levels of forward and backward blocking were found in the former group. Children's counterfactual judgments were subsequently examined by asking (...)
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  42. The Real Distinction Between Mind and Body.Stephen Yablo - 1990 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume 16:149.
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  43. What Zif.Daniel Dohrn - manuscript
    In a series of articles, David Barnett (2006, 2009, 2010) has developed a general theory of conditionals. The grand aim is to reconcile the two main rivals: a suppositional and a truth-conditional view (Barnett 2006, 521). While I confine my critical discussion to counterfactuals, I will give some hints how they might spell trouble for his suppositional view in general.
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  44. The Blurred Line Between Epistemic and Metaphysical Modalities in the Modal Epistemology of Imagination.Iñaki Xavier Larrauri Pertierra - manuscript
    Modal epistemologies that rely on a fallibilism about modal claims have been gaining traction over the years. This paper critically discusses the accounts of Kung (2009; 2010; 2016) and Dohrn (2018; 2019; 2020) and argues that they are invariably susceptible to being read as entailing claims of epistemic possibility. Both Kung and Dohrn seek to ground modal intuitions on non-modal ones, and primarily appeal to the modalizing capacity of imagination to aid in the discovery of modal truths. However, insofar as (...)
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