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Modal Epistemology and the Rationalist Renaissance

In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 71-125 (2002)

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  1. Counterfactual Logic and the Necessity of Mathematics.Samuel Z. Elgin - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 50 (1):97-115.
    This paper is concerned with counterfactual logic and its implications for the modal status of mathematical claims. It is most directly a response to an ambitious program by Yli-Vakkuri and Hawthorne, who seek to establish that mathematics is committed to its own necessity. I demonstrate that their assumptions collapse the counterfactual conditional into the material conditional. This collapse entails the success of counterfactual strengthening, which is controversial within counterfactual logic, and which has counterexamples within pure and applied mathematics. I close (...)
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  • Are Gettier Cases Disturbing?Peter Hawke & Tom Schoonen - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (5):1503-1527.
    We examine a prominent naturalistic line on the method of cases, exemplified by Timothy Williamson and Edouard Machery: MoC is given a fallibilist and non-exceptionalist treatment, accommodating moderate modal skepticism. But Gettier cases are in dispute: Williamson takes them to induce substantive philosophical knowledge; Machery claims that the ambitious use of MoC should be abandoned entirely. We defend an intermediate position. We offer an internal critique of Macherian pessimism about Gettier cases. Most crucially, we argue that Gettier cases needn’t exhibit (...)
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  • Varieties of Inference?Anna-Sara Malmgren - 2018 - Philosophical Issues 28 (1):221-254.
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  • Rigid Designators.Joseph LaPorte - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • The a Priority of Abduction.Stephen Biggs & Jessica M. Wilson - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (3):735-758.
    Here we challenge the orthodoxy according to which abduction is an a posteriori mode of inference. We start by providing a case study illustrating how abduction can justify a philosophical claim not justifiable by empirical evidence alone. While many grant abduction's epistemic value, nearly all assume that abductive justification is a posteriori, on grounds that our belief in abduction's epistemic value depends on empirical evidence about how the world contingently is. Contra this assumption, we argue, first, that our belief in (...)
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  • Gedankenexperimente in der Philosophie.Daniel Cohnitz - 2006 - Mentis.
    Wie ist es wohl, eine Fledermaus zu sein? Wäre ein rein physikalisches Duplikat von mir nur ein empfindungsloser Zombie? Muss man sich seinem Schicksal ergeben, wenn man sich unfreiwillig als lebensnotwendige Blutwaschanlage eines weltberühmten Violinisten wieder findet? Kann man sich wünschen, der König von China zu sein? Bin ich vielleicht nur ein Gehirn in einem Tank mit Nährflüssigkeit, das die Welt von einer Computersimulation vorgegaukelt bekommt? Worauf beziehen sich die Menschen auf der Zwillingserde mit ihrem Wort 'Wasser', wenn es bei (...)
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  • 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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  • Creative Imagining as Practical Knowing: An Akbariyya Account.Reza Hadisi - 2021 - Res Philosophica 98 (s):181-204.
    I argue that practical knowledge can be understood as constituted by a kind of imagining. In particular, it is the knowledge of what I am doing when that knowledge is represented via extramental imagination. Two results follow. First, on this account, we can do justice both to the cognitive character and the practical character of practical knowledge. And second, we can identify a condition under which imagination becomes factive, and thus a source of ob-jective evidence. I develop this view by (...)
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  • The Nomological Argument for the Existence of God.Tyler Hildebrand & Thomas Metcalf - forthcoming - Noûs.
    According to the Nomological Argument, observed regularities in nature are best explained by an appeal to a supernatural being. A successful explanation must avoid two perils. Some explanations provide too little structure, predicting a universe without regularities. Others provide too much structure, thereby precluding an explanation of certain types of lawlike regularities featured in modern scientific theories. We argue that an explanation based in the creative, intentional action of a supernatural being avoids these two perils whereas leading competitors do not. (...)
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  • The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology.Herman Cappelen, Tamar Szabó Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press.
    This is the most comprehensive book ever published on philosophical methodology. A team of thirty-eight of the world's leading philosophers present original essays on various aspects of how philosophy should be and is done. The first part is devoted to broad traditions and approaches to philosophical methodology. The entries in the second part address topics in philosophical methodology, such as intuitions, conceptual analysis, and transcendental arguments. The third part of the book is devoted to essays about the interconnections between philosophy (...)
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  • Fine-Tuned of Necessity?Ben Page - 2018 - Res Philosophica 95 (4):663-692.
    This paper seeks to explicate and analyze an alternative response to fine-tuning arguments from those that are typically given—namely, design or brute contingency. The response I explore is based on necessity, the necessitarian response. After showing how necessity blocks the argument, I explicate the reply I claim necessitarians can give and suggest how its three requirements can be met: firstly, that laws are metaphysically necessary; secondly, that constants are metaphysically necessary; and thirdly, that the fundamental properties that determine the laws (...)
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  • Abduction Versus Conceiving in Modal Epistemology.Stephen Biggs & Jessica Wilson - forthcoming - Synthese:1-32.
    How should modal reasoning proceed? Here we compare abduction-based and conceiving-based modal epistemologies, and argue that an abduction-based approach is preferable, and by a wide margin.
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  • Phenomenal and Perceptual Concepts.David Papineau - 2006 - In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press. pp. 111--144.
    1 Introduction 2 Perceptual Concepts 2.1 Perceptual Concepts are not Demonstrative 2.2 Perceptual Concepts as Stored Templates 2.3 Perceptual Semantics 2.4 Perceptually Derived Concepts 3 Phenomenal Concepts.
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  • 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, we cannot know what is possible. Conversely, (...)
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  • Why Animalism Matters.Andrew M. Bailey, Allison Krile Thornton & Peter van Elswyk - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-14.
    Here is a question as intriguing as it is brief: what are we? The animalist’s answer is equal in brevity: we are animals. This stark formulation of the animalist slogan distances it from nearby claims – that we are essentially animals, for example, or that we have purely biological criteria of identity over time. Is the animalist slogan -- unburdened by modal or criterial commitments – still interesting, though? Or has it lost its bite? In this article we address such (...)
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  • Possibility and Imagination.Alex Byrne - 2007 - Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):125–144.
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  • Against A Posteriori Functionalism.Marc A. Moffett - 2010 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (1):83-106.
    There are two constraints on any functionalist solution to the Mind-Body Problem construed as an answer to the question, “What is the relationship between the mental properties and relations (hereafter, simply the mental properties) and physical properties and relations?” The first constraint is that it must actually address the Mind-Body Problem and not simply redefine the debate in terms of other, more tractable, properties (e.g., the species-specific property of having human-pain). Such moves can be seen to be spurious by the (...)
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  • 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 there are no (...)
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  • 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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  • Real Acquaintance and Physicalism.Philip Goff - 2015 - In Paul Coates & Sam Coleman (eds.), Phenomenal Qualities: Sense, Perception and Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
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  • Functionalism.Janet Levin - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Functionalism in the philosophy of mind is the doctrine that what makes something a mental state of a particular type does not depend on its internal constitution, but rather on the way it functions, or the role it plays, in the system of which it is a part. This doctrine is rooted in Aristotle's conception of the soul, and has antecedents in Hobbes's conception of the mind as a “calculating machine”, but it has become fully articulated (and popularly endorsed) only (...)
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  • The Epistemic Value of Psychological Moral Intuitions.Albert W. Musschenga - 2010 - Philosophical Explorations 13 (2):113-128.
    In this article, I discuss whether intuitive moral judgements have epistemic value. Are they mere expressions of irrational feelings that should be disregarded or should they be taken seriously? In section 2, I discuss the view of some social psychologists that moral intuitions are, like other social intuitions, under certain conditions more reliable than conscious deliberative judgements. In sections 3 and 4, I examine whether intuitive moral judgements can be said not to need inferential justification. I outline a concept of (...)
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  • 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 modal imagination (...)
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  • Intuition.Joel Pust - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    This entry addresses the nature and epistemological role of intuition by considering the following questions: (1) What are intuitions?, (2) What roles do they serve in philosophical (and other “armchair”) inquiry?, (3) Ought they serve such roles?, (4) What are the implications of the empirical investigation of intuitions for their proper roles?, and (5) What is the content of intuitions prompted by the consideration of hypothetical cases?
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  • The Extent of Metaphysical Necessity.Daniel Nolan - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):313-339.
    A lot of philosophers engage in debates about what claims are “metaphysically necessary”, and a lot more assume with little argument that some classes of claims have the status of “metaphysical necessity”. I think we can usefully replace questions about metaphysical necessity with five other questions which each capture some of what people may have had in mind when talking about metaphysical necessity. This paper explains these five other questions, and then discusses the question “how much of metaphysics is metaphysically (...)
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  • Intuitionism in the Philosophy of Mathematics: Introducing a Phenomenological Account.Philipp Berghofer - 2020 - Philosophia Mathematica 28 (2):204-235.
    ABSTRACT The aim of this paper is to establish a phenomenological mathematical intuitionism that is based on fundamental phenomenological-epistemological principles. According to this intuitionism, mathematical intuitions are sui generis mental states, namely experiences that exhibit a distinctive phenomenal character. The focus is on two questions: what does it mean to undergo a mathematical intuition and what role do mathematical intuitions play in mathematical reasoning? While I crucially draw on Husserlian principles and adopt ideas we find in phenomenologically minded mathematicians such (...)
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  • Naturalism, Fallibilism, and the a Priori.Lisa Warenski - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (3):403-426.
    This paper argues that a priori justification is, in principle, compatible with naturalism—if the a priori is understood in a way that is free of the inessential properties that, historically, have been associated with the concept. I argue that empirical indefeasibility is essential to the primary notion of the a priori ; however, the indefeasibility requirement should be interpreted in such a way that we can be fallibilist about apriori-justified claims. This fallibilist notion of the a priori accords with the (...)
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  • Metaphysical and Absolute Possibility.Justin Clarke-Doane - forthcoming - Synthese (special issue):1-12.
    It is widely alleged that metaphysical possibility is “absolute” possibility (Kripke [1980], Lewis [1986], Rosen [2006, 16], Stalnaker [2005, 203], Williamson [2016, 460]). Indeed, this is arguably its metaphysical significance. Kripke calls metaphysical necessity “necessity in the highest degree” ([1980, 99]). Williamson calls metaphysical possibility the “maximal objective modality” [2016, 459]. Rosen says that “metaphysical possibility is the [most inclusive] sort of real possibility” ([2006, 16]). And Stalnaker writes, “we can agree with Frank Jackson, David Chalmers, Saul Kripke, David Lewis, (...)
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  • Modal Objectivity.Clarke-Doane Justin - forthcoming - Noûs.
    It is widely agreed that the intelligibility of modal metaphysics has been vindicated. Quine's arguments to the contrary supposedly confused analyticity with metaphysical necessity, and rigid with non-rigid designators.2 But even if modal metaphysics is intelligible, it could be misconceived. It could be that metaphysical necessity is not absolute necessity – the strictest real notion of necessity – and that no proposition of traditional metaphysical interest is necessary in every real sense. If there were nothing otherwise “uniquely metaphysically significant” about (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Modality and the Problem of Modal Epistemic Friction.Anand Jayprakash Vaidya & Michael Wallner - forthcoming - Synthese:1-27.
    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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  • Epistemic Projects, Indispensability, and the Structure of Modal Thought.Felipe Morales Carbonell - 2020 - Res Philosophica 97 (4):611-638.
    I argue that modal epistemology should pay more attention to questions about the structure and function of modal thought. We can treat these questions from synchronic and diachronic angles. From a synchronic perspective, I consider whether a general argument for the epistemic support of modal though can be made on the basis of modal thoughs’s indispensability for what Enoch and Schechter (2008) call rationally required epistemic projects. After formulating the argument, I defend it from various objections. I also examine the (...)
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  • The Problem of Modally Bad Company.Tom Schoonen - 2020 - Res Philosophica 97 (4):639-659.
    A particular family of imagination-based epistemologies of possibility promises to provide an account that overcomes problems raised by Kripkean a posteriori impossibilities. That is, they maintain that imagination plays a significant role in the epistemology of possibility. They claim that imagination consists of both linguistic and qualitative content, where the linguistic content is independently verified not to give rise to any impossibilities in the epistemically significant uses of imagination. However, I will argue that these accounts fail to provide a satisfactory (...)
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  • Imagery and Possibility.Dominic Gregory - 2020 - Noûs 54 (4):755-773.
    We often ascribe possibility to the scenes that are displayed by mental or nonmental sensory images. The paper presents a novel argument for thinking that we are prima facie justified in ascribing metaphysical possibility to what is displayed by suitable visual images, and it argues that many of our imagery‐based ascriptions of metaphysical possibility are therefore prima facie justified. Some potential objections to the arguments are discussed, and some potential extensions of them, to cover nonvisual forms of imagery and nonmetaphysical (...)
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  • Law Necessitarianism and the Importance of Being Intuitive.Daniel Z. Korman - 2005 - Philosophical Quarterly 55 (221):649–657.
    The counterintuitive implications of law necessitarianism pose a far more serious threat than its proponents recognize. Law necessitarians are committed to scientific essentialism, the thesis that there are metaphysically necessary truths which can be known only a posteriori. The most frequently cited arguments for this position rely on modal intuitions. Rejection of intuition thus threatens to undermine it. I consider ways in which law necessitarians might try to defend scientific essentialism without invoking intuition. I then consider ways in which law (...)
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  • Why Husserl’s Universal Empiricism is a Moderate Rationalism.Philipp Berghofer - 2018 - Axiomathes 28 (5):539-563.
    Husserl claims that his phenomenological–epistemological system amounts to a “universal” form of empiricism. The present paper shows that this universal moment of Husserl’s empiricism is why his empiricism qualifies as a rationalism. What is empiricist about Husserl’s phenomenological–epistemological system is that he takes experiences to be an autonomous source of immediate justification. On top of that, Husserl takes experiences to be the ultimate source of justification. For Husserl, every justified belief ultimately depends epistemically on the subject’s experiences. These are paradigms (...)
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  • Imagining as a Guide to Possibility.Peter Kung - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (3):620-663.
    I lay out the framework for my theory of sensory imagination in “Imagining as a guide to possibility.” Sensory imagining involves mental imagery , and crucially, in describing the content of imagining, I distinguish between qualitative content and assigned content. Qualitative content derives from the mental image itself; for visual imaginings, it is what is “pictured.” For example, visually imagine the Philadelphia Eagles defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers to win their first Super Bowl. You picture the greenness of the field and (...)
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  • You Really Do Imagine It: Against Error Theories of Imagination.Peter Kung - 2016 - Noûs 50 (1):90-120.
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  • 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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  • Modal Scepticism, Unqualified Modality, and Modal Kinds.Andrea Sauchelli - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (2):403-409.
    I formulate and defend two sceptical theses on specific parts of our modal knowledge (unqualified and absolute modalities). My main point is that unqualified modal sentences are defective in that they fail to belong unambiguously to specific modal kinds and thus cannot be evaluated; hence, we must be sceptical of beliefs involving them.
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  • Necessary A Posteriori Identity Truths: Fregeanism Beats Direct Reference Theory.Ari Maunu - 2018 - Axiomathes 28 (1):73-80.
    I argue that Fregeanism with respect to proper names—the view that modes of presentation are relevant to the contents of proper names—is able to account for the thesis that there are necessarily true a posteriori identity propositions such as the one expressed in “Hesperus is identical with Phosphorus”, whereas the Direct Reference Theory—according to which the semantic function of certain expressions, e.g., proper names, is only to pick out an object —is able to deal with only their necessary truth. Thus, (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Thought Experiments: First Person Versus Third Person Approaches.Kirk Ludwig - 2007 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1):128-159.
    Recent third person approaches to thought experiments and conceptual analysis through the method of surveys are motivated by and motivate skepticism about the traditional first person method. I argue that such surveys give no good ground for skepticism, that they have some utility, but that they do not represent a fundamentally new way of doing philosophy, that they are liable to considerable methodological difficulties, and that they cannot be substituted for the first person method, since the a priori knowledge which (...)
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  • Binding Bound Variables in Epistemic Contexts.Brian Rabern - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-31.
    Quine insisted that the satisfaction of an open modalised formula by an object depends on how that object is described. Kripke’s "objectual" interpretation of quantified modal logic, whereby variables are rigid, is commonly thought to avoid these Quinean worries. Yet there remain residual Quinean worries in the epistemic case. Theorists have recently been toying with assignment-shifting treatments of epistemic contexts. On such views an epistemic operator ends up binding all the variables in its scope. One might worry that this yields (...)
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  • 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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  • Modality is Not Explainable by Essence.Carlos Romero - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):121-141.
    Some metaphysicians believe that metaphysical modality is explainable by the essences of objects. In §II, I spell out the definitional view of essence, and in §III, a working notion of metaphysical explanation. Then, in §IV, I consider and reject five natural ways to explain necessity by essence: in terms of the principle that essential properties can't change, in terms of the supposed obviousness of the necessity of essential truth, in terms of the logical necessity of definitions, in terms of Fine's (...)
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  • Can Enumerative Induction Be Defended by Modal Scepticism and Modal Empiricism?Shuyi Feng - 2020 - Dialogue 59 (2):345-361.
    ABSTRACTIn the spirit of modal scepticism, Peter Hawke offers a modal epistemology, the safe explanation theory, which takes the form of modal empiricism. By employing SET, he tries to defend enumerative induction : it is reasonable to believe that any X is F on the basis of a sufficiently large sample in which any X is F. In this paper, I argue that Hawke’s defence fails. Moreover, I point out a problem with SET, which results in this failure: SET is (...)
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  • The Phenomenal Presence of Perceptual Reasons.Fabian Dorsch - forthcoming - In Fabian Dorsch & Fiona Macpherson (eds.), Phenomenal Presence. Oxford University Press.
    Doxasticism about our awareness of normative (i.e. justifying) reasons – the view that we can recognise reasons for forming attitudes or performing actions only by means of normative judgements or beliefs – is incompatible with the following triad of claims: -/- (1) Being motivated (i.e. forming attitudes or performing actions for a motive) requires responding to and, hence, recognising a relevant reason. -/- (2) Infants are capable of being motivated. -/- (3) Infants are incapable of normative judgement or belief. -/- (...)
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  • Intuitions.James Andow - 2016 - Analysis 76 (2):232-246.
    Intuitions is presented as a counterpart of Rethinking Intuition ( DePaul and Ramsey 1998 ). 1 After 16 years, it revisits the topic of the place of intuitions in philosophy in light of two developments...
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  • A Randomness‐Based Theodicy for Evolutionary Evils.Jordan Wessling & Joshua Rasmussen - 2017 - Zygon 52 (4):984-1004.
    We develop and knit together several theodicies in order to find a more complete picture of why certain forms of animal suffering might be permitted by a perfect being. We focus on an especially potent form of the problem of evil, which arises from considering why a perfectly good, wise, and powerful God might use evolutionary mechanisms that predictably result in so much animal suffering and loss of life. There are many existing theodicies on the market, and although they offer (...)
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  • Saving the Doxastic Account of Intuitions.Christian Nimtz - 2010 - Philosophical Psychology 23 (3):357-375.
    Many philosophers and psychologists hold that intuitions are, or reduce to, beliefs. The argument from intuition without beliefs threatens to undercut any such doxastic account: since there are clear cases of intuition without belief, intuitions cannot be beliefs. Advocates of the intellectual seeming account conclude that intuitions belong to the basic mental kind of intellectual seeming. I argue that rightly understood, apparent cases of intuition without belief are cases of someone having the inclination to believe that p whilst believing that (...)
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  • The Necessity of Mathematics.Juhani Yli‐Vakkuri & John Hawthorne - 2018 - Noûs 52.
    Some have argued for a division of epistemic labor in which mathematicians supply truths and philosophers supply their necessity. We argue that this is wrong: mathematics is committed to its own necessity. Counterfactuals play a starring role.
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