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Thinking the impossible

Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2649-2662 (2016)

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  1. Conceivability and Possibility: Some Dilemmas for Humeans.Francesco Berto & Tom Schoonen - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2697-2715.
    The Humean view that conceivability entails possibility can be criticized via input from cognitive psychology. A mainstream view here has it that there are two candidate codings for mental representations (one of them being, according to some, reducible to the other): the linguistic and the pictorial, the difference between the two consisting in the degree of arbitrariness of the representation relation. If the conceivability of P at issue for Humeans involves the having of a linguistic mental representation, then it is (...)
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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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  • Two Notions of Metaphysical Modality.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese:1-22.
    The paper explores the project of an ambitious modal epistemology that attempts to combine the a priori methods of Chalmers’ 2D semantics with Kripke’s modal metaphysics. I argue that such a project is not viable. The ambitious modal epistemology involves an inconsistent triad composed of (1) Modal Monism, (2) Two-Dimensionalism, and what I call (3) “Metaphysical Kripkeanism”. I present the three theses and show how only two of those can be true at a time. There is a fundamental incompatibility between (...)
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  • Lakatos’ Quasi-Empiricism in the Philosophy of Mathematics.Michael J. Shaffer - 2015 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 9 (2):71-80.
    Imre Lakatos' views on the philosophy of mathematics are important and they have often been underappreciated. The most obvious lacuna in this respect is the lack of detailed discussion and analysis of his 1976a paper and its implications for the methodology of mathematics, particularly its implications with respect to argumentation and the matter of how truths are established in mathematics. The most important themes that run through his work on the philosophy of mathematics and which culminate in the 1976a paper (...)
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  • Knowing How Things Might Have Been.Mark Jago - 2018 - Synthese:1-19.
    I know that I could have been where you are right now and that you could have been where I am right now, but that neither of us could have been turnips or natural numbers. This knowledge of metaphysical modality stands in need of explanation. I will offer an account based on our knowledge of the natures, or essencess, of things. I will argue that essences need not be viewed as metaphysically bizarre entities; that we can conceptualise and refer to (...)
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  • Two Kinds of Logical Impossibility.Alexander Sandgren & Koji Tanaka - forthcoming - Noûs.
    In this paper, we argue that a distinction ought to be drawn between two ways in which a given world might be logically impossible. First, a world w might be impossible because the laws that hold at w are different from those that hold at some other world (say the actual world). Second, a world w might be impossible because the laws of logic that hold in some world (say the actual world) are violated at w. We develop a novel (...)
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  • Sylvan's Bottle and Other Problems.Diane Proudfoot - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Logic 15 (2):95-123.
    According to Richard Routley, a comprehensive theory of fiction is impossible, since almost anything is in principle imaginable. In my view, Routley is right: for any purported logic of fiction, there will be actual or imaginable fictions that successfully counterexample the logic. Using the example of ‘impossible’ fictions, I test this claim against theories proposed by Routley’s Meinongian contemporaries and also by Routley himself and his 21st century heirs. I argue that the phenomenon of impossible fictions challenges even today’s modal (...)
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  • Modal Objectivity1.Justin Clarke‐Doane - 2019 - Noûs 53 (2):266-295.
    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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  • Careful What You Wish.John Beverley - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (1):21-38.
    Dilip Ninan has raised a puzzle for centered world accounts of de re attitude reports extended to accommodate what he calls “counterfactual attitudes.” As a solution, Ninan introduces multiple centers to the standard centered world framework, resulting in a more robust semantics for de re attitude reports. However, while the so-called multi-centered world proposal solves Ninan’s counterfactual puzzle, this additional machinery is not without problems. In Section 1, I present the centered world account of attitude reports, followed by the extension (...)
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