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  1. 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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  • 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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  • Metaphysical and Absolute Possibility.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1861-1872.
    It is widely alleged that metaphysical possibility is “absolute” possibility Conceivability and possibility, Clarendon, Oxford, 2002, p 16; Stalnaker, in: Stalnaker Ways a world might be: metaphysical and anti-metaphysical essays, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2003, pp 201–215; Williamson in Can J Philos 46:453–492, 2016). Kripke calls metaphysical necessity “necessity in the highest degree”. Van Inwagen claims that if P is metaphysically possible, then it is possible “tout court. Possible simpliciter. Possible period…. possib without qualification.” And Stalnaker writes, “we can agree (...)
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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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  • Modal Science.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):453-492.
    This paper explains and defends the idea that metaphysical necessity is the strongest kind of objective necessity. Plausible closure conditions on the family of objective modalities are shown to entail that the logic of metaphysical necessity is S5. Evidence is provided that some objective modalities are studied in the natural sciences. In particular, the modal assumptions implicit in physical applications of dynamical systems theory are made explicit by using such systems to define models of a modal temporal logic. Those assumptions (...)
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  • An Integrative Design? How Liberalised Modal Empiricism Fails the Integration Challenge.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2021 - Synthese 198 (6):5655-5673.
    The idea that justified modal belief can be accounted for in terms of empirically justified, non-modal belief is enjoying increasing popularity in the epistemology of modality. One alleged reason to prefer modal empiricism over more traditional, rationalist modal epistemologies is that empiricism avoids the problem with the integration challenge that arise for rationalism, assuming that we want to be realists about modal metaphysics. In this paper, I argue that given two very reasonable constraints on what it means to meet the (...)
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  • Putting Modal Metaphysics First.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 8):1-20.
    I propose that we approach the epistemology of modality by putting modal metaphysics first and, specifically, by investigating the metaphysics of essence. Following a prominent Neo-Aristotelian view, I hold that metaphysical necessity depends on the nature of things, namely their essences. I further clarify that essences are core properties having distinctive superexplanatory powers. In the case of natural kinds, which is my focus in the paper, superexplanatoriness is due to the fact that the essence of a kind is what causes (...)
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  • Special Issue of Synthese on New Directions in the Epistemology of Modality: Introduction.Antonella Mallozzi - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1841-1859.
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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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  • 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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  • On the Substitution of Identicals in Counterfactual Reasoning.Alexander W. Kocurek - 2020 - Noûs 54 (3):600-631.
    It is widely held that counterfactuals, unlike attitude ascriptions, preserve the referential transparency of their constituents, i.e., that counterfactuals validate the substitution of identicals when their constituents do. The only putative counterexamples in the literature come from counterpossibles, i.e., counterfactuals with impossible antecedents. Advocates of counterpossibilism, i.e., the view that counterpossibles are not all vacuous, argue that counterpossibles can generate referential opacity. But in order to explain why most substitution inferences into counterfactuals seem valid, counterpossibilists also often maintain that counterfactuals (...)
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  • Non‐Uniformism About the Epistemology of Modality: Strong and Weak.Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2020 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (2):152-173.
    Uniformism about the epistemology of modality is the view that there is only one basic route to modal knowledge; non-uniformism is the view that there are several. Non-uniformism is becoming an increasingly popular stance, but how can it be defended? I prise apart two ways of understanding the uniformism/non-uniformism conflict that are mixed up in the literature. I argue that once separated, it is evident that they lead up to two different non-uniformist theses that need to be argued for in (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Reply to Vetter.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):796-802.
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  • Spaces of Possibility.Timothy Williamson - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82:189-204.
    We care not just how things are but how they could have been otherwise – about possibility and necessity as well as actuality. Many philosophers regard such talk as beyond the reach of respectable science, since observation tells us how things are but not how they could have been otherwise. I argue that, on the contrary, such criticisms are ill-founded: possibility and necessity are studied in natural science, for example through phase spaces, abstract mathematical representations of the possible states of (...)
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