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Modal science

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):453-492 (2016)

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  1. Physical Necessitism.Hasen Khudairi - manuscript
    This paper aims to provide two abductive considerations adducing in favor of the thesis of Necessitism in modal ontology. I demonstrate how instances of the Barcan formula can be witnessed, when the modal operators are interpreted 'naturally' -- i.e., as including geometric possibilities -- and the quantifiers in the formula range over a domain of natural, or concrete, entities and their contingently non-concrete analogues. I argue that, because there are considerations within physics and metaphysical inquiry which corroborate modal relationalist claims (...)
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  • Modality and Hyperintensionality in Mathematics.Hasen Khudairi - manuscript
    This paper aims to contribute to the analysis of the nature of mathematical modality, and to the applications of the latter to unrestricted quantification and absolute decidability. Rather than countenancing the interpretational type of mathematical modality as a primitive, I argue that the interpretational type of mathematical modality is a species of epistemic modality. I argue, then, that the framework of two-dimensional semantics ought to be applied to the mathematical setting. The framework permits of a formally precise account of the (...)
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  • Epistemic Modality and Hyperintensionality in Mathematics.Hasen Khudairi - 2017 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    This book concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The book demonstrates how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the epistemic status of large cardinal axioms, undecidable propositions, and abstraction principles in the philosophy of mathematics; to the modal profile of rational intuition; and (...)
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  • Meaning and Metaphysical Necessity.Tristan Grotvedt Haze - 2022 - New York: Routledge.
    This book is about the idea that some true statements would have been true no matter how the world had turned out, while others could have been false. It develops and defends a version of the idea that we tell the difference between these two types of truths in part by reflecting on the meanings of words. It has often been thought that modal issues—issues about possibility and necessity—are related to issues about meaning. In this book, the author defends the (...)
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  • Mathematics and Metaphilosophy.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2022 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    This book discusses the problem of mathematical knowledge, and its broader philosophical ramifications. It argues that the challenge to explain the (defeasible) justification of our mathematical beliefs (‘the justificatory challenge’), arises insofar as disagreement over axioms bottoms out in disagreement over intuitions. And it argues that the challenge to explain their reliability (‘the reliability challenge’), arises to the extent that we could have easily had different beliefs. The book shows that mathematical facts are not, in general, empirically accessible, contra Quine, (...)
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  • Alternative Logics and Applied Mathematics.Timothy Williamson - 2018 - Philosophical Issues 28 (1):399-424.
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  • Beyond Legal Minds: Sex, Social Violence, Systems, Methods, Possibilities.William Allen Brant (ed.) - 2019 - Boston: Brill | Rodopi.
    In this book, William Brant inquires how violence is reduced. Social causes of violence are exposed. War, sexual domination, leadership, propagandizing and comedy are investigated. Legal systems are explored as reducers and implementers of violence and threats.
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  • Forms of Luminosity.Hasen Khudairi - 2017
    This dissertation concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The dissertation demonstrates how phenomenal consciousness and gradational possible-worlds models in Bayesian perceptual psychology relate to epistemic modal space. The dissertation demonstrates, then, how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; deontic modality; logical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the (...)
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  • Modal Combinatorialism is Consistent with S5.Henry Taylor - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (1):23-32.
    The combinatorial theory of modality has long been dogged by the supposed problem that it entails that S5 is not the correct logic for metaphysical modality. In this paper, I suggest a modification to combinatorialism, to eliminate this tension with S5. I argue that the resulting view is more in the spirit of combinatorialism than the original position.
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  • The Necessity of Mathematics.Juhani Yli-Vakkuri & John Hawthorne - 2020 - Noûs 54 (3):549-577.
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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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  • Essence and Necessity.Andreas Ditter - 2022 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 51 (3):653-690.
    What is the relation between metaphysical necessity and essence? This paper defends the view that the relation is one of identity: metaphysical necessity is a special case of essence. My argument consists in showing that the best joint theory of essence and metaphysical necessity is one in which metaphysical necessity is just a special case of essence. The argument is made against the backdrop of a novel, higher-order logic of essence, whose core features are introduced in the first part of (...)
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  • From Physical to Metaphysical Necessity.Alexander Roberts - forthcoming - Mind.
    Let Nomological Bound be the thesis that there is nothing objectively possible beyond what is physically possible. Nomological Bound has struck many as a live hypothesis. Nevertheless, in this article I provide a novel argument against it. Yet even though I claim that Nomological Bound is false, I argue that the boundaries of objective possibility can still be characterized intimately in terms of physical necessity. This is philosophically significant, for on a natural understanding it constitutes the powerful anti-sceptical result that (...)
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  • Strongly Millian Second-Order Modal Logics.Bruno Jacinto - 2017 - Review of Symbolic Logic 10 (3):397-454.
    The most common first- and second-order modal logics either have as theorems every instance of the Barcan and Converse Barcan formulae and of their second-order analogues, or else fail to capture the actual truth of every theorem of classical first- and second-order logic. In this paper we characterise and motivate sound and complete first- and second-order modal logics that successfully capture the actual truth of every theorem of classical first- and second-order logic and yet do not possess controversial instances of (...)
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  • Reply to Stalnaker.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):727-734.
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  • Reply to Fine.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):571-583.
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  • Reply to Bacon, Hawthorne and Uzquiano.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):542-547.
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  • Reply to Goodman.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):640-653.
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  • Logical Combinatorialism.Andrew Bacon - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (4):537-589.
    In explaining the notion of a fundamental property or relation, metaphysicians will often draw an analogy with languages. The fundamental properties and relations stand to reality as the primitive predicates and relations stand to a language: the smallest set of vocabulary God would need in order to write the “book of the world.” This paper attempts to make good on this metaphor. To that end, a modality is introduced that, put informally, stands to propositions as logical truth stands to sentences. (...)
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  • A Theory of Necessities.Andrew Bacon & Jin Zeng - 2022 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 51 (1):151-199.
    We develop a theory of necessity operators within a version of higher-order logic that is neutral about how fine-grained reality is. The theory is axiomatized in terms of the primitive of *being a necessity*, and we show how the central notions in the philosophy of modality can be recovered from it. Various questions are formulated and settled within the framework, including questions about the ordering of necessities under strength, the existence of broadest necessities satisfying various logical conditions, and questions about (...)
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  • Modal Pluralism and Higher-Order Logic.Justin Clarke-Doane & William McCarthy - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives.
    In this article, we discuss a simple argument that modal metaphysics is misconceived, and responses to it. Unlike Quine’s, this argument begins with the banal observation that there are different candidate interpretations of the predicate ‘could have been the case’. This is analogous to the observation that there are different candidate interpretations of the predicate ‘is a member of’. The argument then infers that the search for metaphysical necessities is misguided in much the way the ‘set-theoretic pluralist’ (Clarke-Doane & Hamkins (...)
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  • Inside and Outside a Possible World.Hsuan-Chih Lin & Duen-Min Deng - 2022 - Philosophia 50 (3):1265-1275.
    Consider the following argument, where ‘\’ abbreviates ‘the proposition that p’: It is possible that Socrates does not exist.Necessarily, if Socrates does not exist, then \ is true.Necessarily, if \ is true, then \ exists.Necessarily, if \ exists, then Socrates exists.Therefore, it is possible that Socrates exists and does not exist. How can one respond to this argument? Fine thinks that the argument involves an equivocation concerning the notion of truth for propositions: if we stand inside a possible world to (...)
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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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  • Modal Objectivity1.Clarke-Doane Justin - 2019 - Noûs: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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  • Strict Conditionals.Jan Heylen & Leon Horsten - 2022 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 22 (64):123-131.
    Both Lowe and Tsai have presented their own versions of the theory that both indicative and subjunctive conditionals are strict conditionals. We critically discuss both versions and we find each version wanting.
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  • The Actual Challenge for the Ontological Argument.Marco Hausmann - 2022 - Analysis 82 (2):222-230.
    Many versions of the ontological argument have two shortcomings: First, despite the arguments put forward, for example, by Hugh Chandler and Nathan Salmon, they assume that S5 is the correct modal logic for metaphysical modality. Second, despite the classical arguments put forward, for example, by David Hume and Immanuel Kant or the more recent arguments put forward, for example, by John Findlay and Richard Swinburne, they assume that necessary existence is possible. The aim of the paper is to develop an (...)
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  • Modality as a Subject for Science.Timothy Williamson - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (3):415-436.
    Section 1 introduces the category of objective modality, closely related to linguists’ category of circumstantial or dynamic modals, and explains metaphysical modality as its maximal element. Section 2 discusses various kinds of skepticism about modality, as in Hume and recent authors, and argues that it is illmotivated to apply such skepticism to metaphysical modality but not to more restricted objective modalities, including nomic modality. Section 3 suggests that the role of counterfactual conditionals in applications of scientific theories involves an objective (...)
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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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  • Williamsonian Modal Epistemology, Possibility-Based.Barbara Vetter - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):766-795.
    Williamsonian modal epistemology is characterized by two commitments: realism about modality, and anti-exceptionalism about our modal knowledge. Williamson’s own counterfactual-based modal epistemology is the best known implementation of WME, but not the only option that is available. I sketch and defend an alternative implementation which takes our knowledge of metaphysical modality to arise, not from knowledge of counterfactuals, but from our knowledge of ordinary possibility statements of the form ‘x can F’. I defend this view against a criticism indicated in (...)
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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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  • New Directions in the Epistemology of Modality: Introduction.Antonella Mallozzi - 2021 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1841-1859.
    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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  • Two Notions of Metaphysical Modality.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 6):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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  • Wither Metaphysical Necessity?John Divers - 2018 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 92 (1):1-25.
    I argue that a pragmatic scepticism about metaphysical modality is a perfectly reasonable position to maintain. I then illustrate the difficulties and limitations associated with some strategies for defeating such scepticism. These strategies appeal to associations between metaphysical modality and the following: objective probability, counterfactuals and distinctive explanatory value.
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  • What the Future ‘Might’ Brings.David Boylan - 2020 - Mind 129 (515):809-829.
    This paper concerns a puzzle about the interaction of epistemic modals and future tense. In cases of predictable forgetfulness, speakers cannot describe their future states of mind with epistemic modals under future tense, but promising theories of epistemic modals do not predict this. In §1, I outline the puzzle. In §2, I argue that it undermines a very general approach to epistemic modals that draws a tight connection between epistemic modality and evidence. In §3, I defend the assumption that tense (...)
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  • Symmetry Fundamentalism: A Case Study From Classical Physics.David Schroeren - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (2):308-333.
    Physicists have suggested what I call symmetry fundamentalism: the view that symmetries are fundamental aspects of physical reality and that these aspects are more fundamental than what one might ordinarily think of as the fundamental building blocks of the world, such as elementary particles. The goal of this paper is to develop an ontology for classical particle mechanics that provides a precise instance of symmetry fundamentalism.
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  • Symmetry fundamentalism in quantum mechanics.David Schroeren - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3995-4024.
    Modern particle physics suggests an intriguing vision of physical reality: we are to imagine the symmetries of the world as fundamental, whereas the material constituents of the world are ontologically derivative of them. This paper develops a novel ontology for non-relativistic quantum mechanics which gives precise metaphysical content to this vision.
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  • Metametaphysics and Semantics.Timothy Williamson - 2022 - Metaphilosophy 53 (2-3):162-175.
    Metaphilosophy, Volume 53, Issue 2-3, Page 162-175, April 2022.
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  • The Reverse Ontological Argument.James Henry Collin - forthcoming - Analysis.
    Modal ontological arguments argue from the possible existence of a perfect being to the actual existence of a perfect being. But modal ontological arguments have a problem of symmetry; they can be run in both directions. Reverse ontological arguments argue from the possible nonexistence of a perfect being to the actual nonexistence of a perfect being. Some familiar points about the necessary a posteriori, however, show that the symmetry can be broken in favour of the ontological argument.
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  • That’s the Guy Who Might Have Lost.Tristan Grøtvedt Haze - 2021 - Analytic Philosophy 62 (4):418-426.
    In an influential passage of Naming and Necessity Kripke argues, with the help of a fictional dialogue, that de re metaphysical modal distinctions have intuitive content. In this note I clarify the workings of the argument, and what it does and does not support. I conclude that Kripke’s argument does not, despite possible appearances, support the view that metaphysical modal distinctions are made in common sense discourse. The argument does however support the view that if metaphysical modal distinctions make sense (...)
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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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  • The Uniqueness of Necessary Truth and the Status of S4 and S5.Marco Hausmann - 2021 - Theoria 87 (6):1635-1650.
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  • Modal Inferences in Science: A Tale of Two Epistemologies.Ilmari Hirvonen, Rami Koskinen & Ilkka Pättiniemi - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13823-13843.
    Recent epistemology of modality has seen a growing trend towards metaphysics-first approaches. Contrastingly, this paper offers a more philosophically modest account of justifying modal claims, focusing on the practices of scientific modal inferences. Two ways of making such inferences are identified and analyzed: actualist-manipulationist modality and relative modality. In AM, what is observed to be or not to be the case in actuality or under manipulations, allows us to make modal inferences. AM-based inferences are fallible, but the same holds for (...)
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  • The Theory of Every Thing: Toward a Symmetry-Based Metaphysics of Matter.David Schroeren - 2020 - Dissertation, Princeton University
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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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  • 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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  • Metafísica para Juristas.Samuele Chilovi - 2022 - In D. Lagier & G. Lariguet (eds.), Filosofía. Una Introducción para Juristas. Madrid: Trotta.
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  • Epistemology of Modality: Between the Rock and the Hard Place.Ilkka Pättiniemi, Rami Koskinen & Ilmari Hirvonen - 2021 - Acta Philosophica Fennica.
    We review some of the major accounts in the current epistemology of modality and identify some shared issues that plague all of them. In order to provide insight into the nature of modal statements in science, philosophy, and beyond, a satisfactory epistemology of modality would need to be suitably applicable to practical and theoretical contexts by limited beings. However, many epistemologies of modality seem to work only when we have access to the kind of knowledge that is at least currently (...)
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  • Phenomenal Properties Are Luminous Properties.Geoffrey Hall - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):11001-11022.
    What is the connection between having a phenomenal property and knowing that one has that property? A traditional view on the matter takes the connection to be quite intimate. Whenever one has a phenomenal property, one knows that one does. Recently most authors have denied this traditional view. The goal of this paper is to defend the traditional view. In fact, I will defend something much stronger: I will argue that what it is for a property to be phenomenal is (...)
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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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  • Modal Expansionism.Alexander Roberts - 2019 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 48 (6):1145-1170.
    There are various well-known paradoxes of modal recombination. This paper offers a solution to a variety of such paradoxes in the form of a new conception of metaphysical modality. On the proposed conception, metaphysical modality exhibits a type of indefinite extensibility. Indeed, for any objective modality there will always be some further, broader objective modality; in other terms, modal space will always be open to expansion.
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