Philosophical Insights and Modal Cognition

In Eugen Fischer John Collins (ed.), Experimental Philosophy, Rationalism, and Naturalism. pp. 110-131 (2015)
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Abstract
Modal rationalists uphold a strong constitutive relationship between a priori cognition and modal cognition. Since both a priori cognition and modal cognition have been taken to be characteristic of philosophical insights, I will critically assess an ambitious modal rationalism and an associated ambitious methodological rationalism. I begin by examining Kripkean cases of the necessary a posteriori in order to characterize the ambitious modal rationalism that will be the focus of my criticism. I then argue that there is a principled association between this view in the epistemology of modality and an ambitious methodological rationalist picture of the nature of philosophical insights. On the basis of this discussion, I criticize ambitious modal rationalism and argue that the critique indicates some principled limits of generating philosophical insights by a priori modal cognition. Hence, my central diagnosis is that ambitious methodological rationalists are overly ambitious in the role that they assign a priori modal cognition in philosophical methodology. -/-
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