Is imagination too liberal for modal epistemology?

Synthese 195 (5):2155-2174 (2018)
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Appealing to imagination for modal justification is very common. But not everyone thinks that all imaginings provide modal justification. Recently, Gregory and Kung :620–663, 2010) have independently argued that, whereas imaginings with sensory imageries can justify modal beliefs, those without sensory imageries don’t because of such imaginings’ extreme liberty. In this essay, I defend the general modal epistemological relevance of imagining. I argue, first, that when the objections that target the liberal nature of non-sensory imaginings are adequately developed, those objections also threaten the sensory imaginings. So, if we think that non-sensory imaginings are too liberal for modal justification, we should say the same about sensory imaginings. I’ll finish my defense by showing that, when it comes to deciding between saying that all imaginings are prima facie justificatory and saying that no imaginings are justificatory, there is an independent reason for accepting the former.

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Derek Lam
California State University, Sacramento


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