Non-uniformism and the Epistemology of Philosophically Interesting Modal Claims

Grazer Philosophische Studien 98 (4):629-656 (2021)
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Abstract

Philosophers often make exotic-sounding modal claims, such as: “A timeless world is impossible”, “The laws of physics could have been different from what they are”, “There could have been an additional phenomenal colour”. Otherwise popular empiricist modal epistemologies in the contemporary literature cannot account for whatever epistemic justification we might have for making such modal claims. Those who do not, as a result of this, endorse scepticism with respect to their epistemic status typically suggest that they can be justified but have yet to develop some distinct, workable theory of how. That is, they endorse a form of non-uniformism about the epistemology of modality, according to which claims about philosophically interesting modal matters need to be justified differently from e.g. everyday or scientific modal claims, but they fail to provide any more detail. This article aims to fill this gap by outlining how such a non-uniformist view could be spelled out and what story about philosophically interesting modal justification it could contain.

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Ylwa Sjölin Wirling
University of Gothenburg

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