Perceptual Knowledge of Nonactual Possibilities

Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):363-375 (2015)
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Abstract
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 impossibility. The possibility of a perceptual route to some modal knowledge is not as radical as it may at first sound. On the contrary, acknowledging it has benefits.
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First archival date: 2015-12-14
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