Williamsonian modal epistemology, possibility-based

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):766-795 (2016)
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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 Williamson’s own work, and argue that it is better connected to the semantics of modal language.

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Barbara Vetter
Freie Universität Berlin


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