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  1. Nature’s Metaphysics.Alexander Bird - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    Professional philosophers and advanced students working in metaphysics and the philosophy of science will find this book both provocative and stimulating.
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  • Essence and Modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8:1-16.
    It is my aim in this paper to show that the contemporary assimilation of essence to modality is fundamentally misguided and that, as a consequence, the corresponding conception of metaphysics should be given up. It is not my view that the modal account fails to capture anything which might reasonably be called a concept of essence. My point, rather, is that the notion of essence which is of central importance to the metaphysics of identity is not to be understood in (...)
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  • Does Conceivability Entail Possibility.David Chalmers - 2002 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 145--200.
    There is a long tradition in philosophy of using a priori methods to draw conclusions about what is possible and what is necessary, and often in turn to draw conclusions about matters of substantive metaphysics. Arguments like this typically have three steps: first an epistemic claim , from there to a modal claim , and from there to a metaphysical claim.
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  • Some Laws of Nature Are Metaphysically Contingent.John T. Roberts - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):445-457.
    Laws of nature are puzzling because they have a 'modal character'—they seem to be 'necessary-ish'—even though they also seem to be metaphysically contingent. And it is hard to understand how contingent truths could have such a modal character. Scientific essentialism is a doctrine that seems to dissolve this puzzle, by showing that laws of nature are actually metaphysically necessary. I argue that even if the metaphysics of natural kinds and properties offered by scientific essentialism is correct, there are still some (...)
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  • Modal Knowledge and Counterfactual Knowledge.Sonia Roca-Royes - 2011 - Logique Et Analyse 54 (216):537-552.
    The paper compares the suitability of two different epistemologies of counterfactuals—(EC) and (W)—to elucidate modal knowledge. I argue that, while both of them explain the data on our knowledge of counterfactuals, only (W)—Williamson’s epistemology—is compatible with all counterpossibles being true. This is something on which Williamson’s counterfactual-based account of modal knowledge relies. A first problem is, therefore, that, in the absence of further, disambiguating data, Williamson’s choice of (W) is objectionably biased. A second, deeper problem is that (W) cannot satisfactorily (...)
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  • Real Essentialism.David Oderberg - 2007 - New York: Routledge.
    _Real Essentialism_ presents a comprehensive defence of neo-Aristotelian essentialism. Do objects have essences? Must they be the kinds of things they are in spite of the changes they undergo? Can we know what things are really like – can we define and classify reality? Many, if not most, philosophers doubt this, influenced by centuries of empiricism, and by the anti-essentialism of Wittgenstein, Quine, Popper, and other thinkers. _Real Essentialism_ reinvigorates the tradition of realist, essentialist metaphysics, defending the reality and knowability (...)
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  • Impossible Worlds: A Modest Approach.Daniel Nolan - 1997 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 38 (4):535-572.
    Reasoning about situations we take to be impossible is useful for a variety of theoretical purposes. Furthermore, using a device of impossible worlds when reasoning about the impossible is useful in the same sorts of ways that the device of possible worlds is useful when reasoning about the possible. This paper discusses some of the uses of impossible worlds and argues that commitment to them can and should be had without great metaphysical or logical cost. The paper then provides an (...)
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  • Counterfactuals and Context.Berit Brogaard & Joe Salerno - 2008 - Analysis 68 (1):39–46.
    It is widely agreed that contraposition, strengthening the antecedent and hypothetical syllogism fail for subjunctive conditionals. The following putative counter-examples are frequently cited, respectively.
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  • Conceivability and De Re Modal Knowledge.Sonia Roca-Royes - 2011 - Noûs 45 (1):22-49.
    The paper presents a dilemma for both epistemic and non-epistemic versions of conceivability-based accounts of modal knowledge. On the one horn, non-epistemic accounts do not elucidate the essentialist knowledge they would be committed to. On the other, epistemic accounts do not elucidate everyday life de re modal knowledge. In neither case, therefore, do conceivability accounts elucidate de re modal knowledge.
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  • Laws of Nature.John W. Carroll - 1994 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (189):526-529.
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  • Reference and Essence.Nathan U. Salmon - 1981 - Prometheus Books.
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  • Scientific Essentialism.Brian Ellis - 2001 - Mind 113 (450):334-340.
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  • » The Nature of Natural Laws «.Chris Swoyer - 1982 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 60 (3):1982.
    That laws of nature play a vital role in explanation, prediction, and inductive inference is far clearer than the nature of the laws themselves. My hope here is to shed some light on the nature of natural laws by developing and defending the view that they involve genuine relations between properties. Such a position is suggested by Plato, and more recent versions have been sketched by several writers.~ But I am not happy with any of these accounts, not so much (...)
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  • On the Modal Content of A Posteriori Necessities.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2009 - Theoria 75 (4):344-357.
    This paper challenges the Kripkean interpretation of a posteriori necessities. It will be demonstrated, by an analysis of classic examples, that the modal content of supposed a posteriori necessities is more complicated than the Kripkean line suggests. We will see that further research is needed concerning the a priori principles underlying all a posteriori necessities. In the course of this analysis it will emerge that the modal content of a posteriori necessities can be best described in terms of a Finean (...)
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  • The Source Of Necessity.Bob Hale - 2002 - Noûs 36 (s16):299-319.
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  • Causal and Metaphysical Necessity.Sydney Shoemaker - 1998 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 79 (1):59–77.
    Any property has two sorts of causal features: “forward-looking” ones, having to do with what its instantiation can contribute to causing, and ldquo;backward-looking” ones, having to do with how its instantiation can be caused. Such features of a property are essential to it, and properties sharing all of their causal features are identical. Causal necessity is thus a special case of metaphysical necessity. Appeals to imaginability have no more force against this view than they do against the Kripkean view that (...)
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  • Understanding and Essence.Anand Jayprakash Vaidya - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (4):811-833.
    Modal epistemology has been dominated by a focus on establishing an account either of how we have modal knowledge or how we have justified beliefs about modality. One component of this focus has been that necessity and possibility are basic access points for modal reasoning. For example, knowing that P is necessary plays a role in deducing that P is essential, and knowing that both P and ¬P are possible plays a role in knowing that P is accidental. Chalmers (2002) (...)
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  • Philosophical Knowledge and Knowledge of Counterfactuals.Timothy Williamson - 2007 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 74 (1):89-123.
    Metaphysical modalities are definable from counterfactual conditionals, and the epistemology of the former is a special case of the epistemology of the latter. In particular, the role of conceivability and inconceivability in assessing claims of possibility and impossibility can be explained as a special case of the pervasive role of the imagination in assessing counterfactual conditionals, an account of which is sketched. Thus scepticism about metaphysical modality entails a more far-reaching scepticism about counterfactuals. The account is used to question the (...)
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  • The Philosophical Limits of Scientific Essentialism.George Bealer - 1987 - Philosophical Perspectives 1:289-365.
    Scientific essentialism is the view that some necessities can be known only with the aid of empirical science. The thesis of the paper is that scientific essentialism does not extend to the central questions of philosophy and that these questions can be answered a priori. The argument is that the evidence required for the defense of scientific essentialism is reliable only if the intuitions required by philosophy to answer its central questions is also reliable. Included is an outline of a (...)
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  • I *-Armchair Philosophy, Metaphysical Modality and Counterfactual Thinking.Timothy Williamson - 2005 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 105 (1):1-23.
    A striking feature of the traditional armchair method of philosophy is the use of imaginary examples: for instance, of Gettier cases as counterexamples to the justified true belief analysis of knowledge. The use of such examples is often thought to involve some sort of a priori rational intuition, which crude rationalists regard as a virtue and crude empiricists as a vice. It is argued here that, on the contrary, what is involved is simply an application of our general cognitive capacity (...)
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  • Elements, Compounds and Other Chemical Kinds.Robin Findlay Hendry - 2006 - Philosophy of Science 73 (5):864--875.
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  • Modal Knowledge, Counterfactual Knowledge and the Role of Experience.C. S. Jenkins - 2008 - Philosophical Quarterly 58 (233):693-701.
    In recent work Timothy Williamson argues that the epistemology of metaphysical modality is a special case of the epistemology of counterfactuals. I argue that Williamson has not provided an adequate argument for this controversial claim, and that it is not obvious how what he says should be supplemented in order to derive such an argument. But I suggest that an important moral of his discussion survives this point. The moral is that experience could play an epistemic role which is more (...)
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  • Essentialism and Absolute Necessity.Scott Shalkowski - 1997 - Acta Analytica 12 (19):41-56.
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