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Robert Michels
Università Della Svizzera Italiana
  1.  43
    Husserlian Eidetic Variation and Objectual Understanding as a Basis for an Epistemology of Essence.Robert Michels - 2020 - Logos and Episteme: An International Journal of Epistemology 3 (11):333-353.
    Vaidya has recently argued that while Husserl’s method for acquiring knowledge of essence through use of our imagination is subject to a vicious epistemic circle, we can still use the method to successfully attain objectual understanding of essence. In this paper, I argue that the Husserlian objectual understanding-based epistemology envisaged by Vaidya suffers from a similar epistemic circularity as its knowledge-based foil. I argue that there is a straight-forward solution to this problem, but then raise three serious problems for an (...)
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  2.  30
    The Modal Status of the Laws of Nature. Tahko's Hybrid View and the Kinematical/Dynamical Distinction.Salim Hirèche, Niels Linnemann, Robert Michels & Lisa Vogt - forthcoming - European Journal for Philosophy of Science.
    In a recent paper, Tuomas Tahko has argued for a hybrid view of the laws of nature, according to which some physical laws are metaphysically necessary, while others are metaphysically contingent. In this paper, we show that his criterion for distinguishing between these two kinds of laws --- which crucially relies on the essences of natural kinds --- is on its own unsatisfactory. We then propose an alternative way of drawing the metaphysically necessary/contingent distinction for laws of physics based on (...)
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  3. Correct Conceivability and its Role in the Epistemology of Modality.Robert Michels - 2020 - Les Principes Métaphysiques.
    The starting point of this paper is an argument to the conclusion that the definition of metaphysical possibility in terms of correct conceivability, conceivability informed by knowledge of relevant essences, found in Rosen (2006) is equivalent to a version of the essentialist definition of metaphysical necessity. This argument appears to show that correct conceivability is a notion of conceivability by name only and is therefore of no interest to epistemologists of modality. In this paper, I present the equivalence argument, explain (...)
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  4. On How (Not) to Define Modality in Terms of Essence.Robert Michels - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (4):1015-1033.
    In his influential article ‘Essence and Modality’, Fine proposes a definition of necessity in terms of the primitive essentialist notion ‘true in virtue of the nature of’. Fine’s proposal is suggestive, but it admits of different interpretations, leaving it unsettled what the precise formulation of an Essentialist definition of necessity should be. In this paper, four different versions of the definition are discussed: a singular, a plural reading, and an existential variant of Fine’s original suggestion and an alternative version proposed (...)
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  5.  61
    The Limits of Non-Standard Contingency.Robert Michels - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (2):533-558.
    Gideon Rosen has recently sketched an argument which aims to establish that the notion of metaphysical modality is systematically ambiguous. His argument contains a crucial sub-argument which has been used to argue for Metaphysical Contingentism, the view that some claims of fundamental metaphysics are metaphysically contingent rather than necessary. In this paper, Rosen’s argument is explicated in detail and it is argued that the most straight-forward reconstruction fails to support its intended conclusion. Two possible ways to save the argument are (...)
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  6. Soames’s Argument 1 Against Strong Two-Dimensionalism.Robert Michels - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 161 (3):403-420.
    This paper criticizes Soames’s main argument against a variant of two-dimensionalism that he calls strong two-dimensionalism. The idea of Soames’s argument is to show that the strong two-dimensionalist’s semantics for belief ascriptions delivers wrong semantic verdicts about certain complex modal sentences that contain both such ascriptions and claims about the truth of the ascribed beliefs. A closer look at the formal semantics underlying strong two-dimensionalism reveals that there are two feasible ways of specifying the truth conditions for claims of the (...)
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  7.  77
    Essential Truths and Their Truth-Grounds.Robert Michels - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5:790-815.
    This paper motivates and defends a principle which captures a systematic connection between essence, truth, and grounding. It says that if a proposition expresses an essential truth, i.e., if it is true in virtue of the nature of some objects, then there are grounds for its truth which involve these objects. Together with the assumption that a fact can only be grounded in facts which are relevant to it, this principle is then applied in an argument against the monotonicity of (...)
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  8.  61
    Cross-World Comparatives for Modal Realists.Robert Michels - 2018 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 25 (3):368-391.
    Divers (2014) argues that a Lewisian theory of modality which includes both counterpart theory and modal realism cannot account for the truth of certain intuitively true modal sentences involving cross-world comparatives. The main purpose of this paper is to defend the Lewisian theory against Divers’s challenge by developing a response strategy based on a degree-theoretic treatment of comparatives and by showing that this treatment is compatible with the theory.
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