Knowledge of objective modality

Journal article


Strohminger, Margot and Yli-Vakkuri, Juhani. (2019). Knowledge of objective modality. Philosophical Studies. 176(5), pp. 1155 - 1175. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-018-1052-4
AuthorsStrohminger, Margot and Yli-Vakkuri, Juhani
Abstract

The epistemology of modality has focused on metaphysical modality and, more recently, counterfactual conditionals. Knowledge of kinds of modality that are not metaphysical has so far gone largely unexplored. Yet other theoretically interesting kinds of modality, such as nomic, practical, and ‘easy’ possibility, are no less puzzling epistemologically. Could Clinton easily have won the 2016 presidential election—was it an easy possibility? Given that she didn’t in fact win the election, how, if at all, can we know whether she easily could have? This paper investigates the epistemology of the broad category of ‘objective’ modality, of which metaphysical modality is a special, limiting case. It argues that the same cognitive mechanisms that are capable of producing knowledge of metaphysical modality are also capable of producing knowledge of all other objective modalities. This conclusion can be used to explain the roles of counterfactual reasoning and the imagination in the epistemology of objective modality.

Keywordsepistemology of modality; modality; metaphysical necessity; conceivability and possibility; counterfactuals; imagination
Year2019
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Journal citation176 (5), pp. 1155 - 1175
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
ISSN0031-8116
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-018-1052-4
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85042597102
Page range1155 - 1175
Research GroupDianoia Institute of Philosophy
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationNetherlands
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