16 research outputs found

    Knowledge and Modality

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    Conceivability and Modal Knowledge

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    Christopher Hill contends that the metaphysical modalities can be reductively explained in terms of the subjunctive conditional and that this reductive explanation yields two tests for determining the metaphysical modality of a proposition. He goes on to argue that his reductive account of the metaphysical modalities in conjunction with his account of modal knowledge underwrites the further conclusion that conceivability does not provide a reliable test for metaphysical possibility. I argue (1) that Hill’s reductive explanation of the metaphysical modalities in terms of the subjunctive conditional does not yield a reductive explanation of knowledge of metaphysical modality in terms of knowledge of subjunctive conditionals, and (2) that his account of modal knowledge is at odds with his contention that conceivability does not provide epistemic access to metaphysical possibility

    The Coherence of Empiricism

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    Rationalists often argue that empiricism is incoherent and conclude, on that basis, that some knowledge is a priori. I contend that such arguments against empiricism cannot be parlayed into an argument in support of the a priori since rationalism is open to the same arguments. I go on to offer an alternative strategy. The leading idea is that, instead of offering a priori arguments against empiricism, rationalists should marshal empirical support for their position

    Essence and Explanation

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    In Necessary Beings, Bob Hale addresses two questions: What is the source of necessity? What is the source of our knowledge of it? He offers novel responses to them in terms of the metaphysical notion of nature or, more familiarly, essence. In this paper, I address Hale’s response to the first question. My assessment is negative. I argue that his essentialist explanation of the source of necessity suffers from three significant shortcomings. First, Hale’s leading example of an essentialist explanation merely asserts that the nature of an entity explains some necessity, but leaves unexplained how it does so. Second, his essentialist explanation of particular necessities introduces new necessities that remain unexplained. Third, Hale’s version of essentialism presupposes a controversial metaphysical theory of properties, for which he offers no defense

    Knowledge, A Priori

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    Intuition, Thought Experiments, and the A Priori

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    Conhecimento a priori

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    Articulating the A Priori-A Posteriori Distinction

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    Pollock and Sturgeon on defeaters

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    Scott Sturgeon has recently challenged Pollock’s account of undercutting defeaters. The challenge involves three primary contentions: (1) the account is both too strong and too weak, (2) undercutting defeaters exercise their power to defeat only in conjunction with higher-order beliefs about the basis of the lower-order beliefs whose justification they target, and (3) since rebutting defeaters exercise their power to defeat in isolation, rebutting and undercutting defeaters work in fundamentally different ways. My goal is to reject each of these contentions. I maintain that (1) Sturgeon fails to show that Pollock’s account of undercutting defeaters is either too strong or too weak, (2) his own account of how undercutting defeaters exercise their power to defeat is both too strong and too weak, and (3) his claim that rebutting and undercutting defeaters work in fundamentally different ways is mistaken
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