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Modal Knowledge and Counterfactual Knowledge

Roca-Royes S (2011) Modal Knowledge and Counterfactual Knowledge, Logique et Analyse, 54 (216), pp. 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, neither can subsume modal knowledge. (EC) would be available only to extreme haecceitists. Only (W)—Williamson’s epistemology—is compatible with all counterpossibles being true; something on which Williamson’s account relies. A first problem is that, in the absence of further data for (W) and against (EC), Williamson’s choice of (W) is objectionably biased. A second, deeper problem is that (W) cannot satisfactorily elucidate modal knowledge. Third, from a naturalistic perspective, the nature of this second problem favours (EC) against (W).

Epistemology of Modality; Counterfactuals; Conceivability; Essentialism

AuthorsRoca-Royes Sonia
Publication date2011
PublisherNational Centre for Logical Investigation
ISSN 0024-5836

Logique et Analyse: Volume 54, Issue 216 (2011)

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