Assertions about metaphysical modality (hereafter modality) play central roles in philosophical theorizing. For example, when philosophers propose hypothetical counterexamples, they often are making a claim to the effect that some state of affairs is possible. Getting the epistemology of modality right is thus important. Debates have been preoccupied with assessing whether imaginability—or conceivability, insofar as it’s different—is a guide to possibility, or whether it is rather intuitions of possibility—and modal intuitions more generally—that are evidence for possibility (modal) claims. The dissertation argues that the imagination plays a subtler role than the first view recognizes, and a more central one than the second view does. In particular, it defends an epistemology of metaphysical modality on which someone can acquire modal knowledge in virtue of having performed certain complex imaginative exercises.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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