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The Architecture of the ImaginationNew Essays on Pretence, Possibility, and Fiction$
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Shaun Nichols

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199275731

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199275731.001.0001

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Modality, Modal Epistemology, and the Metaphysics of Consciousness

Modality, Modal Epistemology, and the Metaphysics of Consciousness

Chapter:
(p.205) 11 Modality, Modal Epistemology, and the Metaphysics of Consciousness
Source:
The Architecture of the Imagination
Author(s):

Christopher S. Hill

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199275731.003.0011

Cartesian modal arguments for property dualism presuppose that facts about the essential natures of pain and other qualitative properties can be grasped a priori by merely conceiving of them or imagining them. This chapter argues that this presupposition fails. It then proposes a theory of metaphysical necessity that in effect reduces it to the subjunctive conditional — to say that it is metaphysically necessary that p, it claims, is equivalent to saying that p would be the case no matter what else was the case. Using this theory of metaphysical necessity as a foundation, the chapter gives an account of how claims concerning metaphysical necessity can be known to be true. This account allows that such claims can, in many cases, be known a priori, but it implies that in many other cases, our grasp of them is a posteriori. The account sustains the criticisms of Cartesian modal arguments offered in the early sections of the chapter.

Keywords:   Cartesian modal arguments, property dualism, qualia, conceivability, imaginability, metaphysical necessity, metaphysical possibility, subjunctive conditional, possible worlds, knowledge of necessity

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