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Essays on a Priori Knowledge and JustificationEssays$
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Albert Casullo

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199777860

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199777860.001.0001

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Counterfactuals and Modal Knowledge

Counterfactuals and Modal Knowledge

(p.251) 12 Counterfactuals and Modal Knowledge
Essays on a Priori Knowledge and Justification

Albert Casullo

Oxford University Press

Timothy Williamson offers a reductive account of modal knowledge in terms of knowledge of counterfactual conditionals. The account is developed in a broader context of defending two more general theses regarding the subject matter and methodology of philosophy. My primary focus in this paper is Williamson's account of modal knowledge. I argue (1) that his account of modal knowledge does not support his more general theses regarding the subject matter and methodology of philosophy; (2) that the two central claims of his account of knowledge of counterfactuals are rooted in unsubstantiated empirical assumptions; and (3) that his argument in support of the conclusion that modal knowledge is a special case of counterfactual knowledge rests on three errors: conflating logical reduction and epistemological reduction, a misguided appeal to cognitive economy, and incorrectly locating what needs to be explained by an account of modal knowledge

Keywords:   modal, knowledge, counterfactual, conditionals, methodology, reduction, economy, Williamson

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