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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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Conceivability and Modal Knowledge

Conceivability and Modal Knowledge

(p.271) 13 Conceivability and Modal Knowledge
Essays on a Priori Knowledge and Justification

Albert Casullo

Oxford University Press

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.

Keywords:   metaphysical, modalities, subjunctive, conditional, conceivability, possibility, modal, knowledge, Hill

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