- The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology
- About the Contributors
- What is Philosophical Methodology?
- The Methodology of the History of Philosophy
- Methodology in Nineteenth-and Early Twentieth-Century Analytic Philosophy
- Nineteenth-Century and Early Twentieth-Century Post-Kantian Philosophy
- Logical Empiricism
- Ordinary Language Philosophy
- Wittgenstein’s Global Deflationism
- Philosophical Naturalism
- Method in Analytic Metaphysics
- The Pragmatic Method
- Reflective Equilibrium
- Analytic–Synthetic and A Priori–A Posteriori History
- Philosophical and Conceptual Analysis
- Philosophical Progress
- Conceivability and Possibility
- Philosophical Heuristics and Philosophical Methodology
- Disagreement in Philosophy: Its Epistemic Significance
- Faith and Reason
- Experimental Philosophy
- Transcendental Arguments
- Physics and Method
- Linguistic and Philosophical Methodology
- History of Ideas: A Defense
- The Methodology of Political Theory
- Philosophy and Psychology
- Logic and Philosophical Methodology
- Philosophy of Mathematics: Issues and Methods
- Methods in the Philosophy of Literature and Film
- Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art
- The Methodology of Legal Philosophy
- Critical Philosophy of Race
- Index of Names
Abstract and Keywords
This article examines some philosophical questions about knowledge of modality, including how we determine whether a proposition is necessary or contingent and what procedures to use for recognizing possibility. It maintains that virtually anything is conceivable, and that conceivability is therefore incapable of providing a reliable test for possibility. Whether a conceivable state of affairs is genuinely possible depends on whether it is compatible with the class of necessary truths. But this means that we must have some independent way of recognizing necessity. The article explains that independent access to necessity in terms of the hypothesis that various modal truths constitute an implicit definition of necessity. To a large extent, our knowledge of necessity derives from our grasp of this definition. The article also criticizes Cartesian modal arguments for dualism, and raises an objection to the view that metaphysical necessity can be reductively explained in terms of subjunctive conditionals.
Christopher Hill is the William Herbert Perry Faunce Professor of Philosophy at Brown University. He previously taught at the University of Pittsburgh, Case Western Reserve University, and (for many years) at the University of Arkansas and has been a visiting professor at the University of Michigan as well as MIT.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.