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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

(p.205) 11 Modality, Modal Epistemology, and the Metaphysics of Consciousness
The Architecture of the Imagination

Christopher S. Hill

Oxford University Press

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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