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The Rules of Thought$
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Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa and Benjamin W. Jarvis

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199661800

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199661800.001.0001

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Rational Imagination and Modal Epistemology

Rational Imagination and Modal Epistemology

(p.231) 10 Rational Imagination and Modal Epistemology
The Rules of Thought

Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa

Benjamin W. Jarvis

Oxford University Press

This chapter develops a moderate modal rationalism. According to this moderate modal rationalism, knowledge of metaphysical possibility and necessity is available through sensitivity to the rational entailment relations between propositions. The imagination can be used to explore these rational entailment relations so as to discover whether a proposition is “conceivable” in the sense that it does not rationally entail a rational absurdity. Some metaphysically impossible propositions are conceivable in this way, but their metaphysical impossibility can be discovered nonetheless by noticing that they rationally entail some proposition about the actual world that is, in fact, false.

Keywords:   modal epistemology, modal knowledge, metaphysical possibility, metaphysical necessity, modal rationalism, imagination, conceivability

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