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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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A Theory of Rational Modality

A Theory of Rational Modality

(p.47) 2 A Theory of Rational Modality
The Rules of Thought

Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa

Benjamin W. Jarvis

Oxford University Press

This chapter develops a theory of rational modality—including rational entailment, possibility, necessity, and impossibility—to complement the theory of Fregean sense. Fregean senses are distinguished from one another by the rational (otherwise called “conceptual” or “epistemic”) possibilities in which they are true, where some of these possibilities are metaphysically impossible. It is suggested that one way to interpret “analytic” necessities and entailments is as rational necessities and entailments. Rational modality is motivated by the rationality version of Frege's puzzle; it can be rational to have a Hesperus mental representation—e.g. Hesperus is visible—without it being rational to have the corresponding Phosphorus mental representation—e.g. Phosphorus is visible—even though Hesperus is Phosphorus. This appearance can easily be accounted for if the concept Hesperus applies in different rational possibilities than the concept Phosphorus does.

Keywords:   rational possibility, conceptual possibility, metaphysical possibility, analyticity, rationality, frege's puzzle

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