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Philosophy Within Its Proper Bounds$
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Edouard Machery

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198807520

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198807520.001.0001

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Modal Ignorance and the Limits of Philosophy

Modal Ignorance and the Limits of Philosophy

(p.185) 6 Modal Ignorance and the Limits of Philosophy
Philosophy Within Its Proper Bounds

Edouard Machery

Oxford University Press

Chapter 6 examines the implications of Unreliability, Dogmatism, and Parochialism for modally immodest philosophizing (that is, philosophizing that requires knowledge of metaphysical necessities): Modally immodest issues should be dismissed and philosophy reoriented. Alternatives to the method of cases are critically examined: We cannot gain the required modal knowledge by relying on intuition, by analyzing the meaning of philosophically significant words, and by appealing to alleged theoretical virtues like simplicity, generality, and elegance to choose between philosophical views. Alternative conceptions of philosophy are too deflationary to be satisfying, particularly because there is much philosophizing left once philosophy is reoriented.

Keywords:   metaphysical necessity, modal skepticism, reduction, intuition, meaning, conceptual competence, analyticity, theoretical virtues, simplicity, modeling

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