JA Journal Article       BC Book Chapter      CN Critical Note      BR Book Review      PP Paper in Proceedings   

BC  A priori knowledge and persistent (dis)agreement 
In Beyond Sense? New Essays on the Significance, Grounds, and Extent of the A Priori. 
Dodd, D and Zardini, E. (eds.), OUP
forthcoming
The phenomenon of persistent disagreement is large especially in areas, like Philosophy, where knowledge is typically thought to be a priori. This phenomenon has been taken by some to threaten even the possibility of philosophical knowledge. This paper opposes such a pessimistic diagnostic, but in a qualified manner. By first motivating a non-conformist position on the epistemic significance of disagreement, I defend that knowledge is made no less possible by our awareness of the disagreements. And yet—the qualification goes—the disagreement makes us blind to whether we know. The scope of this diagnosis needs to be properly measured, and this is done, in the second part of the paper, by separation of cases. 

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BC  The Epistemology of Modality
In The Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics
Bliss, R. and Miller, J. (eds.) 
forthcoming
This chapter is on the epistemology of modality. To provide the right context and focus, however, some preliminaries are in order. To start, the term ‘modality’ refers to the phenomenon of necessities and possibilities (as well as related ones such as impossibilities and contingencies) and it can be understood in different senses. In its most general sense, it refers to the variety of different modalities.1 In this chapter, however, our focus will be metaphysical modality and, although I will not make it explicit each time, this is how my use of modal vocabulary should be understood.  

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BC  The Integration Challenge
In the Routledge Handbook of Modality
Bueno, O. and Shalkowski, S. (eds.) 
forthcoming
It is increasingly common to formulate and address epistemological questions in terms of the integration challenge. Roughly, this is the challenge of, for a given domain, providing an epistemology of how we know truths in that domain that is adequate for its metaphysics. In this entry, I identify (and invite reflection on) the elements that might be involved, as requirements to be satisfied, in the integration challenge

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JA Concepts and the epistemology of essence
Dialectica, 23/1-2: 3-29
2019
This paper is an exploration of the prospects of rationalist, concept-based epistemologies of modality as far as essentialist and de re modal claims are concerned. I grant certain explanatory power to such epistemologies but, primarily, I identify their limitations. I first explore them in view of the (possible) existence of general as well as of singular modally loaded concepts and find their explanatory scope severely limited. Inspired by the abstractionist’s concept-and-entitlement based hybrid model, the paper then explores a similarly hybrid strategy. The outcome of this exploration is that, regardless of its explanatory scope, it would be a misnomer to describe such hybrid view as concept-based. The result generalizes. 

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JA Genuine Modal Realism, the Humean thesis, and advanced modalising
Synthese, SI on the Legacy of David Lewis
2019

The paper argues that Lewis' Genuine Modal Realism, in taking the plurality of worlds to be necessarily the way it is, implies the existence of necessary connections of the sort that contradicts the Humean thesis that Lewis endorses. By endorsing, pace Divers, a non-redundancy interpretation of advanced modalizing, we gain the means to exactly state what these connections amount to.

 

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full text in publisher's page in: link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11229-018-1728-5

BC  Rethinking the epistemology of modality for abstracta
In Being Necessary: Themes of ontology and modality form the work of Bob Hale. Fred, I. and Leech, J. (eds.), OUP 
2018
The paper is an exploration of the sort of epistemology available to explain our de re modal knowledge about abstract entitiesThe thesis suggested--in a first approximation to the issue--is somewhat provocative: as modal epistemologists, we don't have much work to do; instead, the work is down to ontologists. The paper first motivates the thesis by relaying on a conception of abstract objects that makes the thesis a rather plausible one. It then considers some potential concerns and concludes that, while their treatment imposes some refinements and qualifications, the thesis stands. 

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BC  Similarity and Possibility: An epistemology of de re possibility for concrete entities
In Modal Epistemology after Rationalism
Fischer, B. and Leon, F. (eds.), Synthese Library 
2017
The paper sketches an epistemology of de re possibility (for concrete entities) centred on the notion of similarity. The proposal is, roughly, that we know about some entities' unrealized possibilities by extrapolation from knowledge about some other, similar entities' realized possibilities. The account is limited, among other things, in that it does not cover knowledge of de re necessities or essentialist knowledge, if we have it. But even if alternative epistemologies could explain that type of knowledge too, the current account is found to best explain the de re possibility knowledge, thereby resisting a potential charge of redundancy

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BC  Rethinking Origin Essentialism (for artefacts)
In Reality Making
Jago, M. (ed.), OUP, Mind Association Occasional Series 
2016
The thesis that material origins of artefacts are essential to them is highly intuitive, but in a flexible version. It is not exact match of material origins that is intuitively essential, but approximate match. After an in-depth exploration of the theoretical options open to accommodate the flexible version, the paper ends up favouring the inflexible one. 

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BC  Introducción a la Modalidad
In Cuestiones de Metafísica 
Prades J.Ll. (ed.), Madrid: Tecnos
2015
This is an introduction to modality, in Spanish, for a volume on Metaphysics which consists of several introductions to different metaphysical topics.

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JA Essentialist Blindness would not preclude counterfactual knowledge
Philosopphia Scientiae, 16/2: 149-172
2012

This paper does two things. First, it defends, against a potential threat to it, the claim that a capacity for essentialist knowledge should not be placed among the core capacities for counterfactual knowledge. Second, it assesses a consequence of that claim—or better: of the discussion by means of which I defend it—in relation to Kment's and Williamson's views on the relation between modality and counterfactuals.

 

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full text in publisher's page in: journals.openedition.org/philosophiascientiae/745

JA Modal knowledge and counterfactual knowledge
Logique et Analyse, 54/216: 537-552
2011

The paper compares the suitability of two different epistemologies of counterfactuals—(EC) and (W)—to elucidate modal knowledge. I argue that, while both of them explain the data on our knowledge of counterfactuals, only (W)—Williamson’s epistemology—is compatible with all counterpossibles being true. This is something on which Williamson’s counterfactual-based account of modal knowledge relies. A first problem is, therefore, that, in the absence of further, disambiguating data, Williamson’s choice of (W) is objectionably biased. A second, deeper problem is that (W) cannot satisfactorily elucidate modal knowledge. Third, from a naturalistic perspective, the nature of this second problem favours (EC) against (W).

 

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published paper not available online. 

JA Conceivability and de re modal knowledge
Noûs, 45/1: 22-49
2011

The paper presents a dilemma for both epistemic and non-epistemic versions of conceivability-based accounts of modal knowledge. On the one horn, non-epistemic accounts do not elucidate the essentialist knowledge they would be committed to. On the other, epistemic accounts do not elucidate everyday life de re modal knowledge. In neither case, therefore, do conceivability accounts elucidate de re modal knowledge.

 

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JA Essentialism vis-à-vis Possibilia, Modal Logic, and Necessitism
Philosophy Compass 6/1: 54-64
2011

Pace Necessitism—roughly, the view that existence is not contingent—essential properties provide necessary conditions for the existence of objects. Sufficiency properties, by contrast, provide sufficient conditions, and individual essences provide necessary and sufficient conditions. This paper explains how these kinds of properties can be used to illuminate the ontological status of merely possible objects and to construct a respectable possibilist ontology. The paper also reviews two points of interaction between essentialism and modal logic. First, we will briefly see the challenge that arises against S4 from flexible essential properties; as well as the moves available to block it. After this, the emphasis is put on the Barcan Formula (BF), and on why it is problematic for essentialists. As we will see, Necessitism can accommodate both (BF) and essential properties. What necessitists cannot do at the same time is to continue to understanding essential properties as providing necessary conditions for the existence of individuals; against what might be for some a truism.

 

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JA Essential Properties and Individual Essences
Philosophy Compass 6/1: 65-77
2011

According to Essentialism, an object’s properties divide into those that are essential and those that are accidental. While being human is commonly thought to be essential to Socrates, being a philosopher plausibly is not. We can motivate the distinction by appealing—as we just did—to examples. However, it is not obvious how best to characterize the notion of essential property, nor is it easy to give conclusive arguments for the essentiality of a given property. In this paper, I elaborate on these issues and explore the way in which essential properties behave in relation to other related properties, like sufficient-for-existence properties and individual essences.

 

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JA Modal epistemology, modal concepts, and the Integration Challenge
Dialectica, 64/3: 335-361
2010

Pace Necessitism—roughly, the view that existence is not contingent—essential properties provide necessary conditions for the existence of objects. Sufficiency properties, by contrast, provide sufficient conditions, and individual essences provide necessary and sufficient conditions. This paper explains how these kinds of properties can be used to illuminate the ontological status of merely possible objects and to construct a respectable possibilist ontology. The paper also reviews two points of interaction between essentialism and modal logic. First, we will briefly see the challenge that arises against S4 from flexible essential properties; as well as the moves available to block it. After this, the emphasis is put on the Barcan Formula (BF), and on why it is problematic for essentialists. As we will see, Necessitism can accommodate both (BF) and essential properties. What necessitists cannot do at the same time is to continue to understanding essential properties as providing necessary conditions for the existence of individuals; against what might be for some a truism.

 

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Philosophical Review 118/2: 266-269
2009

Disclaimer: I say here that “if Sortal Essentialism is false, then surely Necessity of Origin is false as well” (268). For instance, if Socrates could be a dog—Sortal Essentialism being thereby false—then Socrates could have origins different from his actual ones. Such a claim, however, assumes two theses, one of which Mackie is sympathetic to, but the other one of which Mackie would most likely deny. My assuming them is therefore dialectically objectionable. The thesis Mackie is sympathetic to is the thesis that fundamental kinds obey the principle “once an F, always an F” (see chapter 7). The one Mackie would most likely deny, is a thesis according to which there are individuative conditions for origins such that, if x is a human-origin in one world, then x cannot be a dog-origin in another world. I have elaborated more on this here.

 

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ffull text in publisher's page in: philreview.dukejournals.org/cgi/reprint/118/2/266

PP  Mind-Independence and Modal Empiricism
4rth Latin Meeting in Analytic Philosophy: 117-135
2007
The paper focuses on the Epistemic Challenge for mind-independent accounts of modality. The challenge can be formulated as an inconsistency problem among three premises and, therefore, any strategy to meet the challenge will require the negation of (at least) one of its premises. The aim of the paper is not to offer a positive solution to the challenge, but rather to argue for the claim that to follow a hybrid strategy is probably the best way to meet it. With some qualifications, reasons are given as to why empiricism should be the way to meet the challenge as far as de re modality is concerned, whereas rationalism might be the correct way of addressing it for the case of de dicto modality.

 free access to full text in publisher's page in: ftp.informatik.rwth-aachen.de/Publications/CEUR-WS/Vol-278/paper09.pdf

JA Peacocke’s Principle-Based Account of Modality: “Flexibility of Origins” Plus S4
Erkenntnis, 65/3: 405-26
2006

Due to the influence of Nathan Salmon’s views, endorsement of the “flexibility of origins” thesis is often thought to carry a commitment to the denial of S4. This paper rejects the existence of this commitment and examines how Peacocke’s theory of the modal may accommodate flexibility of origins without denying S4. One of the essential features of Peacocke’s account is the identification of the Principles of Possibility, which include the Modal Extension Principle (MEP), and a set of Constitutive Principles. Regarding their modal status, Peacocke argues for the necessity of MEP, but leaves open the possibility that some of the Constitutive Principles be only contingently true. Here, I show that the contingency of the Constitutive Principles is inconsistent with the recursivity of MEP, and this makes the account validate S4. It is also shown that, compatibly with the necessity of the Constitutive Principles, the account can still accommodate intuitions about flexibility of origins. However, the account we end up with once those intuitions are consistently accommodated may not be satisfactory, and this opens up the debate about whether or not artefacts allow for some variation in their origins.

 

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full text in publisher's page in: link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10670-006-9018-x

CN Rohrbaugh and deRosset on the Necessity of Origin (With Ross Cameron)
Mind, 115/458: 361-66
2006

In ‘A New Route to the Necessity of Origin’, Rohbaugh and deRosset offer an argument for the Necessity of Origin appealing neither to Sufficiency of Origin nor to a branching-times model of necessity. What is doing the crucial work in their argument is instead the thesis they name ‘Locality of Prevention’. In this response, we object that their argument is question-begging by showing, first, that the locality of prevention thesis is not strong enough to satisfactorily derive from it the intended conclusion, and, second, that the argument is not sound unless the Necessity of Origin is operating as an implicit premise.

 

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