© 2017

Modal Epistemology After Rationalism

  • Bob Fischer
  • Felipe Leon
  • Represents a broad range of positions on the sources of modal knowledge, highlighting the new trend toward empiricism in modal epistemology

  • Features essays that explore candidate empirical sources and marks the trend toward away from modal rationalism and toward modal empiricism

  • Shows that the basic element in empirical sources of modal knowledge is an inference from the actual to the possible


Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 378)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vi
  2. Bob Fischer, Felipe Leon
    Pages 1-6
  3. Daniel Nolan
    Pages 7-27
  4. Tuomas E. Tahko
    Pages 29-45
  5. Scott A. Shalkowski
    Pages 47-66
  6. Anand Jayprakash Vaidya
    Pages 85-114
  7. Joshua Rasmussen
    Pages 115-132
  8. Rebecca Hanrahan
    Pages 197-219
  9. Felipe Leon
    Pages 247-261

About this book


This collection highlights the new trend away from rationalism and toward empiricism in the epistemology of modality. Accordingly, the book represents a wide range of positions on the empirical sources of modal knowledge. Readers will find an introduction that surveys the field and provides a brief overview of the work, which progresses from empirically-sensitive rationalist accounts to fully empiricist accounts of modal knowledge. Early chapters focus on challenges to rationalist theories, essence-based approaches to modal knowledge, and the prospects for naturalizing modal epistemology. The middle chapters present positive accounts that reject rationalism, but which stop short of advocating exclusive appeal to empirical sources of modal knowledge. The final chapters mark a transition toward exclusive reliance on empirical sources of modal knowledge. They explore ways of making similarity-based, analogical, inductive, and abductive arguments for modal claims based on empirical information. Modal epistemology is coming into its own as a field, and this book has the potential to anchor a new research agenda.


epistemology of modality metaphilosophy modal empiricism modal knowledge modal rationalism thought experiments

Editors and affiliations

  • Bob Fischer
    • 1
  • Felipe Leon
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyTexas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA
  2. 2.Behavioral and Social Sciences DivisionEl Camino CollegeTorranceUSA

About the editors

Bob Fischer is an assistant professor of philosophy at Texas State University. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago and works on problems in modal epistemology and applied ethics. He is co-editor of The Moral Complexities of Eating Meat (Oxford University Press, 2015), editor of College Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2016), and author of Modal Justification via Theories (Springer, forthcoming). 

Felipe Leon is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at El Camino College. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside. He works primarily on issues in metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of religion. His current research focuses on the nature and scope of modal knowledge and its implications for philosophy of religion. His publications include “Why Frankfurt-Examples Don’t Need to Succeed to Succeed” (with Neal Tognazzini. Philosophy & Phenomenological Research 80:3, 20, “Moreland on the Impossibility of Traversing the Infinite: A Critique” (Philo 14:1, 2012), 10), and The Modal-Knowno Problem” (with Robert William Fischer. Southwest Philosophy Review, forthcoming).

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Modal Epistemology After Rationalism
  • Editors Bob Fischer
    Felipe Leon
  • Series Title Synthese Library
  • Series Abbreviated Title Synthese Library
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-44307-2
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-83036-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-44309-6
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages VI, 308
  • Number of Illustrations 4 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Epistemology
  • Buy this book on publisher's site