Naturalised Modal Epistemology

  • Daniel NolanEmail author
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 378)


The metaphysics of necessity and possibility has flourished in the last half-century, but much less attention has been paid to the question of how we know what can be the case and what must be the case. Many friends of modal metaphysics and many enemies of modal metaphysics have agreed that while empirical discoveries can tell us what is the case, they cannot shed much light on what must be the case or on what non-actual possibilities there are. In this paper, in contrast, I discuss and defend naturalistic approaches to discovering the facts about necessity and possibility. After some remarks about what methodological naturalism in philosophy might amount to, I argue that naturalistic method in modal investigations may not need to be particularly revisionary of much of what is currently being done in modal investigation. I then discuss a number of respects in which a naturalistic orientation in modal investigation may improve on our current epistemic situation.


True Belief Modal Opinion Analytic Truth Modal Inquiry Reflective Equilibrium 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyThe University of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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