Modal epistemology: What justifies modal belief?

Jason Hagen, Purdue University


This thesis offers an answer to the following question and discusses how that answer relates to certain issues in metaphysics: How am I justified in believing noninferentially and a priori that a proposition is metaphysically possible? Standpoints according to which there is no a priori justification for modal beliefs are considered and dismissed. I entertain conceivability-based and intuition-based answers to the question, developing reasons against the former and reasons in favor of the latter. With an intuition-based answer in place, I then illustrate how one would use it to evaluate the epistemic status of modal claims that have metaphysical significance. I concentrate on modal premises that figure in the ontological argument for God's existence and David Chalmers' zombie argument against physicalism.




Bergmann, Purdue University.

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