Pragmatic Arguments

Michael C. Rea

in World Without Design

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780199247608
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601804 | DOI:
Pragmatic Arguments

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Some philosophers think that the presupposition that there are intrinsic modal properties can be justified on pragmatic grounds; and some also think that, in light of this presupposition, we are justified in thinking that the properties that science takes as definitive of various natural kinds are essential to the things that have them. Argues that this way of explaining how we might be justified in attributing particular intrinsic modal properties to material objects is unsuccessful. Even if it is true that we have pragmatic justification for believing in intrinsic modal properties, it does not follow that we have epistemic justification for believing in them. The author goes on to note that, though one might argue for the conclusion that, for naturalists anyway, pragmatic considerations do confer epistemic justification upon our beliefs, the argument will be cogent only under theistic or anti‐realist assumptions. Theism is an unwelcome alternative for most naturalists; and to concede that naturalists must be anti‐realists is to concede one of the main conclusions that the author aims to defend.

Keywords: Aristotelian essence; Elder; epistemic; pragmatic; truth

Chapter.  12995 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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