Counterfactuals and Modal Knowledge

Albert Casullo

in Essays on a Priori Knowledge and Justification

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199777860
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933525 | DOI:
Counterfactuals and Modal Knowledge

Show Summary Details


Timothy Williamson offers a reductive account of modal knowledge in terms of knowledge of counterfactual conditionals. The account is developed in a broader context of defending two more general theses regarding the subject matter and methodology of philosophy. My primary focus in this paper is Williamson's account of modal knowledge. I argue (1) that his account of modal knowledge does not support his more general theses regarding the subject matter and methodology of philosophy; (2) that the two central claims of his account of knowledge of counterfactuals are rooted in unsubstantiated empirical assumptions; and (3) that his argument in support of the conclusion that modal knowledge is a special case of counterfactual knowledge rests on three errors: conflating logical reduction and epistemological reduction, a misguided appeal to cognitive economy, and incorrectly locating what needs to be explained by an account of modal knowledge

Keywords: modal; knowledge; counterfactual; conditionals; methodology; reduction; economy; Williamson

Chapter.  7609 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.