Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Barry Smith, E.J. Lowe and Rosalind Hursthouse

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3 ideas

10. Modality / B. Possibility / 1. Possibility
The metaphysically possible is what acceptable principles and categories will permit [Lowe]
     Full Idea: What is 'metaphysically' possible hinges …on the question of whether acceptable metaphysical principles and categories permit the existence of some state of affairs.
     From: E.J. Lowe (The Possibility of Metaphysics [1998], 1.3)
     A reaction: Lowe breezes along with confident assertions like this. I once heard Kit Fine tease him for over-confidence. All you do is work out 'acceptable' principles and categories, and you've cracked it!
It is impossible to reach a valid false conclusion from true premises, so reason itself depends on possibility [Lowe]
     Full Idea: Reasoning itself depends upon a grasp of possibilities, because a valid argument is one in which it is not possible for the conclusion to be false if the premises are true.
     From: E.J. Lowe (A Survey of Metaphysics [2002], p.11)
     A reaction: A very valuable corrective to my pessimistic view of philosophers' attempts to understand metaphysical necessity. But if we can only grasp natural necessity, then all reason is naturalistic.
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 2. Epistemic possibility
'Epistemic' necessity is better called 'certainty' [Lowe]
     Full Idea: 'Epistemic' necessity is more properly to be called 'certainty'.
     From: E.J. Lowe (What is the Source of Knowledge of Modal Truths? [2013], 1)
     A reaction: Sounds wrong. Surely I can be totally certain of a contingent truth?