Combining Philosophers

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

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3 ideas

10. Modality / B. Possibility / 1. Possibility
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.
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!
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?