1 de setembro de 2011

On the Epistemology of Essence

2011-12: Session 1
Sonia Roca Royes(University of Stirling)
On the Epistemology of Essence
9 de Setembro de 2011, 16:00
Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa
Sala Mattos Romão (departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract. There are several strategies to defend rationalism in modality. Among them, a salient option is the family of views—which I shall call ‘concept-based epistemologies of modality’—according to which modal knowledge is a priori because fundamentally analytic or conceptual. A first, pessimistic diagnosis about them is that, although they might have
sufficient potential to elucidate de dicto modal knowledge, they are not adequate as an elucidation of de re modal knowledge; the ultimate reasons for this being that they fail to elucidate the knowability conditions of essential truths. This brings me, specifically, to the epistemology of essence. In this paper, however, I shall qualify the diagnosis above.
First, it will appear (§2) that some concept-based epistemologies of modality can elucidate certain kind of (de re) essentialist principles. Second (§3), there might be domains such that knowledge of de dicto essential truths in that domain and knowledge of de re essential truths in that domain are not isolatable. As a result, if there are indeed such domains, and to the extent that concept-based accounts are fine as far as de dicto modal knowledge is concerned, these accounts will be able to elucidate de re modal knowledge for those domains. After scrutiny, however, these qualifications do not substantially improve the prospects of concept-based epistemologies if modality.

Admission Free

Sponsored by: Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Faculdade de Letras
da Universidade de Lisboa
For further information, please contact:
Professor João Branquinho
Department of Philosophy, Faculdade de Letras
Universidade de Lisboa
Alameda da Universidade
1600-214 Lisboa
Telephone +(351)217920000
Fax +(351)217920063
Webpage: http://www.joaobranquinho.com
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