Rational Imagination and Modal Knowledge
Article first published online: 20 JAN 2011
© 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 46, Issue 1, pages 127–158, February 2012
How to Cite
Ichikawa, J. and Jarvis, B. (2012), Rational Imagination and Modal Knowledge. Noûs, 46: 127–158. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0068.2010.00811.x
- Issue published online: 28 FEB 2012
- Article first published online: 20 JAN 2011
How do we know what's (metaphysically) possible and impossible? Arguments from Kripke and Putnam suggest that possibility is not merely a matter of (coherent) conceivability/imaginability. For example, we can coherently imagine that Hesperus and Phosphorus are distinct objects even though they are not possibly distinct. Despite this apparent problem, we suggest, nevertheless, that imagination plays an important role in an adequate modal epistemology. When we discover what is possible or what is impossible, we generally exploit important connections between what is possible and what we can coherently imagine. We can often come to knowledge of metaphysical modality a priori.