1st Edition

Epistemology of Modality and Philosophical Methodology

Edited By Anand Vaidya, Duško Prelević Copyright 2023

    This book collects original essays on the epistemology of modality and related issues in modal metaphysics and philosophical methodology.

    The contributors utilize both the newer "metaphysics-first" and the more traditional "epistemology-first" approaches to these issues. The chapters on modal epistemology mostly focus on the problem of how we can gain knowledge of possibilities, which have never been actualized, or necessities which are not provable either by logico-mathematical reasoning or by linguistic competence alone. These issues are closely related to some of the central issues in philosophical methodology, notably: to what extent is the armchair methodology of philosophy a reliable guide for the formation of beliefs about what is possible and necessary. This question also relates to the nature of thought experiments that are extensively used in science and philosophy.

    Epistemology of Modality and Philosophical Methodology will be of interest to researchers and advanced students working on the epistemology and metaphysics of modality, as well as those whose work is concerned with philosophical methodology more generally.

    1. Modality, Worlds, Essence, and Modal Knowledge Boris Kment 

    2. An Agency-Based Epistemology of Modality Barbara Vetter 

    3. The Price of Sensitivity Rebecca Hanrahan 

    4. Modal Epistemology for Modalists Otavio Bueno and Scott Shalkowski 

    5. How (Meta-)Semantics Defuses Modal Pessimism Christian Nimtz 

    6. How Things Might Have to Be Nathan Salmon 

    7. In Search of a Structurally Complete Epistemology of Essence Michael Wallner 

    8. Morals and Modals: Riddles of the Vidhi Liṅ Arindam Chakrabarti and Ian Nicolay 

    9. The Explanatory Power of Modal Rationalism Duško Prelević 

    10. Response to Prelević Sonia Roca Royes 

    11. Reviving the Modal Account of Essence Rebecca Chan 

    12. Response to Chan Sanna Mattila 

    13. Modal Knowledge and Modal Methodology Amie Thomasson and Theodore Locke 

    14. Response to Thomasson and Locke Antonella Mallozzi 

    15. Gettier’s Thought Experiment Joachim Horvath 

    16. Response to Horvath Timothy Williamson 

    17. In Defense of Modest Modal Skepticism Edouard Machery 

    18. Response to Machery Margot Strohminger and Juhani Yli-Vakkuri


    Anand Jayprakash Vaidya is Professor of Philosophy at San Jose State University, USA. His research focuses on epistemology and philosophy of mind. For 25 years he has worked on the epistemology of modality and how it relates to problems in the philosophy of mind, such as the nature of consciousness.

    Duško Prelević is Associate Professor at Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, Serbia. His research focuses on the epistemology of modality, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics. For 13 years he has critically examined various aspects of physicalist research programme and modal rationalist account of our modal knowledge.

    "This is an excellent collection of cutting-edge research in the epistemology of modality and philosophical methodology. It takes the next step forward in an exciting and fundamental research programme in philosophy."

    David Efird, University of York, UK