Modality and Explanatory Reasoning by Boris KmentModality and Explanatory Reasoning by Boris Kment

Modality and Explanatory Reasoning

byBoris Kment

Paperback | April 15, 2017

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Since the ground-breaking work of Saul Kripke, David Lewis, and others in the 1960s and 70s, one dominant interest of analytic philosophers has been in modal truths, which concerns the questions of what is possible and what is necessary. However, there is considerable controversy over thesource and nature of necessity. In Modality and Explanatory Reasoning, Boris Kment takes a novel approach to the study of modality that places special emphasis on understanding the origin of modal notions in everyday thought. Kment argues that the concepts of necessity and possibility originate in a common type of thought experiment - counterfactual reasoning - that allows us to investigate explanatory connections. This procedure is closely related to the controlled experiments of empirical science. Necessity is definedin terms of causation and other forms of explanation such as grounding, the relation that connects metaphysically fundamental facts to non-fundamental ones. Therefore, contrary to a widespread view, explanation is more fundamental than modality. The study of modal facts is important for philosophy,not because these facts are of much metaphysical interest in their own right, but because they provide evidence about explanatory relationships. In the course of developing this position, the book offers new accounts of possible worlds, counterfactual conditionals, essential truths and their role in grounding, and a novel theory of how counterfactuals relate to causation and explanation.
Boris Kment received a BPhil from Oxford University and a PhD in philosophy from Princeton University, and has taught at the University of Michigan. He is currently assistant professor at Princeton. His main interests lie in metaphysics and epistemology and include modality, conditionals, essence, causation, explanation, and the metaph...
Title:Modality and Explanatory ReasoningFormat:PaperbackDimensions:384 pagesPublished:April 15, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198803176

ISBN - 13:9780198803171

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Table of Contents

1. Synopsis2. The Nature of Modality3. Absolute Necessity and Iterated Modality4. On the Contingency of Worlds5. A Theory of Worlds6. Essence, Laws, and Explanation7. Metaphysical and Nomic Necessity8. Standards of Closeness9. Clarifications, Additions, and Objections10. Causation, Nomic Determination, and the Counterfactual Test11. On the Genealogy of Modality12. Extensions and Limitations of the Counterfactual TestReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"[an] intricate and exhilarating book . . ." --Richard Baron, Philosophy Now