Date

2019

Department or Program

Philosophy

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Catherine Wearing

Abstract

In this thesis, I argue that Dominic Gregory (2004) and Stephen Yablo’s (1993) error theoretic accounts provide the most compelling reason to think that the imagination will guide us towards knowledge of possibilities. In the first chapter, I take up both Dominic Gregory’s (2004) and Stephen Yablo’s (1993) error theoretic accounts. The error theoretic view picks out a specific sense of imagining as that which will justify our modal beliefs. First, I argue that both Gregory and Yablo’s accounts are epistemically circular and in need of revision. I proceed to argue that after revision, both accounts provide tenable error theoretic reason to think that the imagination will guide us towards knowledge of possibilities.

In the second chapter, I present Peter Kung (2010) and Dominic Gregory’s (2019) imagistic accounts. Contra the error theoretic view, the imagistic position holds that there is something about the imagistic medium of certain imaginings that makes them suitable guides to knowledge of possibilities. In the third chapter, I investigate two cases which probe the adequacy of the various accounts I have examined. While each of the accounts provide a successful evaluation of these cases, it turns out that they all rely on the same error theoretic move in order to do so. The error theoretic accounts predictably offer the strongest defense of that move. Since these cases probe how the imagination fares as a modal epistemological tool and the error theoretic accounts offer the strongest evaluations of them, we have reason to think that those accounts are best equipped to guide us towards knowledge of possibilities.

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