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Philosophical Methodology in Modal Epistemology

30 January 2012


This paper examines the legitimacy of two common methodologies within philosophy: thought experiments and conceptual analysis. In particular, I examine the uses to which these two methodologies have been put within modal epistemology. I argue that, although both methods can be used to reveal conditional essentialist claims (e.g. necessarily: if x is water, then x is H20), neither can be used to reveal the de re essentialists claims (e.g. x is water and x is essentially H20) they’re often taken to reveal.


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