Res Philosophica

Volume 97, Issue 4, October 2020

Tom Schoonen
Pages 639-659

The Problem of Modally Bad Company

A particular family of imagination-based epistemologies of possibility promises to provide an account that overcomes problems raised by Kripkean a posteriori impossibilities. That is, they maintain that imagination plays a significant role in the epistemology of possibility. They claim that imagination consists of both linguistic and qualitative content, where the linguistic content is independently verified not to give rise to any impossibilities in the epistemically significant uses of imagination. However, I will argue that these accounts fail to provide a satisfactory basis for an epistemology of possibility as they fall victim to, what I call, the problem of modally bad company. In particular, I will argue that there is a deep methodological problem that these accounts face: to deliver the significant epistemology of possibility that they promise, they have to rely on problematic prior knowledge of necessities.