Modalizing Mechanisms


It is widely held that it is unhelpful to model our epistemic access to modal facts on the basis of perception, and postulate the existence of a bodily mechanism attuned to modal features of the world. In this paper I defend modalizing mechanisms. I present and discuss a decision-theoretic model in which agents with severely limited cognitive abilities, at the end of an evolutionary process, have states which encode substantial information about the probabilities with which the outcomes of a certain Bernoulli process occur. Thus, in the model, a process driven by very simple, thoroughly naturalistic mechanisms eventuates in modal sensitivity.

Journal of Philosophy, 112 (12):658-670