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The Two-Dimensional Analysis of Feasibility: A Restatement

  • Renan Silva ORCID logo EMAIL logo


Pablo Gilabert and Holly Lawford-Smith have, both in collaboration and individually, provided a compelling account of feasibility, which states that feasibility is both ‘binary’ and ‘scalar’, and both ‘synchronic’ and ‘diachronic’. This two-dimensional analysis, however, has been the subject of four major criticisms: it has been argued that it rests upon a false distinction between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ constraints, that it ignores the importance of intentional action, and that diachronic feasibility is incoherent and insensitive to the existence of epistemic limitations. In this paper, I will argue that such objections do not undermine the persuasiveness of Gilabert and Lawford-Smith’s analysis. Nevertheless, I will contend that the latter is susceptible to two other challenges. First, it mistakenly appeals to morality, and, second, it lacks an analysis of ability. I will maintain, however, that such criticisms can be addressed and that a revised version of the account should be adopted.


For their very helpful comments, I would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers of this journal. I am also grateful to Laura Brace for her feedback on the original dissertation upon which this article is based. Finally, I would like to thank Veronica Silva, Marcelo Silva and Vanessa Nogueira for their support.


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Published Online: 2019-11-07
Published in Print: 2019-11-18

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