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I asked a similar question a few years ago, but I have never found an answer. In philosophy, people often debate about whether an entity or state of affairs is conceivable. One example is philosophical zombies, but there are others, such as unicorns or fairies. These debates seem to go nowhere, and I think it is because there is no good formal definition of conceivable. So, my question is, has anyone ever given a rigorous and formal definition (or at least a clarification of the term) of conceivable, and if so, can someone direct me to such a book or paper? I recently asked what the definition of intension was, and I got a satisfactory response when I saw that other people have been thinking about these things. I am sure I am not the first one to wonder about a definition of conceivable.

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  • plato.stanford.edu/entries/concepts is a good start. But "conceivable" is supposed to mean "describable without contradiction." Sep 24 '20 at 19:19
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    I do not think that the problem is with the definition of conceivability. One can give cogent definitions of it (there is no "rigorous and formal" in philosophy, or even in science), it is something like conceptual coherence. The issue in arguments is with the degree to which "conceivability implies possibility". That is intractably controversial. Some believe that conceivability is a "good guide" to possibility (in this or that area), and others do not, everybody agrees that it is fallible, i.e. invalid generally, see SEP.
    – Conifold
    Sep 24 '20 at 19:31

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