Modality

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  1. Free Will Is No Defense.Simon Cushing - manuscript
    Why Plantinga's updated (2009) version of the Free Will Defense does not work, and consequently the Logical Argument From Evil against the God of Theism is undefeated.
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  2. A linguistic framework for knowledge, belief, and veridicality judgement.Anastasia Giannakidou & Alda Mari - manuscript
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  3. Précis zu: Agents' Abilities.Romy Jaster - 2020 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 74 (3):443-447.
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  4. Fähigkeiten und Dispositionen (Draft).Romy Jaster - manuscript
    In diesem Aufsatz argumentiere ich für eine teleologische Fähigkeitstheorie, derzufolge Fähigkeiten Dispositionen zu zweckmäßigem Handeln sind.
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  5. Philosophy Within Its Proper Bounds by Édouard Machery. [REVIEW]Jonathan Lewis - 2018 - Metapsychology 22 (48).
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  6. Facts in logical space: A tractarian ontology Jason Turner oxford: Oxford university press, 2016; 362 pp.; $85.00. [REVIEW]John Beverley - 2018 - Dialogue 57 (3):637-639.
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  7. A Less Simplistic Metaphysics: Peirce’s Layered Theory of Meaning as a Layered Theory of Being.Marc Champagne - 2015 - Sign Systems Studies 43 (4):523–552.
    This article builds on C. S. Peirce’s suggestive blueprint for an inclusive outlook that grants reality to his three categories. Moving away from the usual focus on (contentious) cosmological forces, I use a modal principle to partition various ontological layers: regular sign-action (like coded language) subsumes actual sign-action (like here-and-now events) which in turn subsumes possible sign-action (like qualities related to whatever would be similar to them). Once we realize that the triadic sign’s components are each answerable to this asymmetric (...)
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  8. What a Structuralist Theory of Properties Could Not Be.Nora Berenstain - 2016 - In Anna Marmodoro & David Yates (ed.), The Metaphysics of Relations. OUP. Oxford University Press.
    Causal structuralism is the view that, for each natural, non-mathematical, non-Cambridge property, there is a causal profile that exhausts its individual essence. On this view, having a property’s causal profile is both necessary and sufficient for being that property. It is generally contrasted with the Humean or quidditistic view of properties, which states that having a property’s causal profile is neither necessary nor sufficient for being that property, and with the double-aspect view, which states that causal profile is necessary but (...)
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  9. Modality and Explanatory Reasoning.Boris Christian Kment - 2014 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    Boris Kment takes a new approach to the study of modality that emphasises the origin of modal notions in everyday thought. He argues that the concepts of necessity and possibility originate in counterfactual reasoning, which allows us to investigate explanatory connections. Contrary to accepted views, explanation is more fundamental than modality.
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  10. Modality and Function: Reply to Nanay.Osamu Kiritani - 2011 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 32 (2):89-90.
    This paper replies to Nanay’s response to my recent paper. My suggestions are the following. First, “should” or “ought” does not need to be deontic. Second, etiological theories of function, like provability logic, do not need to attribute modal force to their explanans. Third, the explanans of the homological account of trait type individuation does not appeal to a trait’s etiological function, that is, what a trait should or ought to do. Finally, my reference to Cummins’s notion of function was (...)
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  11. Function and Modality.Osamu Kiritani - 2011 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 32 (1):1-4.
    Naturalistic teleological accounts of mental content rely on an etiological theory of function. Nanay has raised a new objection to an etiological theory, and proposed an alternative theory of function that attributes modal force to claims about function. The aim of this paper is both to defend and to cast a new light on an etiological theory of function. I argue against Nanay’s “trait type individuation objection,” suggesting that an etiological theory also attributes modal force to claims about function. An (...)
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  12. Can there be necessary connections between successive events?Nicholas Maxwell - 1968 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 19 (1):1-25.
    THE aim of this paper is to refute Hume's contention that there cannot be logically necessary connections between successive events. I intend to establish, in other words, not 'Logically necessary connections do exist between successive events', but instead the rather more modest proposition: 'It may be, it is possible, as far as we can ever know for certain, that logically necessary connections do exist between successive events.' Towards the end of the paper I shall say something about the implications of (...)
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  13. Spinoza's Essentialist Model of Causation.Valtteri Viljanen - 2008 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):412 – 437.
    Spinoza is most often seen as a stern advocate of mechanistic efficient causation, but examining his philosophy in relation to the Aristotelian tradition reveals this view to be misleading: some key passages of the Ethics resemble so much what Surez writes about emanation that it is most natural to situate Spinoza's theory of causation not in the context of the mechanical sciences but in that of a late scholastic doctrine of the emanative causality of the formal cause; as taking a (...)
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De Re Modality
  1. Coincident Objects and The Grounding Problem.Ataollah Hashemi - 2022 - Journal of Philosophical Investigations at University of Tabriz 16 (41):164-173.
    Pluralists believe in the occurrence of numerically distinct spatiotemporal coincident objects. They argue that there are coincident objects that share all physical and spatiotemporal properties and relations; nevertheless, they differ in terms of modal and some other profiles. Appealing to the grounding problem according to which nothing can ground the modal differences between coincident objects, monists reject the occurrence of coincident objects. In the first part of this paper, I attempt to show that the dispute between monists and pluralists cannot (...)
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  2. Singular referential names as nonrigid designators and bound variables.Samuel Jambrović - 2022 - In Özge Bakay, Breanna Pratley, Eva Neu & Peyton Deal (eds.), NELS 52: Proceedings of the fifty-second annual meeting of the North East Linguistic Society, volume two. Amherst, MA: Graduate Linguistics Student Association. pp. 73-86.
    This paper contributes to the debate regarding the semantic type of singular referential names. According to one view, known as referentialism, names rigidly designate individuals (Kripke 1972, Abbott 2002, Leckie 2013, Jeshion 2015, Schoubye 2017). According to another view, known as predicativism, names designate properties of individuals (Burge 1973, Geurts 1997, Bach 2002, Elbourne 2005, Matushansky 2008, Fara 2015). Most predicativist accounts claim that bare names in English occur with a phonologically null determiner, a proposal that is based on languages (...)
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  3. Extended Dispositionalism and Determinism.Jonas Werner - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    Modal dispositionalists hold that dispositions provide the foundation of metaphysical necessity and possibility. According to the kind of modal dispositionalism that can be found in the present literature, a proposition p is possible just in case some things are disposed to be such that p. In the first part of this paper I show that combining this classic form of dispositionalism with the assumptions that the laws of nature are necessary and deterministic and that all dispositions are forward-looking in time (...)
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  4. Modal Normativism and De Re Modality.Tom Donaldson & Jennifer Wang - 2022 - Argumenta 7 (2):293-307.
    In the middle of the last century, it was common to explain the notion of necessity in linguistic terms. A necessary truth, it was said, is a sentence whose truth is guaranteed by linguistic rules. Quine famously argued that, on this view, de re modal claims do not make sense. “Porcupettes are porcupines” is necessarily true, but it would be a mistake to say of a particular porcupette that it is necessarily a porcupine, or that it is possibly purple. Linguistic (...)
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  5. Existence and Modality in Kant: Lessons from Barcan.Andrew Stephenson - forthcoming - Philosophical Review.
    This essay considers Kant’s theory of modality in light of a debate in contemporary modal metaphysics and modal logic concerning the Barcan formulas. The comparison provides a new and fruitful perspective on Kant’s complex and sometimes confusing claims about possibility and necessity. Two central Kantian principles provide the starting point for the comparison: that the possible must be grounded in the actual and that existence is not a real predicate. Both are shown to be intimately connected to the Barcan formulas, (...)
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  6. Quine's Monism and Modal Eliminativism in the Realm of Supervenience.Atilla Akalın - 2019 - International Journal of Social Humanities Sciences Research (JSHRS) 6 (34):795-800.
    This study asserts that W.V.O. Quine’s eliminative philosophical gaze into mereological composition affects inevitably his interpretations of composition theories of ontology. To investigate Quine’s property monism from the account of modal eliminativism, I applied to his solution for the paradoxes of de re modalities’ . Because of its vital role to figure out how dispositions are encountered by Quine, it was significantly noted that the realm of de re modalities doesn’t include contingent and impossible inferences about things. Therefore, for him, (...)
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Actualism and Possibilism
  1. Whence deep realism for Everettian quantum mechanics?Raoni Wohnrath Arroyo & Jonas R. Becker Arenhart - 2022 - Foundations of Physics 52 (6):121.
    ‘Shallow’ and ‘deep’ versions of scientific realism may be distinguished as follows: the shallow realist is satisfied with belief in the existence of the posits of our best scientific theories; by contrast, deep realists claim that realism can be legitimate only if such entities are described in metaphysical terms. We argue that this methodological discussion can be fruitfully applied in Everettian quantum mechanics, specifically on the debate concerning the existence of worlds and the recent dispute between Everettian actualism and quantum (...)
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  2. Ontological Pluralism and the Generic Conception of Being.Byron Simmons - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (3):1275-1293.
    Ontological pluralism is the view that there are different fundamental ways of being. Trenton Merricks has recently raised three objections to combining pluralism with a generic way of being enjoyed by absolutely everything there is: first, that the resulting view contradicts the pluralist’s core intuition; second, that it is especially vulnerable to the charge—due to Peter van Inwagen—that it posits a difference in being where there is simply a difference in kind; and, third, that it is in tension with various (...)
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  3. Possibility Precedes Actuality.Tuomas E. Tahko - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-21.
    This paper is inspired by and develops on E. J. Lowe’s work, who writes in his book The Possibility of Metaphysics that ‘metaphysical possibility is an inescapable determinant of actuality’ (1998: 9). Metaphysics deals with possibilities – metaphysical possibilities – but is not able to determine what is actual without the help of empirical research. Accordingly, a delimitation of the space of possibilities is required. The resulting – controversial – picture is that we generally need to know whether something is (...)
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  4. Spinoza’s Actualist Model of Power.Valtteri Viljanen - 2009 - In Juhani Pietarinen & Valtteri Viljanen (eds.), The World as Active Power: Studies in the History of European Reason. Leiden: Brill. pp. 213–228.
    In addition to the notion of power (potentia), Spinoza employs the notion of power of acting (agendi potentia), especially in the Ethics. This raises the question, if Spinoza uses both ‘power’ and ‘power of acting’, what is the difference between the two? What else could power be, for Spinoza, but power of acting? What is the relationship between power and activity in his system? This essays aims at giving answers to these questions; thereby emerges what may be called an actualist (...)
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  5. There is no actual problem of other minds.Benjamin Nelson - manuscript
    I shall argue that you can substantially refute the most persuasive variety of solipsism by taking its most plausible version seriously, and then showing that it is not rational to hold, once one understands the nature of actualist metaphysical commitments.1 In the first section, I argue that the only viable form of solipsism involves de dicto self-reference. In the second, I argue that this position involves a claim of contingent identity, for which some actual worlds are those where solipsism is (...)
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  6. Ostrich Actualism.Craig Warmke - 2021 - In Sara Bernstein & Tyron Goldschmidt (eds.), Non-being: New Essays on the Metaphysics of Nonexistence. pp. 205-225.
    In On What Matters, Derek Parfit enters the debate between actualists and possibilists. This debate concerns mere possibilia, possible but non-actual things such as golden mountains and talking donkeys. Roughly, possibilism says that there are such things, and actualism says that there are not. Parfit not only argues for possibilism but also argues that some self-proclaimed actualists are, in fact, unwitting possibilists. -/- I argue that although Parfit’s arguments do not fully succeed, they do highlight a tension within the frameworks (...)
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  7. Can Hardcore Actualism Validate S5?Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (2):342-358.
    Hardcore actualism (HA) grounds all modal truths in the concrete constituents of the actual world (see, e.g., Borghini and Williams (2008), Jacobs (2010), Vetter (2015)). I bolster HA, and elucidate the very nature of possibility (and necessity) according to HA, by considering if it can validate S5 modal logic. Interestingly, different considerations pull in different directions on this issue. To resolve the tension, we are forced to think hard about the nature of the hardcore actualist's modal reality and how radically (...)
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  8. In defense of the possibilism–actualism distinction.Christopher Menzel - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):1971-1997.
    In Modal Logic as Metaphysics, Timothy Williamson claims that the possibilism-actualism (P-A) distinction is badly muddled. In its place, he introduces a necessitism-contingentism (N-C) distinction that he claims is free of the confusions that purportedly plague the P-A distinction. In this paper I argue first that the P-A distinction, properly understood, is historically well-grounded and entirely coherent. I then look at the two arguments Williamson levels at the P-A distinction and find them wanting and show, moreover, that, when the N-C (...)
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  9. Modal Fragmentalism.Samuele Iaquinto - 2020 - The Philosophical Quarterly 70:570-587.
    In this paper, I will argue that there is a version of possibilism—inspired by the modal analogue of Kit Fine’s fragmentalism—that can be combined with a weakening of actualism. The reasons for analysing this view, which I call Modal Fragmentalism, are twofold. Firstly, it can enrich our understanding of the actualism/possibilism divide, by showing that, at least in principle, the adoption of possibilia does not correspond to an outright rejection of the actualist intuitions. Secondly, and more specifically, it can enrich (...)
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  10. Modal validity and the dispensability of the actuality operator.Vittorio Morato - 2014 - In Michal Dancak & Vit Punochar (eds.), The Logica Yearbook 2013. London, UK:
    In this paper, I claim that two ways of defining validity for modal languages (“real-world” and “general” validity), corresponding to distinction between a correct and an incorrect way of defining modal valid- ity, correspond instead to two substantive ways of conceiving modal truth. At the same time, I claim that the major logical manifestation of the real- world/general validity distinction in modal propositional languages with the actuality operator should not be taken seriously, but simply as a by-product of the way (...)
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  11. Phenomenological Actualism. A Husserlian Metaphysics of Modality?Michael Wallner - 2014 - In Sonja Rinofner-Kreidl & Harald A. Wiltsche (eds.), Analytical and Continental Philosophy: Methods and Perspectives. Papers of the 37th International Wittgenstein Symposium. pp. 283-285.
    Considering the importance of possible-world semantics for modal logic and for current debates in the philosophy of modality, a phenomenologist may want to ask whether it makes sense to speak of “possible worlds” in phenomenology. The answer will depend on how "possible worlds" are to be interpreted. As that latter question is the subject of the debate about possibilism and actualism in contemporary modal metaphysics, my aim in this paper is to get a better grip on the former question by (...)
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  12. Hardcore Actualism and Possible Non‐Existence.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):122-131.
    According to hardcore actualism (HA), all modal truths are grounded in the concrete constituents of the actual world. In this paper, I discuss some problems faced by HA when it comes to accounting for certain alleged possibilities of non‐existence. I focus particular attention on Leech (2017)'s dilemma for HA, according to which HA must either sacrifice extensional correctness or admit mere possibilia. I propose a solution to Leech's dilemma, which relies on a distinction between weak and strong possibility. It remains (...)
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  13. Logicism, Possibilism, and the Logic of Kantian Actualism.Andrew Stephenson - 2017 - Critique.
    In this extended critical discussion of 'Kant's Modal Metaphysics' by Nicholas Stang (OUP 2016), I focus on one central issue from the first chapter of the book: Stang’s account of Kant’s doctrine that existence is not a real predicate. In §2 I outline some background. In §§3-4 I present and then elaborate on Stang’s interpretation of Kant’s view that existence is not a real predicate. For Stang, the question of whether existence is a real predicate amounts to the question: ‘could (...)
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  14. Proxy “Actualism”.Karen Bennett - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 129 (2):263-294.
    Bernard Linsky and Edward Zalta have recently proposed a new form of actualism. I characterize the general form of their view and the motivations behind it. I argue that it is not quite new – it bears interesting similarities to Alvin Plantinga’s view – and that it definitely isn’t actualist.
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  15. Logic, Essence, and Modality — Review of Bob Hale's Necessary Beings. [REVIEW]Christopher Menzel - 2015 - Philosophia Mathematica 23 (3):407-428.
    Bob Hale’s distinguished record of research places him among the most important and influential contemporary analytic metaphysicians. In his deep, wide ranging, yet highly readable book Necessary Beings, Hale draws upon, but substantially integrates and extends, a good deal his past research to produce a sustained and richly textured essay on — as promised in the subtitle — ontology, modality, and the relations between them. I’ve set myself two tasks in this review: first, to provide a reasonably thorough (if not (...)
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  16. Review of Bob Hale's Necessary Beings. [REVIEW]Nils Kürbis - 2015 - Disputatio (40):92-100.
    Review of Bob Hale's "Necessary Beings: An Essay on Ontology, Modality, and the Relations Between Them". Oxford: Oxford University Press 2013, ISBN 9780199669578.
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  17. Unnecessary existents.Joshua Spencer - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5-6):766-775.
    Timothy Williamson has argued for the radical conclusion that everything necessarily exists. In this paper, I assume that the conclusion of Williamson’s argument is more incredible than the denial of his premises. Under the assumption that Williamson is mistaken, I argue for the claim that there are some structured propositions which have constituents that might not have existed. If those constituents had not existed, then the propositions would have had an unfilled role; they would have been gappy. This gappy propositions (...)
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  18. Leibniz on Creation, Contingency and Pe-Se Modality.Paul McNamara - 1990 - Studia Leibnitiana 22 (1):29-47.
    Leibniz' first problem with contingency stems from his doctrine of divine creation (not his later doctrine of truth) and is solved via his concepts of necessity per se, etc. (not via his later concept of infinite analysis). I scrutinize some of the earliest texts in which the first problem and its solution occur. I compare his "per se modal concepts" with his concept of analysis and with the traditional concept of metaphysical necessity. I then identify and remove the main obstacle (...)
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  19. Duas teorias realistas para a interpretação da semântica dos mundos possíveis.Renato Mendes Rocha - 2010 - Inquietude 1 (1):72-79.
    O discurso a respeito dos Mundos Possíveis pode ser uma ferramenta bastante útil para a filosofia. Pode ser útil, por exemplo, para a compreensão das modalidades, da necessidade e da possibilidade. No entanto, para utilizar o discurso dos Mundos Possíveis devemos ter uma explicação satisfatória do caráter ontológico da Semântica dos Mundos Possíveis. Para isso, precisamos responder a questões do tipo: O que é um Mundo Possível? De que forma eles existem? Em quantos Mundos Possíveis podemos falar? Há diversas formas (...)
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  20. In Defence of the Barcan Formula.Max Cresswell - 1991 - Logique Et Analyse 34 (135-136):271-282.
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  21. Time, Modality, and the Unbearable Lightness of Being.Akiko M. Frischhut & Alexander Skiles - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):264-273.
    We develop a theory about the metaphysics of time and modality that combines the conceptual resources devised in recent sympathetic work on ontological pluralism (the thesis that there are fundamentally distinct kinds of being) with the thought that what is past, future, and merely possible is less real than what is present and actual (albeit real enough to serve as truthmakers for statements about the past, future, and merely possible). However, we also show that despite being a coherent, distinctive, and (...)
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  22. Impossible Worlds.Mark Jago - 2013 - Noûs 47 (3):713-728.
    Impossible worlds are representations of impossible things and impossible happenings. They earn their keep in a semantic or metaphysical theory if they do the right theoretical work for us. As it happens, a worlds-based account provides the best philosophical story about semantic content, knowledge and belief states, cognitive significance and cognitive information, and informative deductive reasoning. A worlds-based story may also provide the best semantics for counterfactuals. But to function well, all these accounts need use of impossible and as well (...)
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  23. Quantificational Logic and Empty Names.Andrew Bacon - 2013 - Philosophers' Imprint 13.
    The result of combining classical quantificational logic with modal logic proves necessitism – the claim that necessarily everything is necessarily identical to something. This problem is reflected in the purely quantificational theory by theorems such as ∃x t=x; it is a theorem, for example, that something is identical to Timothy Williamson. The standard way to avoid these consequences is to weaken the theory of quantification to a certain kind of free logic. However, it has often been noted that in order (...)
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  24. Possible Worlds for Modal Primitivists.Louis deRosset - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (1):109-131.
    Among the most remarkable developments in metaphysics since the 1950’s is the explosion of philosophical interest in possible worlds. This paper proposes an explanation of what possible worlds are, and argues that this proposal, the interpreted models conception, should be attractive to anyone who thinks that modal facts are primitive, and so not to be explained in terms of some non-modal notion of “possible world.” I articulate three constraints on any acceptable primitivist explanation of the nature of possible worlds, and (...)
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  25. Modal Ontology and Generalized Quantifiers.Peter Fritz - 2013 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 42 (4):643-678.
    Timothy Williamson has argued that in the debate on modal ontology, the familiar distinction between actualism and possibilism should be replaced by a distinction between positions he calls contingentism and necessitism. He has also argued in favor of necessitism, using results on quantified modal logic with plurally interpreted second-order quantifiers showing that necessitists can draw distinctions contingentists cannot draw. Some of these results are similar to well-known results on the relative expressivity of quantified modal logics with so-called inner and outer (...)
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  26. Worldlessness, Determinism and Free Will.Ari Maunu - 1999 - Dissertation, University of Turku (Finland)
    I have three main objectives in this essay. First, in chapter 2, I shall put forward and justify what I call worldlessness, by which I mean the following: All truths (as well as falsehoods) are wholly independent of any circumstances, not only time and place but also possible worlds. It follows from this view that whatever is actually true must be taken as true with respect to every possible world, which means that all truths are (in a sense) necessary. However, (...)
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  27. Causal structuralism, dispositional actualism, and counterfactual conditionals.Antony Eagle - 2009 - In Toby Handfield (ed.), Dispositions and Causes. Oxford University Press. pp. 65--99.
    Dispositional essentialists are typically committed to two claims: that properties are individuated by their causal role (‘causal structuralism’), and that natural necessity is to be explained by appeal to these causal roles (‘dispositional actualism’). I argue that these two claims cannot be simultaneously maintained; and that the correct response is to deny dispositional actualism. Causal structuralism remains an attractive position, but doesn’t in fact provide much support for dispositional essentialism.
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  28. The possible in the actual.Adam Morton - 1973 - Noûs 7 (4):394-407.
    I give models for modal languages in which all individuals are actual.
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  29. Might I have been non-actual?Josh Parsons - unknown
    Analytic philosophers usually think about modality in terms of possible worlds. According to the possible worlds framework, a proposition is necessary if it is true according to all possible worlds; it is possible if it is true according to some possible world. There are as many possible worlds as there are ways the actual world might be. Only one world is actual.
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Counterpart Theory
  1. Counterparts and Counterpossibles: Impossibility without Impossible Worlds.Michael Townsen Hicks - 2022 - Journal of Philosophy 119 (10):542-574.
    Standard accounts of counterfactuals with metaphysically impossible antecedents take them to by trivially true. But recent work shows that nontrivial countermetaphysicals are frequently appealed to in scientific modeling and are indispensable for a number of metaphysical projects. I focus on three recent discussions of counterpossible counterfactuals, which apply counterpossibles in both scientific and metaphysical modeling. I show that a sufficiently developed modal counterpart theory can provide a semantics for a wide range of counterpossibles without any inconsistent possibilities or other forms (...)
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  2. On the translation from quantified modal logic to counterpart theory.Cristina Nencha - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-15.
    Lewis (1968) claims that his language of Counterpart Theory (CT) interprets modal discourse and he adverts to a translation scheme from the language of Quantifed Modal Logic (QML) to CT. However, everybody now agrees that his original translation scheme does not always work, since it does not always preserve the ‘intuitive’ meaning of the translated QML-formulas. Lewis discusses this problem with regard to the Necessitist Thesis, and I will extend his discourse to the analysis of the Converse Barcan Formula. Everyone (...)
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