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  1. Possibility in a Single World.Mark Ressler - manuscript
    In response to suspicions concerning the use of possible worlds in philosophy, this brief paper proposes an analysis of possibility that requires only a single world, using a combination of temporal logic and a potentiality operator.
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  2. Précis zu "Agents' Abilities".Romy Jaster - forthcoming - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung.
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  3. Necessitarianism and Dispositions.Simone Gozzano - 2020 - Metaphysica (1):1-23.
    In this paper, I argue in favor of necessitarianism, the view that dispositions, when stimulated, necessitate their manifestations. After introducing and clarifying what necessitarianism does and does not amount to, I provide reasons to support the view that dispositions once stimulated necessitate their manifestations according to the stimulating conditions and the relevant properties at stake. In this framework, I will propose a principle of causal relevance and some conditions for the possibility of interference that allow us to avoid the use (...)
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  4. Disappearing Diamonds: Fitch-Like Results in Bimodal Logic.Weng Kin San - 2019 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 48 (6):1003-1016.
    Augment the propositional language with two modal operators: □ and ■. Define ⧫ to be the dual of ■, i.e. ⧫=¬■¬. Whenever (X) is of the form φ → ψ, let (X⧫) be φ→⧫ψ . (X⧫) can be thought of as the modally qualified counterpart of (X)—for instance, under the metaphysical interpretation of ⧫, where (X) says φ implies ψ, (X⧫) says φ implies possibly ψ. This paper shows that for various interesting instances of (X), fairly weak assumptions suffice for (...)
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  5. Necessity of Origins and Multi-Origin Art.Joshua Spencer & Chris Tillman - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (7):741-754.
    ABSTRACTThe Necessity of Origins is the thesis that, necessarily, if a material object wholly originates from some particular material, then it could not have wholly originated from any significantly non-overlapping material. Several philosophers have argued for this thesis using as a premise a principle that we call ‘Single Origin Necessity’. However, we argue that Single Origin Necessity is false. So any arguments for The Necessity of Origins that rely on Single Origin Necessity are unsound. We also argue that the Necessity (...)
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  6. Metaphysical Rationalism.Martin Lin - 2019 - In Charles Ramond & Jack Stetter (eds.), Spinoza in Twenty-First-Century American and French Philosophy: Metaphysics, Philosophy of Mind, Moral and Political Philosophy. London, UK: pp. 121-143.
    Material from this paper appears in Chap. 7 of my book Reason and Being, but there is also stuff here that isn't in the book. In particular, it discusses the claims that, for Spinoza, conceiving implies explaining and that existence is identical to or reducible to conceivability. So, if you're interested in those issues, this paper might be worth a read.
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  7. Hume, Causation and Counterfactuals.Joshua Anderson - 2019 - Humanites Bulletin 2 (1):36-49.
    What is offered here is an interpretation of Hume’s views on causation. While it might not be literally Hume’s view, it is certainly consistent with Hume, and is probably what Hume should say on causation, in light of recent developments in science and logic. As a way in, it is argued that the considerations that Hume brings against rationalist theories of causation can be applied to counterfactual theories of causation. Since, counterfactuals, possible worlds and modality were not ideas that would (...)
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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. Being Someone Else.Martin Glazier - forthcoming - In Enoch Lambert & John Schwenkler (eds.), Becoming Someone New: Essays on Transformative Experience, Choice, and Change. Oxford, UK:
    Could I have been someone other than who I am? Philosophers from Williams to Nagel to Lewis have been tempted to answer 'yes', but how can we make sense of such a view? I argue that to say that it is contingent who I am is to say that it is contingent what perspective I have, in a distinctively metaphysical sense of perspective.
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  11. Does Eternity Have A Future?Yitzhak Melamed - 2018 - The Philosophers' Magazine 81:40-44.
    Metaphysics as an independent discipline has a surprisingly short history. Until the early eighteenth century, many, perhaps even most, writers on “metaphysics” primarily had the eponymous work of Aristotle in mind. In the writings of the early eighteenth-century German rationalists—Christian Wolff and Alexander Baumgarten—we find a conception of metaphysics that is no longer necessarily tied to Aristotle’s great work. But metaphysics as a discipline was not blessed with longevity, as a dozen years or so before Louis XVI it was condemned (...)
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  12. Kant on the Necessity of Causal Relations.Toni Kannisto - 2017 - Kant-Studien 108 (4):495-516.
    There are two traditional ways to read Kant's claim that every event necessarily has a cause: the weaker every-event some-cause and the stronger same-cause same-effect causal principles. The focus of the debate about whether and where he subscribes to the SCP has been in the Analogies in the Critique of Pure Reason and in the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science. By analysing the arguments and conclusions of both the Analogies and the Postulates as well as the two Latin principles non (...)
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  13. Modal Set Theory.Christopher Menzel - forthcoming - In Otávio Bueno & Scott Shalkowski (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Modality. London and New York: Routledge.
    This article presents an overview of the basic philosophical motivations for, and some recent work in, modal set theory.
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  14. Contingency and Necessity: Human Agency in Musil’s The Man Without Qualities.Barbara Sattler - 2014 - The Monist 97 (1):86-103.
    This paper argues that the problem of how to act in the face of radical contingency is of central importance in Musil’s novel and intimately connected to what Musil calls the sense of possibility. There is a variety of different strategies by which individuals, and the state of Kakania as a whole, deal with contingency, and they all involve a claim to a kind of grounding or necessity; for example, the Parallel Campaign is one big attempt to ground Kakania in (...)
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  15. The Possibilities of History.Daniel Nolan - 2016 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 10 (3):441-456.
    _ Source: _Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 441 - 456 Several kinds of historical alternatives are distinguished. Different kinds of historical alternatives are valuable to the practice of history for different reasons. Important uses for historical alternatives include representing different sides of historical disputes; distributing chances of different outcomes over alternatives; and offering explanations of why various alternatives did _not_ in fact happen. Consideration of counterfactuals about what would have happened had things been different in particular ways plays particularly useful (...)
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  16. Nominalizations: The Case of Nominalizations of Modal Predicates.Friederike Moltmann - forthcoming - In Lisa Matthewson, Cécile Meier, Hotze Rullman, Thomas Ede Zimmermann & Daniel Gutzmann (eds.), Blackwell Companion to Semantics. Wiley.
    Nominalizations of modal predicates have received little, if any, attention in the semantic or philosophical literature. This paper will argue that nominalizations of modal predicates require recognizing a novel ontological category of modal objects and it will outline a new semantics of modals based on modal objects.
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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. Modality and Explanatory Reasoning.Boris Kment - 2014 - 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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. 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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De Re Modality
  1. Quine's Monism and Modal Eliminativism in the Realm of Superveniences.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. 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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  2. Modal Fragmentalism.Samuele Iaquinto - 2020 - The Philosophical Quarterly 70 (280):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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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. Parts of Ockham’s Razor and Their Counterparts.Ghislain Guigon - manuscript
    William of Ockham seems to have endorsed the view (i) that a whole is its parts, (ii) that some things are such that whether they together compose a whole is contingent, and (iii) that parts are ontologically prior to the whole they compose. Ockhamist Composition as Identity is the conjunction of these three claims. It seems doubly absurd since Leibniz’s Law arguments can be run against both the conjunction of (i) and (ii) and that of (i) and (iii). In this (...)
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  2. Counterfactual Double Lives.Michael Deigan - 2017 - Proceedings of the 21st Amsterdam Colloquium:215--224.
    Expressions typically thought to be rigid designators can refer to distinct individuals in the consequents of counterfactuals. This occurs in counteridenticals, such as “If I were you, I would arrest me”, as well as more ordinary counterfactuals with clearly possible antecedents, like “If I were a police officer, I would arrest me”. I argue that in response we should drop rigidity and deal with de re modal predication using something more flexible, such as counterpart theory.
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  3. Truths Qua Grounds.Ghislain Guigon - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (1):99-125.
    A number of philosophers have recently found it congenial to talk in terms of grounding. Grounding discourse features grounding sentences that are answers to questions about what grounds what. The goal of this article is to explore and defend a counterpart-theoretic interpretation of grounding discourse. We are familiar with David Lewis's applications of the method of counterpart theory to de re modal discourse. Counterpart-theoretic interpretations of de re modal idioms and grounding sentences share similar motivations, mechanisms, and applications. I shall (...)
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  4. Counteridenticals.Alexander W. Kocurek - 2018 - The Philosophical Review 127 (3):323-369.
    A counteridentical is a counterfactual with an identity statement in the antecedent. While counteridenticals generally seem non-trivial, most semantic theories for counterfactuals, when combined with the necessity of identity and distinctness, attribute vacuous truth conditions to such counterfactuals. In light of this, one could try to save the orthodox theories either by appealing to pragmatics or by denying that the antecedents of alleged counteridenticals really contain identity claims. Or one could reject the orthodox theory of counterfactuals in favor of a (...)
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  5. Essential Bundle Theory and Modality.Mark Jago - 2018 - Synthese:1-16.
    Bundle theories identify material objects with bundles of properties. On the traditional approach, these are the properties possessed by that material object. That view faces a deep problem: it seems to say that all of an object’s properties are essential to it. Essential bundle theory attempts to overcome this objection, by taking the bundle as a specification of the object’s essential properties only. In this paper, I show that essential bundle theory faces a variant of the objection. To avoid the (...)
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  6. On the Humphrey Objection to Modal Realism.Michael De - 2018 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 95 (2):159-179.
    An intuitive objection to modal realism is that merely possible worlds and their inhabitants seem to be irrelevant to an analysis of modality. Kripke originally phrased the objection in terms of being concerned about one’s modal properties without being concerned about the properties one’s other-worldly counterparts have. The author assesses this objection in a variety of forms, and then provides his own formulation that does not beg the question against the modal realist. Finally, the author considers two potential answers to (...)
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  7. Binding Bound Variables in Epistemic Contexts.Brian Rabern - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-31.
    Quine insisted that the satisfaction of an open modalised formula by an object depends on how that object is described. Kripke’s "objectual" interpretation of quantified modal logic, whereby variables are rigid, is commonly thought to avoid these Quinean worries. Yet there remain residual Quinean worries in the epistemic case. Theorists have recently been toying with assignment-shifting treatments of epistemic contexts. On such views an epistemic operator ends up binding all the variables in its scope. One might worry that this yields (...)
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  8. Transitivity and Proportionality in Causation.Neil McDonnell - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1211-1229.
    It is commonly assumed that causation is transitive and in this paper I aim to reconcile this widely-held assumption with apparent evidence to the contrary. I will discuss a familiar approach to certain well-known counterexamples, before introducing a more resistant sort of case of my own. I will then offer a novel solution, based on Yablo’s proportionality principle, that succeeds in even these more resistant cases. There is a catch, however. Either proportionality is a constraint on which causal claims are (...)
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