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  1. Characterising Theories of Time and Modality.Daniel Deasy - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Recently, some authors – call them Reformists – have argued that the traditional Presentism-Eternalism and Actualism-Possibilism debates in the metaphysics of time and modality respectively are unclear or insubstantial, and should therefore give way to the newer Temporaryism-Permanentism and Contingentism- Necessitism debates. In ‘On characterising the presentism/eternalism and actualism/possibilism debates’ (2016, Analytic Philosophy 57: 110-140), Ross Cameron defends the Conservative position that the traditional debates are both substantial and distinct from the Temporaryism-Permanentism and Contingentism- Necessitism debates. In this paper I (...)
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  2. Clauses as Semantic Predicates: Difficulties for Possible-Worlds Semantics.Friederike Moltmann - 2018 - Festschrift for Angelika Kratzer.
    The standard view of clauses embedded under attitude verbs or modal predicates is that they act as terms standing for propositions, a view that faces a range of philosophical and linguistic difficulties. Recently an alternative has been explored according to which embedded clauses act semantically as predicates of content-bearing objects. This paper argues that this approach faces serious problems when it is based on possible worlds-semantics. It outlines a development of the approach in terms of truthmaker theory instead.
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  3. Modal Objectivity.Clarke-Doane Justin - forthcoming - Noûs.
    It is widely agreed that the intelligibility of modal metaphysics has been vindicated. Quine's arguments to the contrary supposedly confused analyticity with metaphysical necessity, and rigid with non-rigid designators.2 But even if modal metaphysics is intelligible, it could be misconceived. It could be that metaphysical necessity is not absolute necessity – the strictest real notion of necessity – and that no proposition of traditional metaphysical interest is necessary in every real sense. If there were nothing otherwise “uniquely metaphysically significant” about (...)
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Modal Combinatorialism
  1. Possible Patterns.Jeffrey Sanford Russell & John Hawthorne - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics.
    “There are no gaps in logical space,” David Lewis writes, giving voice to sentiment shared by many philosophers. But different natural ways of trying to make this sentiment precise turn out to conflict with one another. One is a *pattern* idea: “Any pattern of instantiation is metaphysically possible.” Another is a *cut and paste* idea: “For any objects in any worlds, there exists a world that contains any number of duplicates of all of those objects.” We use resources from model (...)
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  2. Grounds, Roots and Abysses.Roberto Loss - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (4):41-52.
    The aim of this study is to address the “Grounding Grounding Problem,” that is, the question as to what, if anything, grounds facts about grounding. I aim to show that, if a seemingly plausible principle of modal recombination between fundamental facts and the principle customarily called “Entailment” are assumed, it is possible to prove not only that grounding facts featuring fundamental, contingent grounds are derivative but also that either they are partially grounded in the grounds they feature or they are (...)
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  3. Modality and Anti-Metaphysics.Stephen K. McLeod - 2001 - Ashgate.
    Modality and Anti-Metaphysics critically examines the most prominent approaches to modality among analytic philosophers in the twentieth century, including essentialism. Defending both the project of metaphysics and the essentialist position that metaphysical modality is conceptually and ontologically primitive, Stephen McLeod argues that the logical positivists did not succeed in banishing metaphysical modality from their own theoretical apparatus and he offers an original defence of metaphysics against their advocacy of its elimination. -/- Seeking to assuage the sceptical worries which underlie modal (...)
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  4. Topological Aspects of Combinatorial Possibility.Thomas Mormann - 1997 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 5:75 - 92.
    The aim of this paper is to show that topology has a bearing on<br><br>combinatorial theories of possibility. The approach developed in this article is “mapping account” considering combinatorial worlds as mappings from individuals to properties. Topological structures are used to define constraints on the mappings thereby characterizing the “really possible” combinations. The mapping approach avoids the well-known incompatibility problems. Moreover, it is compatible with atomistic as well as with non-atomistic ontologies.It helps to elucidate the positions of logical atomism and monism (...)
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Modal Conventionalism
  1. Reply to Sider.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):699-708.
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  2. Truthmaking for Modal Skeptics.Jamin Asay - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (4):303-312.
    Standard truthmaker theory has generally assumed a realist account of de re modality and essences. But there are reasons to be skeptical about such a view, and for considering antirealist alternatives. Can truthmaker theory survive in the face of such skepticism? I argue that it can, but that only certain antirealist perspectives on de re modality are acceptable for truthmaker theory. In particular, either a quasi-realist or conventionalist account of de re modality is needed to provide the best account of (...)
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  3. Modal Humeanism and Arguments From Possibility.Margot Strohminger - 2013 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (3pt3):391-401.
    Sider (2011, 2013) proposes a reductive analysis of metaphysical modality—‘(modal) Humeanism’—and goes on to argue that it has interesting epistemological and methodological implications. In particular, Humeanism is supposed to undermine a class of ‘arguments from possibility’, which includes Sider's (1993) own argument against mereological nihilism and Chalmers's (1996) argument against physicalism. I argue that Sider's arguments do not go through, and moreover that we should instead expect Humeanism to be compatible with the practice of arguing from possibility in philosophy.
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  4. Soames's Deflationism About Modality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (6):1367-1379.
    One type of deflationism about metaphysical modality suggests that it can be analysed strictly in terms of linguistic or conceptual content and that there is nothing particularly metaphysical about modality. Scott Soames is explicitly opposed to this trend. However, a detailed study of Soames’s own account of modality reveals that it has striking similarities with the deflationary account. In this paper I will compare Soames’s account of a posteriori necessities concerning natural kinds with the deflationary one, specifically Alan Sidelle’s account, (...)
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  5. Modality and Anti-Metaphysics.Stephen K. McLeod - 2001 - Ashgate.
    Modality and Anti-Metaphysics critically examines the most prominent approaches to modality among analytic philosophers in the twentieth century, including essentialism. Defending both the project of metaphysics and the essentialist position that metaphysical modality is conceptually and ontologically primitive, Stephen McLeod argues that the logical positivists did not succeed in banishing metaphysical modality from their own theoretical apparatus and he offers an original defence of metaphysics against their advocacy of its elimination. -/- Seeking to assuage the sceptical worries which underlie modal (...)
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Modal Noncognitivism
  1. Modality and Anti-Metaphysics.Stephen K. McLeod - 2001 - Ashgate.
    Modality and Anti-Metaphysics critically examines the most prominent approaches to modality among analytic philosophers in the twentieth century, including essentialism. Defending both the project of metaphysics and the essentialist position that metaphysical modality is conceptually and ontologically primitive, Stephen McLeod argues that the logical positivists did not succeed in banishing metaphysical modality from their own theoretical apparatus and he offers an original defence of metaphysics against their advocacy of its elimination. -/- Seeking to assuage the sceptical worries which underlie modal (...)
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  2. How in the World?Stephen Yablo - 1996 - In Christopher Hill (ed.), Philosophical Topics. University of Arkansas Press. pp. 255--86.
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Modal Primitivism
  1. Are Potency and Actuality Compatible in Aristotle?Mark Sentesy - 2018 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy:239-270.
    The belief that Aristotle opposes potency (dunamis) to actuality (energeia or entelecheia) has gone untested. This essay defines and distinguishes forms of the Opposition Hypothesis—the Actualization, Privation, and Modal—examining the texts and arguments adduced to support them. Using Aristotle’s own account of opposition, the texts appear instead to show that potency and actuality are compatible, while arguments for their opposition produce intractable problems. Notably, Aristotle’s refutation of the Megarian Identity Hypothesis applies with equal or greater force to the Opposition Hypothesis. (...)
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  2. Review of Bob Hale's Necessary Beings. [REVIEW]Nils Kürbis - 2015 - Disputatio (40).
    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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  3. “Things Unreasonably Compulsory”: A Peircean Challenge to a Humean Theory of Perception, Particularly With Respect to Perceiving Necessary Truths.Catherine Legg - 2014 - Cognitio 15 (1):89-112.
    Much mainstream analytic epistemology is built around a sceptical treatment of modality which descends from Hume. The roots of this scepticism are argued to lie in Hume’s (nominalist) theory of perception, which is excavated, studied and compared with the very different (realist) theory of perception developed by Peirce. It is argued that Peirce’s theory not only enables a considerably more nuanced and effective epistemology, it also (unlike Hume’s theory) does justice to what happens when we appreciate a proof in mathematics.
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  4. Modality and Anti-Metaphysics.Stephen K. McLeod - 2001 - Ashgate.
    Modality and Anti-Metaphysics critically examines the most prominent approaches to modality among analytic philosophers in the twentieth century, including essentialism. Defending both the project of metaphysics and the essentialist position that metaphysical modality is conceptually and ontologically primitive, Stephen McLeod argues that the logical positivists did not succeed in banishing metaphysical modality from their own theoretical apparatus and he offers an original defence of metaphysics against their advocacy of its elimination. -/- Seeking to assuage the sceptical worries which underlie modal (...)
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  5. Philosophical Quarterly.David A. Denby - 2006
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  6. In Defence of Magical Ersatzism.David A. Denby - 2006 - In Philosophical Quarterly. pp. 161-74.
    David Lewis' objection to a generic theory of modality which he calls ‘magical ersatzism’ is that its linchpin, a relation he calls ‘selection’, must be either an internal or an external relation, and that this is unintelligible either way. But the problem he points out with classifying selection as internal is really just an instance of the general problem of how we manage to grasp underdetermined predicates, is not peculiar to magical ersatzism, and is amenable to some familiar solutions. He (...)
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Theories of Modality, Misc
  1. Metaphysical and Absolute Possibility.Justin Clarke-Doane - forthcoming - Synthese (special issue).
    It is widely alleged that metaphysical possibility is “absolute” possibility (Kripke [1980], Lewis [1986], Rosen [2006, 16], Stalnaker [2005, 203], Williamson [2016, 460]). Indeed, this is arguably its metaphysical significance. Kripke calls metaphysical necessity “necessity in the highest degree” ([1980, 99]). Williamson calls metaphysical possibility the “maximal objective modality” [2016, 459]. Rosen says that “metaphysical possibility is the [most inclusive] sort of real possibility” ([2006, 16]). And Stalnaker writes, “we can agree with Frank Jackson, David Chalmers, Saul Kripke, David Lewis, (...)
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  2. An Object‐Based Truthmaker Semantics for Modals.Friederike Moltmann - 2018 - Philosophical Issues 28 (1):255-288.
    Possible worlds semantics faces a range of difficulties for at least certain types of modals, especially deontic modals with their distinction between heavy and light permissions and obligations. This paper outlines a new semantics of modals that aims to overcome some of those difficulties. The semantics is based on an a novel ontology of modal objects, entities like obligations, permissions, needs, as well as epistemic states, abilities, and essences. Moreover, it is based on truthmaking, in the sense of Fine’s recent (...)
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  3. Модальности как фундаментальный элемент реальности: обзор книги «Williamson on Modality». [REVIEW]Lev Lamberov - 2018 - ФИЛОСОФИЯ НАУКИ 77:158-171.
    The paper provides a review of the collection of scientific works «Williamson on Modality» and contains a brief summary of the main ideas of the articles published in the book.
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  4. Modality is Not Explainable by Essence.Carlos Romero - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    Some metaphysicians believe that metaphysical modality is explainable by the essences of objects. In §II, I spell out the definitional view of essence, and in §III, a working notion of metaphysical explanation. Then, in §IV, I consider and reject five natural ways to explain necessity by essence: in terms of the principle that essential properties can't change, in terms of the supposed obviousness of the necessity of essential truth, in terms of the logical necessity of definitions, in terms of Fine's (...)
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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. The Psychological Representation of Modality.Jonathan Phillips & Joshua Knobe - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (1):1-.
    A series of recent studies have explored the impact of people's judgments regarding physical law, morality, and probability. Surprisingly, such studies indicate that these three apparently unrelated types of judgments often have precisely the same impact. We argue that these findings provide evidence for a more general hypothesis about the kind of cognition people use to think about possibilities. Specifically, we suggest that this aspect of people's cognition is best understood using an idea developed within work in the formal semantics (...)
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  7. Williamson on Modality.Juhani Yli-Vakkuri & Mark McCullagh - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):453-851.
    This special issue of the Canadian Journal of Philosophy is dedicated to Timothy Williamson's work on modality. It consists of a new paper by Williamson followed by papers on Williamson's work on modality, with each followed by a reply by Williamson. -/- Contributors: Andrew Bacon, Kit Fine, Peter Fritz, Jeremy Goodman, John Hawthorne, Øystein Linnebo, Ted Sider, Robert Stalnaker, Meghan Sullivan, Gabriel Uzquiano, Barbara Vetter, Timothy Williamson, Juhani Yli-Vakkuri.
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  8. Leibniz on the Modal Status of Absolute Space and Time.Martin Lin - 2016 - Noûs 50 (3):447-464.
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  9. Proof-Theoretic Semantics, a Problem with Negation and Prospects for Modality.Nils Kürbis - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 44 (6):713-727.
    This paper discusses proof-theoretic semantics, the project of specifying the meanings of the logical constants in terms of rules of inference governing them. I concentrate on Michael Dummett’s and Dag Prawitz’ philosophical motivations and give precise characterisations of the crucial notions of harmony and stability, placed in the context of proving normalisation results in systems of natural deduction. I point out a problem for defining the meaning of negation in this framework and prospects for an account of the meanings of (...)
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  10. Powers and Capacities in Philosophy: The New Aristotelianism. By Ruth Groff and John Greco. [REVIEW]Tamer Nawar - 2014 - Philosophical Quarterly 64 (257):670-672.
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  11. Genuine Modal Realism and the Empty World.David Efird & Tom Stoneham - 2005 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 1 (1):21-37.
    We argue that genuine modal realism can be extended, rather than modified, so as to allow for the possibility of nothing concrete, a possibility we term ‘metaphysical nihilism’. The issue should be important to the genuine modal realist because, not only is metaphysical nihilism itself intuitively plausible, but also it is supported by an argument with pre-theoretically credible premises, namely, the subtraction argument. Given the soundness of the subtraction argument, we show that there are two ways that the genuine modal (...)
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  12. 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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  13. Quine and Quantified Modal Logic – Against the Received View.Adam Tamas Tuboly - 2015 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 22 (4):518-545.
    The textbook-like history of analytic philosophy is a history of myths, re-ceived views and dogmas. Though mainly the last few years have witnessed a huge amount of historical work that aimed to reconsider our narratives of the history of ana-lytic philosophy there is still a lot to do. The present study is meant to present such a micro story which is still quite untouched by historians. According to the received view Kripke has defeated all the arguments of Quine against quantified (...)
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  14. (In)Determinism, Branching Time, and Branching Space.Alexander Hughes - manuscript
    The branching time analysis grounds the possibilities entailed by temporal indeterminism in a branching temporal structure. I construct a spatial analog of the branching time analysis – the branching space analysis – according to which the possibilities entailed by spatial indeterminism are grounded in branching spatial structure. The construction proceeds in such a way as to show the analogies between the branching space and branching time analyses. I argue that the two views are a package. In particular: the theoretical virtues (...)
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  15. Possible Worlds and Possibilities of Substances.Vladislav Terekhovich - manuscript
    Despite the notions of possible worlds and substances are very important subjects of contemporary metaphysics, there are relatively few attempts to combine these in a united framework. This paper considers the metaphysical model of the origins and the evolution of possible worlds that occurs from an interaction between substances. I involve Leibniz’s doctrine of the striving possibles that every possibility of substance has its own essence and tendency towards existence. It is supposed that the activities of substances are constantly aimed (...)
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  16. De li accidiosi che son avversi al possibile.Achille C. Varzi & Claudio Calosi - 2014 - Rivista Italiana di Filosofia Analitica Junior 5 (2):101-127.
    This is a supplement to our book "Le tribolazioni del filosofare. Comedia metaphysica ne la quale si tratta de li errori & de le pene de l’Infero". It features an entirely new canto of the poem (originally thought to be lost) along with an extensive commentary. The canto covers the first ring of the circle of the Sullen, which hosts the Adverse to the Possible, and deals with several philosophical questions concerning the metaphysics of modality.
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  17. Dispositionalism and the Modal Operators.David Yates - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (2):411-424.
    Actualists of a certain stripe—dispositionalists—hold that metaphysical modality is grounded in the powers of actual things. Roughly: p is possible iff something has, or some things have, the power to bring it about that p. Extant critiques of dispositionalism focus on its material adequacy, and question whether there are enough powers to account for all the possibilities we intuitively want to countenance. For instance, it seems possible that none of the actual contingent particulars ever existed, but it is impossible to (...)
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  18. Modality and Metaphysics in Kant.Toni Kannisto - 2013 - In Stefano Bacin, Alfredo Ferrarin, Claudio La Rocca & Margit Ruffing (eds.), Kant und die Philosophie in weltbürgerlicher Absicht. Akten des XI. Kant-Kongresses 2010. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 633-646.
    In the presentation I will analyse Kant’s conception of modalities and consider its relevance to his critical metaphysics. With his Tables of Judgements and of Categories Kant makes an important division between two kinds of modality, of which the former is only logical and the latter transcendental, i.e., objective. Only judgements that are necessary in both ways are properly metaphysical. This distinction is important for Kant’s distinction between Transcendental Analytic and Transcendental Dialectic, i.e., between acceptable and unacceptable metaphysics. I submit (...)
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  19. Fatalism and the Metaphysics of Contingency.M. Oreste Fiocco - 2015 - In Steven M. Cahn & Maureen Eckert (eds.), Freedom and the Self: Essays on the Philosophy of David Foster Wallace. Columbia University Press. pp. 57-92.
    Contingency is the presence of non-actualized possibility in the world. Fatalism is a view of reality on which there is no contingency. Since it is contingency that permits agency, there has traditionally been much interest in contingency. This interest has long been embarrassed by the contention that simple and plausible assumptions about the world lead to fatalism. I begin with an Aristotelian argument as presented by Richard Taylor. Appreciation of this argument has been stultified by a question pertaining to the (...)
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  20. Realizm modalny i okresy warunkowe z niemożliwymi poprzednikami [Modal Realism and Counterpossibles].Maciej Sendłak - 2014 - Filozofia Nauki 22 (4).
    To solve the problem of counterpossibles, many philosophers have been arguing that one needs to invoke impossible worlds. This extension of the ontology of modality should save the analysis of counterfactuals from being insensitive to the problem of counterpossibles. Since theories of impossible worlds are extensions of original accounts of modalities, it is worth stressing that proper analyses of counterpossibles should not weaken the latter.In this paper I argue that these theories of impossible wolrds, which are based on D. Lewis' (...)
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  21. The Barcan Formula in Metaphysics.Ori Simchen - 2013 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 28 (3):375-392.
    The Barcan formula (BF) is commonly paraphrased as the schematic conditional that if it is possible that there be a phi then something or other is possibly a phi. It is validated by the most straightforward systems of quantified modal logic. It is also widely considered to pose a threat to the commonsensical metaphysical view that there are no non-actual (or ‘merely possible’) things. I show how BF can be cleared of such a charge by construing it as a bridge (...)
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  22. Potentiality and Possibility.Barbara Vetter - 2010 - Dissertation, Oxford
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  23. 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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  24. Dispositional Modality.Stephen Mumford & Rani Lill Anjum - 2011 - In C. F. Gethmann (ed.), Lebenswelt und Wissenschaft, Deutsches Jahrbuch Philosophie 2. Meiner Verlag.
    There has been much discussion of powers or real dispositions in the past decade, but there remains an issue that has been inadequately treated. This concerns the precise modal value that comes with dispositionality. We contend in this paper that dispositionality involves a non-alethic, sui generis, irreducible modality. Dispositions only tend towards their manifestations; they do not necessitate them. Tendency is, of course, a dispositional term itself, so this last statement offers little by way of illumination. But given our thesis (...)
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  25. 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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  26. Recent Work: Modality Without Possible Worlds.Barbara Vetter - 2011 - Analysis 71 (4):742-754.
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  27. Philosophical Quarterly.David A. Denby - 2006
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  28. In Defence of Magical Ersatzism.David A. Denby - 2006 - In Philosophical Quarterly. pp. 161-74.
    David Lewis' objection to a generic theory of modality which he calls ‘magical ersatzism’ is that its linchpin, a relation he calls ‘selection’, must be either an internal or an external relation, and that this is unintelligible either way. But the problem he points out with classifying selection as internal is really just an instance of the general problem of how we manage to grasp underdetermined predicates, is not peculiar to magical ersatzism, and is amenable to some familiar solutions. He (...)
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  29. Review of Alan White, Modal Thinking. [REVIEW]Roger Wertheimer - 1977 - Philosophical Review 86 (2):250-54.
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  30. Kant, Modality, and the Most Real Being.Andrew Chignell - 2009 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 91 (2):157-192.
    Kant's speculative theistic proof rests on a distinction between “logical” and “real” modality that he developed very early in the pre-critical period. The only way to explain facts about real possibility, according to Kant, is to appeal to the properties of a unique, necessary, and “most real” being. Here I reconstruct the proof in its historical context, focusing on the role played by the theory of modality both in motivating the argument (in the pre-critical period) and, ultimately, in undoing it (...)
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