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Modal science

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):453-492 (2016)

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  1. A defense of modal appearances.C. A. McIntosh - 2021 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 89 (3):243-261.
    I argue that beliefs about what appears possible are justified in much the same way as beliefs about what appears actual. I do so by chisholming, and then modalizing, the epistemic principle associated with phenomenal conservatism. The principle is tested against a number of examples, and it gives the intuitively correct results. I conclude by considering how it can be used to defend two controversial modal arguments, a Cartesian argument for dualism and an ontological argument for the existence of God.
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  • Epistemic Modality, Mind, and Mathematics.Hasen Khudairi - 2021 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    This book concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The book demonstrates how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the epistemic status of undecidable propositions and abstraction principles in the philosophy of mathematics; to the modal profile of rational propositional intuition; and to the (...)
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  • Naturalización de la Metafísica Modal.Carlos Romero - 2021 - Dissertation, National Autonomous University of Mexico
    In this dissertation I introduce, motivate and take the first steps in the realization of, the project of naturalizing modal metaphysics: the transformation of the field into a chapter of the philosophy of science rather than speculative, autonomous metaphysics. -/- In the introduction, I explain the concept of naturalization that I take for granted throughout the dissertation, in addition to objecting to two recent proposals, according to which modal metaphysics --- or some view in the area --- is already a (...)
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  • New Directions in the Epistemology of Modality: Introduction.Antonella Mallozzi - 2019 - Synthese:1-19.
    The fourteen papers in this collection offer a variety of original contributions to the epistemology of modality. In seeking to explain how we might account for our knowledge of possibility and necessity, they raise some novel questions, develop some unfamiliar theoretical perspectives, and make some intriguing proposals. Collectively, they advance our understanding of the field. In Part I of this Introduction, I give some general background about the contemporary literature in the area, by sketching a timeline of the main tendencies (...)
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  • Metaphysical and Absolute Possibility.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1861-1872.
    It is widely alleged that metaphysical possibility is “absolute” possibility Conceivability and possibility, Clarendon, Oxford, 2002, p 16; Stalnaker, in: Stalnaker Ways a world might be: metaphysical and anti-metaphysical essays, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2003, pp 201–215; Williamson in Can J Philos 46:453–492, 2016). Kripke calls metaphysical necessity “necessity in the highest degree”. Van Inwagen claims that if P is metaphysically possible, then it is possible “tout court. Possible simpliciter. Possible period…. possib without qualification.” And Stalnaker writes, “we can agree (...)
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  • Beyond Legal Minds: Sex, Social Violence, Systems, Methods, Possibilities.William Brant (ed.) - 2019 - Boston: Brill | Rodopi.
    In this book, William Brant inquires how violence is reduced. Social causes of violence are exposed. War, sexual domination, leadership, propagandizing and comedy are investigated. Legal systems are explored as reducers and implementers of violence and threats.
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  • Nomic Necessitism.Hasen Khudairi - manuscript
    This paper aims to provide two abductive considerations adducing in favor of the thesis of Necessitism in modal ontology. I demonstrate how instances of the Barcan formula can be witnessed, when the modal operators are interpreted 'naturally' -- i.e., as including geometric and nomological possibilities -- and the quantifiers in the formula range over a domain of natural, or concrete, entities and their contingently non-concrete analogues. I argue that, because there are considerations within physics and metaphysical inquiry which corroborate modal (...)
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  • Symmetry Fundamentalism: A Case Study From Classical Physics.David Schroeren - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (2):308-333.
    Physicists have suggested what I call symmetry fundamentalism: the view that symmetries are fundamental aspects of physical reality and that these aspects are more fundamental than what one might ordinarily think of as the fundamental building blocks of the world, such as elementary particles. The goal of this paper is to develop an ontology for classical particle mechanics that provides a precise instance of symmetry fundamentalism.
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  • Putting Modal Metaphysics First.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 8):1-20.
    I propose that we approach the epistemology of modality by putting modal metaphysics first and, specifically, by investigating the metaphysics of essence. Following a prominent Neo-Aristotelian view, I hold that metaphysical necessity depends on the nature of things, namely their essences. I further clarify that essences are core properties having distinctive superexplanatory powers. In the case of natural kinds, which is my focus in the paper, superexplanatoriness is due to the fact that the essence of a kind is what causes (...)
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  • Special Issue of Synthese on New Directions in the Epistemology of Modality: Introduction.Antonella Mallozzi - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1841-1859.
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  • The Difference Between Epistemic and Metaphysical Necessity.Martin Glazier - 2017 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 6):1409-1424.
    Philosophers have observed that metaphysical necessity appears to be a true or real or genuine form of necessity while epistemic necessity does not. Similarly, natural necessity appears genuine while deontic necessity does not. But what is it for a form of necessity to be genuine? I defend an account of genuine necessity in explanatory terms. The genuine forms of necessity, I argue, are those that provide what I call necessitarianexplanation. I discuss the relationship of necessitarian explanation to ground.
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  • Two Notions of Metaphysical Modality.Antonella Mallozzi - 2018 - Synthese (Suppl 6):1-22.
    The paper explores the project of an ambitious modal epistemology that attempts to combine the a priori methods of Chalmers’ 2D semantics with Kripke’s modal metaphysics. I argue that such a project is not viable. The ambitious modal epistemology involves an inconsistent triad composed of (1) Modal Monism, (2) Two-Dimensionalism, and what I call (3) “Metaphysical Kripkeanism”. I present the three theses and show how only two of those can be true at a time. There is a fundamental incompatibility between (...)
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  • That’s the Guy Who Might Have Lost.Tristan Grøtvedt Haze - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    In an influential passage of Naming and Necessity Kripke argues, with the help of a fictional dialogue, that de re metaphysical modal distinctions have intuitive content. In this note I clarify the workings of the argument, and what it does and does not support. I conclude that Kripke’s argument does not, despite possible appearances, support the view that metaphysical modal distinctions are made in common sense discourse. The argument does however support the view that if metaphysical modal distinctions make sense (...)
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  • Symmetry fundamentalism in quantum mechanics.David Schroeren - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-30.
    Modern particle physics suggests an intriguing vision of physical reality: we are to imagine the symmetries of the world as fundamental, whereas the material constituents of the world are ontologically derivative of them. This paper develops a novel ontology for non-relativistic quantum mechanics which gives precise metaphysical content to this vision.
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  • Holes in Spacetime: Some Neglected Essentials.Trevor Teitel - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy 116 (7):353-389.
    The hole argument purports to show that all spacetime theories of a certain form are indeterministic, including the General Theory of Relativity. The argument has given rise to an industry of searching for a metaphysics of spacetime that delivers the right modal implications to rescue determinism. In this paper, I first argue that certain prominent extant replies to the hole argument—namely, those that appeal to an essentialist doctrine about spacetime—fail to deliver the requisite modal implications. As part of my argument, (...)
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  • The Reduction of Necessity to Essence.Andreas Ditter - 2020 - Mind 129 (514):351-380.
    In `Essence and Modality', Kit Fine proposes that for a proposition to be metaphysically necessary is for it to be true in virtue of the nature of all objects whatsoever. Call this view Fine's Thesis. This paper is a study of Fine's Thesis in the context of Fine's logic of essence (LE). Fine himself has offered his most elaborate defense of the thesis in the context of LE. His defense rests on the widely shared assumption that metaphysical necessity obeys the (...)
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  • Perceptual Knowledge of Nonactual Possibilities.Margot Strohminger - 2015 - Philosophical Perspectives 29 (1):363-375.
    It is widely assumed that sense perception cannot deliver knowledge of nonactual (metaphysical) possibilities. We are not supposed to be able to know that a proposition p is necessary or that p is possible (if p is false) by sense perception. This paper aims to establish that the role of sense perception is not so limited. It argues that we can know lots of modal facts by perception. While the most straightforward examples concern possibility and contingency, others concern necessity and (...)
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  • Generalised Manifolds as Basic Objects of General Relativity.Joanna Luc - 2020 - Foundations of Physics 50 (6):621-643.
    In this paper non-Hausdorff manifolds as potential basic objects of General Relativity are investigated. One can distinguish four stages of identifying an appropriate mathematical structure to describe physical systems: kinematic, dynamical, physical reasonability, and empirical. The thesis of this paper is that in the context of General Relativity, non-Hausdorff manifolds pass the first two stages, as they enable one to define the basic notions of differential geometry needed to pose the problem of the evolution-distribution of matter and are not in (...)
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  • Relativized Metaphysical Modality: Index and Context.Benj Hellie, Adam Russell Murray & Jessica Wilson - forthcoming - In Otávio Bueno & Scott Shalkowski (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Modality. New York: Routledge.
    Relativized Metaphysical Modality (RMM: Murray and Wilson, 'Relativized metaphysical modality', Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, 2012; Murray, Perspectives on Modal Metaphysics, 2017) exploits 'two-dimensionalist' resources to metaphysical, rather than epistemological, ends: the second dimension offers perspective-dependence without contingency, diverting attacks on 'Classical' analyses of modals (in effect, analyses validating S5 and the Barcan Formulae). Here, we extend the RMM program in two directions. First, we harvest resources for RMM from Lewis's 1980 'Context--Index' (CI) framework: (a) the ban in CI on binding (...)
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  • The Theory of Every Thing: Toward a Symmetry-Based Metaphysics of Matter.David Schroeren - 2020 - Dissertation, Princeton University
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  • Logical Combinatorialism.Andrew Bacon - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (4):537-589.
    In explaining the notion of a fundamental property or relation, metaphysicians will often draw an analogy with languages. The fundamental properties and relations stand to reality as the primitive predicates and relations stand to a language: the smallest set of vocabulary God would need in order to write the “book of the world.” This paper attempts to make good on this metaphor. To that end, a modality is introduced that, put informally, stands to propositions as logical truth stands to sentences. (...)
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  • Modal Objectivity1.Justin Clarke‐Doane - 2019 - Noûs 53 (2):266-295.
    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 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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  • Epistemic Projects, Indispensability, and the Structure of Modal Thought.Felipe Morales Carbonell - 2020 - Res Philosophica 97 (4):611-638.
    I argue that modal epistemology should pay more attention to questions about the structure and function of modal thought. We can treat these questions from synchronic and diachronic angles. From a synchronic perspective, I consider whether a general argument for the epistemic support of modal though can be made on the basis of modal thoughs’s indispensability for what Enoch and Schechter (2008) call rationally required epistemic projects. After formulating the argument, I defend it from various objections. I also examine the (...)
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  • Relative Necessity and Propositional Quantification.Alexander Roberts - 2020 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 49 (4):703-726.
    Following Smiley’s influential proposal, it has become standard practice to characterise notions of relative necessity in terms of simple strict conditionals. However, Humberstone and others have highlighted various flaws with Smiley’s now standard account of relative necessity. In their recent article, Hale and Leech propose a novel account of relative necessity designed to overcome the problems facing the standard account. Nevertheless, the current article argues that Hale & Leech’s account suffers from its own defects, some of which Hale & Leech (...)
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  • Ground and Modality.Alessandro Torza - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (6):563-585.
    The grounding relation is routinely characterized by means of logical postulates. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, I show that a subset of those postulates is incompatible with a minimal characterization of metaphysical modality. Then I consider a number of ways for reconciling ground with modality. The simplest and most elegant solution consists in adopting serious actualism, which is best captured within a first-order modal language with predicate abstraction governed by negative free logic. I also explore a number (...)
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  • Wither Metaphysical Necessity?John Divers - 2018 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 92 (1):1-25.
    I argue that a pragmatic scepticism about metaphysical modality is a perfectly reasonable position to maintain. I then illustrate the difficulties and limitations associated with some strategies for defeating such scepticism. These strategies appeal to associations between metaphysical modality and the following: objective probability, counterfactuals and distinctive explanatory value.
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  • The Gap Problem Made Easy?Tien-Chun Lo - 2020 - Analysis 80 (3):486-492.
    Byerly recently developed a new solution to the gap problem for cosmological arguments. His idea is that the best explanation for why the necessary being is found to have necessary existence is that it is a perfect being. I raise an objection to Byerly’s solution on the ground that there is some rival naturalistic explanation that is as good as Byerly s theistic explanation.
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  • What the Future ‘Might’ Brings.David Boylan - 2020 - Mind 129 (515):809-829.
    This paper concerns a puzzle about the interaction of epistemic modals and future tense. In cases of predictable forgetfulness, speakers cannot describe their future states of mind with epistemic modals under future tense, but promising theories of epistemic modals do not predict this. In §1, I outline the puzzle. In §2, I argue that it undermines a very general approach to epistemic modals that draws a tight connection between epistemic modality and evidence. In §3, I defend the assumption that tense (...)
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  • The Necessity of Mathematics.Juhani Yli‐Vakkuri & John Hawthorne - 2020 - Noûs 54 (3):549-577.
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  • Scientific Realism Meets Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics.Juha Saatsi - 2017 - In Philosophers Think About Quantum Theory.
    I examine the epistemological debate on scientific realism in the context of quantum physics, focusing on the empirical underdetermin- ation of different formulations and interpretations of QM. I will argue that much of the interpretational, metaphysical work on QM tran- scends the kinds of realist commitments that are well-motivated in the light of the history of science. I sketch a way of demarcating empirically well-confirmed aspects of QM from speculative quantum metaphysics in a way that coheres with anti-realist evidence from (...)
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  • The Necessity of Mathematics.Juhani Yli‐Vakkuri & John Hawthorne - 2018 - Noûs 52.
    Some have argued for a division of epistemic labor in which mathematicians supply truths and philosophers supply their necessity. We argue that this is wrong: mathematics is committed to its own necessity. Counterfactuals play a starring role.
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  • Forms of Luminosity.Hasen Khudairi - 2017
    This dissertation concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The dissertation demonstrates how phenomenal consciousness and gradational possible-worlds models in Bayesian perceptual psychology relate to epistemic modal space. The dissertation demonstrates, then, how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; deontic modality; logical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the (...)
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  • Reply to Fine.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):571-583.
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  • Moderate Modal Skepticism.Margot Strohminger & Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2018 - In Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne & Dani Rabinowitz (eds.), Knowledge, Belief, and God: New Insights in Religious Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 302-321.
    This paper examines "moderate modal skepticism", a form of skepticism about metaphysical modality defended by Peter van Inwagen in order to blunt the force of certain modal arguments in the philosophy of religion. Van Inwagen’s argument for moderate modal skepticism assumes Yablo's (1993) influential world-based epistemology of possibility. We raise two problems for this epistemology of possibility, which undermine van Inwagen's argument. We then consider how one might motivate moderate modal skepticism by relying on a different epistemology of possibility, which (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Modality.Margot Strohminger & Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2017 - Analysis 77 (4):825-838.
    This article surveys recent developments in the epistemology of modality.
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  • Semantic Externalism Without Thought Experiments.Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2018 - Analysis (1):81-89.
    Externalism is the thesis that the contents of intentional states and speech acts are not determined by the way the subjects of those states or acts are internally. It is a widely accepted but not entirely uncontroversial thesis. Among such theses in philosophy, externalism is notable for owing the assent it commands almost entirely to thought experiments, especially to variants of Hilary Putnam's famous Twin Earth scenario. This paper presents a thought experiment-free argument for externalism. It shows that externalism is (...)
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  • Williamsonian Modal Epistemology, Possibility-Based.Barbara Vetter - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):766-795.
    Williamsonian modal epistemology is characterized by two commitments: realism about modality, and anti-exceptionalism about our modal knowledge. Williamson’s own counterfactual-based modal epistemology is the best known implementation of WME, but not the only option that is available. I sketch and defend an alternative implementation which takes our knowledge of metaphysical modality to arise, not from knowledge of counterfactuals, but from our knowledge of ordinary possibility statements of the form ‘x can F’. I defend this view against a criticism indicated in (...)
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  • Reply to Goodman.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):640-653.
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  • Reply to Vetter.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):796-802.
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  • Reply to Stalnaker.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):727-734.
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  • Reply to Sider.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):699-708.
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  • Reply to Bacon, Hawthorne and Uzquiano.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):542-547.
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  • Knowledge of Objective Modality.Margot Strohminger & Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (5):1155-1175.
    The epistemology of modality has focused on metaphysical modality and, more recently, counterfactual conditionals. Knowledge of kinds of modality that are not metaphysical has so far gone largely unexplored. Yet other theoretically interesting kinds of modality, such as nomic, practical, and ‘easy’ possibility, are no less puzzling epistemologically. Could Clinton easily have won the 2016 presidential election—was it an easy possibility? Given that she didn’t in fact win the election, how, if at all, can we know whether she easily could (...)
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  • Spaces of Possibility.Timothy Williamson - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82:189-204.
    We care not just how things are but how they could have been otherwise – about possibility and necessity as well as actuality. Many philosophers regard such talk as beyond the reach of respectable science, since observation tells us how things are but not how they could have been otherwise. I argue that, on the contrary, such criticisms are ill-founded: possibility and necessity are studied in natural science, for example through phase spaces, abstract mathematical representations of the possible states of (...)
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  • Strongly Millian Second-Order Modal Logics.Bruno Jacinto - 2017 - Review of Symbolic Logic (3):1-58.
    The most common first- and second-order modal logics either have as theorems every instance of the Barcan and Converse Barcan formulae and of their second-order analogues, or else fail to capture the actual truth of every theorem of classical first- and second-order logic. In this paper we characterise and motivate sound and complete first- and second-order modal logics that successfully capture the actual truth of every theorem of classical first- and second-order logic and yet do not possess controversial instances of (...)
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  • Modal Combinatorialism is Consistent with S5.Henry Taylor - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (1):23-32.
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  • Alternative Logics and Applied Mathematics.Timothy Williamson - 2018 - Philosophical Issues 28 (1):399-424.
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  • Modality as a Subject for Science.Timothy Williamson - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (3):415-436.
    Section 1 introduces the category of objective modality, closely related to linguists’ category of circumstantial or dynamic modals, and explains metaphysical modality as its maximal element. Section 2 discusses various kinds of skepticism about modality, as in Hume and recent authors, and argues that it is illmotivated to apply such skepticism to metaphysical modality but not to more restricted objective modalities, including nomic modality. Section 3 suggests that the role of counterfactual conditionals in applications of scientific theories involves an objective (...)
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