Mathematical Modality: An Investigation in Higher-order Logic

Journal of Philosophical Logic (forthcoming)
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Abstract

An increasing amount of contemporary philosophy of mathematics posits, and theorizes in terms of special kinds of mathematical modality. The goal of this paper is to bring recent work on higher-order metaphysics to bear on the investigation of these modalities. The main focus of the paper will be views that posit mathematical contingency or indeterminacy about statements that concern the `width' of the set theoretic universe, such as Cantor's continuum hypothesis. Within a higher-order framework I show that contingency about the width of the set-theoretic universe refutes two orthodoxies concerning the structure of modal reality: the view that the broadest necessity has a logic of S5, and the "Leibniz biconditionals" stating that what is possible, in the broadest sense of possible, is what is true in some possible world. Nonetheless, I suggest that the underlying picture of modal set-theory is coherent and has attractions.

Author's Profile

Andrew Bacon
University of Southern California

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