Mathematical Modality: An Investigation in Higher-order Logic

Journal of Philosophical Logic (forthcoming)
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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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