Symmetry and Hybrid Contingentism

In Peter Fritz & Nicholas K. Jones (eds.), Higher-Order Metaphysics. Oxford University Press (2024)
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This paper outlines a defense of hybrid contingentism: that it is contingent which individuals there are, but not contingent what properties there are. Critics pursue two main lines of complaint. First, that the hybrid contingentist’s treatment of haecceitistic properties is metaphysically mysterious, and second, that hybrid contingentism involves an unjustified asymmetry in the associated modal logic. I suggest that these complaints may be too quick, at least in the setting of higher-order metaphysics. It is not at all obvious whether and to what extent we should expect particular "symmetries" across the orders, and so whether (as Williamson (2013) argues) “the default preference is for a uniform metaphysics, on which being is contingent at all orders or none.”

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Maegan Fairchild
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


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