Logic, Essence, and Modality — Review of Bob Hale's Necessary Beings [Book Review]

Philosophia Mathematica 23 (3):407-428 (2015)
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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 exactly comprehensive) overview of the structure and content of Hale’s book and, second, to a limited extent, to engage Hale’s book philosophically. I approach these tasks more or less sequentially: Parts I and 2 of the review are primarily expository; in Part 3 I adopt a somewhat more critical stance and raise several issues concerning one of the central elements of Hale’s account, his essentialist theory of modality.

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Christopher Menzel
Texas A&M University


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