Naturalización de la Metafísica Modal

Dissertation, National Autonomous University of Mexico (2021)
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Abstract
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 quasi-scientific discipline. Recently, some philosophers have argued that the notion of metaphysical modality is so ill defined that it has little theoretical usefulness. In the second chapter I intend to contribute to such skepticism. First, I observe that each of the proposed marks of the concept, except for factivity, is highly controversial; thus, its logical structure is deeply obscure. The "first principles" approach having failed, I consider the paradigmatic intended applications of the concept, and argue that each makes it a device for a very specific and controversial project, usually with various unnatural commitments: a device, therefore, for which a naturalistic skeptic will find no use for. I conclude that there is no well-defined or theoretically useful notion of objective necessity other than logical or physical necessity, and I suggest that naturalization of modal metaphysics can provide more stable methodological foundations. In the third chapter I answer a possible objection against the in-principle viability of the project: that the concept of metaphysical modality cannot be understood through the philosophical analysis of any scientific theory, since metaphysical necessity "transcends" natural necessity, and science only deals with the latter. I argue that the most important arguments for this transcendence thesis fail or face problems that as of today remain unsolved. Let's call the idea that science doesn't need modality "demodalism". Demodalism is a first step in a naturalistic argument for modal antirealism. In the fourth chapter I examine six versions of demodalism to explain why a family of formalisms: spaces of possibility, are (i) used in a quasi-ubiquitous way in mathematized sciences (I provide examples from theoretical computer science to microeconomics), (ii) scientifically interpreted in modal terms, and (iii) used for at least six important tasks: (1) defining laws and theories; (2) define important concepts from different sciences (I give several examples); (3) make essential classifications; (4) provide different types of explanations; (5) provide the connection between theory and statistics, and (6) understand the transition between a theory and its successor (as is the case with quantization procedures). In fifth chapter I propose and defend a naturalized modal ontology. This is a realism about modal structure: my realism about constraints. The modal structure of a system are the relationships between its possible states and between its possible states and those of other systems. It is given by the plurality of restrictions to which said system is subject. A constraint is a factor that explains the impossibility of a class of states; I explain this concept further. First, I defend my point of view by rejecting four of their main rivals: constructive empiricism, Humean conventionalism, wave function realism, and the primitive ontology approach, as they fail to make sense of quantum chaos. This is because the field requires the notion of an objective modal structure, and these views have trouble explaining the modal facts of quantum dynamics. Then I suggest that constraint realism supersedes these views in the context of Bohm's standard theory and mechanics, and underpins the study of quantum chaos. Finally, I consider and reject two possible problems for my point of view. A central concern of modal metaphysicians has been to understand the logical system that best characterizes necessity. In the sixth chapter I intend to recover the logical project applied to my naturalistic modal metaphysics. Scientists and philosophers of science recognize different degrees of physical necessity, ranging from purely mathematically necessary facts that significantly restrict physical behavior, to kinetic principles, to particular dynamic constraints. I argue that this motivates a multimodal approach to modal logic, and that the time dependence of dynamics motivates a logic of historical necessity. I propose multimodal propositional (classical) logics for Bohmian mechanics and the Everettian theory of many divergent worlds, and I close with a critique of Williamson's recent approach to the logic of state spaces of dynamic systems.
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Archival date: 2021-06-10
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