In Defence of Hybrid Contingentism

Philosophers' Imprint 22 (4):1-30 (2022)
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Hybrid contingentism combines first-order contingentism, the view that it is contingent what individuals there are, with higher-order necessitism, the view that it is non-contingent what properties and propositions there are (where these are conceived as entities in the range of appropriate higher-order quantifiers). This combination of views avoids the most delicate problems afflicting alternative contingentist positions while preserving the central contingentist claim that ordinary, concrete entities exist contingently. Despite these attractive features, hybrid contingentism is usually faced with rejection. The main reason for this is an objection that crucially involves haecceitistic properties, properties such as being identical to Plato or being identical to Aristotle. The objection alleges that by accepting the necessary existence of such haecceities, hybrid contingentists incur an explanatory commitment that they are unable to discharge, namely that of explaining how it is that certain haecceities ‘lock onto’ their target individuals even when those individuals are absent. To defend hybrid contingentism against this charge, I first clarify the haecceities objection in several respects and consider, in particular, what notion of explanation the objection is operating with. After arguing that it can be fruitfully understood as a challenge to provide metaphysical grounds for certain haecceity facts, I develop a contingentist response to the objection that draws on recent work on the connection between ground and essence.

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Lukas Skiba
University of Bergen


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