Contingent Existence and the Reduction of Modality to Essence

Mind 128 (509):39-68 (2019)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
This paper first argues that we can bring out a tension between the following three popular doctrines: (i) the canonical reduction of metaphysical modality to essence, due to Fine, (ii) contingentism, which says that possibly something could have failed to be something, and (iii) the doctrine that metaphysical modality obeys the modal logic S5. After presenting two such arguments (one from the theorems of S4 and another from the theorems of B), I turn to exploring various conclusions we might draw in light of these results, and argue that none comes cost free. In the course of laying out possible responses to my arguments, we'll have a chance to evaluate various doctrines about the interplay between contingency and essence, as well as develop some alternative reductions of metaphysical modality to essence. I don't decisively come down in favor of one response over the others, though I say some things that point towards the conclusion that essence has no role to play in reducing metaphysical modality.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
First archival date: 2017-01-18
Latest version: 3 (2018-01-17)
View upload history
References found in this work BETA

View all 36 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total views
1,296 ( #1,742 of 46,425 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
188 ( #2,441 of 46,425 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.