There are brute necessities

Philosophical Quarterly 60 (238):149-159 (2010)
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Abstract

A necessarily true sentence is 'brute' if it does not rigidly refer to anything and if it cannot be reduced to a logical truth. The question of whether there are brute necessities is an extremely natural one. Cian Dorr has recently argued for far-reaching metaphysical claims on the basis of the principle that there are no brute necessities: he initially argued that there are no non-symmetric relations, and later that there are no abstract objects at all. I argue that there are nominalistically acceptable brute necessities, and that Dorr's arguments thus fail. My argument is an application of Gödel's first incompleteness theorem.

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Bruno Whittle
University of Wisconsin, Madison

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