Necessity First

Argumenta 14 (2022)
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My topic in this paper is the relationships of metaphysical priority which might hold between the different alethic modal statuses—necessity, contingency, possibility and impossibility. In particular, I am interested in exploring the view that the necessity of necessities is ungrounded while the contingency of contingencies is grounded—a scenario I call ‘necessity first’. I will explicate and scrutinize the contrast between necessity first and its ‘contingency first’ contrary, and then compare both views with ‘multimodal’ and ‘amodal’ alternatives, drawing on David Lewis’s modal realism and Barbara Vetter’s potentialism as example cases. I will then defend the necessity-first point of view from a reversed version of Blackburn’s classic dilemma against theories of the source of necessity.

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Alastair Wilson
University of Leeds


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