This book concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The book demonstrates how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the epistemic status of large cardinal axioms, undecidable propositions, and abstraction principles in the philosophy of mathematics; to the modal (...) profile of rational intuition; and to the types of intention, when the latter is interpreted as a modal mental state. Chapter \textbf{2} argues for a novel type of expressivism based on the duality between the categories of coalgebras and algebras, and argues that the duality permits of the reconciliation between modal cognitivism and modal expressivism. I also develop a novel topic-sensitive truthmaker semantics for dynamic epistemic logic, and develop a novel dynamic epistemic two-dimensional hyperintensional semantics. Chapter \textbf{3} provides an abstraction principle for epistemic intensions. Chapter \textbf{4} advances a topic-sensitive two-dimensional truthmaker semantics, and provides three novel interpretations of the framework along with the epistemic and metasemantic. Chapter \textbf{5} applies the fixed points of the modal $\mu$-calculus in order to account for the iteration of epistemic states, by contrast to availing of modal axiom 4 (i.e. the KK principle). Chapter \textbf{6} advances a solution to the Julius Caesar problem based on Fine's `criterial' identity conditions which incorporate conditions on essentiality and grounding. Chapter \textbf{7} provides a ground-theoretic regimentation of the proposals in the metaphysics of consciousness and examines its bearing on the two-dimensional conceivability argument against physicalism. The topic-sensitive epistemic two-dimensional truthmaker semantics developed in chapter \textbf{4} is availed of in order for epistemic states to be a guide to metaphysical states in the hyperintensional setting. Chapters \textbf{8-12} provide cases demonstrating how the two-dimensional intensions of epistemic two-dimensional semantics solve the access problem in the epistemology of mathematics. Chapter \textbf{8} examines the modal commitments of abstractionism, in particular necessitism, and epistemic modality and the epistemology of abstraction. Chapter \textbf{9} examines the modal profile of $\Omega$-logic in set theory. Chapter \textbf{10} examines the interaction between topic-sensitive epistemic two-dimensional truthmaker semantics, the axioms of epistemic set theory, large cardinal axioms, the Epistemic Church-Turing Thesis, the modal axioms governing the modal profile of $\Omega$-logic, Orey sentences such as the Generalized Continuum Hypothesis, and absolute decidability. Chapter \textbf{11} avails of modal coalgebraic automata to interpret the defining properties of indefinite extensibility, and avails of epistemic two-dimensional semantics in order to account for the interaction of the interpretational and objective modalities thereof. Chapter \textbf{12} provides a modal logic for rational intuition and provides a hyperintensional semantics. Chapter \textbf{13} examines modal responses to the alethic paradoxes. Chapter \textbf{14} examines, finally, the modal semantics for the different types of intention and the relation of the latter to evidential decision theory. The multi-hyperintensional, topic-sensitive epistemic two-dimensional truthmaker semantics developed in chapters \textbf{2} and \textbf{4} is applied in chapters \textbf{7}, \textbf{8}, \textbf{10}, \textbf{11}, \textbf{12}, and \textbf{14}. (shrink)
Dugundji proved in 1940 that most parts of standard modal systems cannot be characterized by a single finite deterministic matrix. In the eighties, Ivlev proposed a semantics of four-valued non-deterministic matrices (which he called quasi-matrices), in order to characterize a hierarchy of weak modal logics without the necessitation rule. In a previous paper, we extended some systems of Ivlev’s hierarchy, also proposing weaker six-valued systems in which the (T) axiom was replaced by the deontic (D) axiom. In this paper, we (...) propose even weaker systems, by eliminating both axioms, which are characterized by eight-valued non-deterministic matrices. In addition, we prove completeness for those new systems. It is natural to ask if a characterization by finite ordinary (deterministic) logical matrices would be possible for all those Ivlev-like systems. We will show that finite deterministic matrices do not characterize any of them. (shrink)
A modal logic for representing analogical proportions is presented. This logic is a modal interpretation of H. Prade and G. Richard's homogeneous analogy. A tableaux system is given with some examples an intuitions.
This paper provides a semantic analysis of the particles afinal (European Portuguese) and alla fine (Italian) in terms of the notion of truth unpersistence, which can be situated at the intersection of epistemic modality and discourse structure. In the analysis proposed, the particles are propositional operators and require that the truth of a proposition p* fail to persist through a temporal succession of epistemic states, this proposition being incompatible with the prejacent, and that the interlocutors share knowledge of a (...) previous epistemic attitude toward p*. We analyze two main cases (plan-related and non plan-related propositions) and also show that these particles are indexical to one (or more) epistemic agent(s) and allow for shifts in perspective. (shrink)
A brief overview of the system S5 in modal logic as defined by Brian F. Chellas, author of "Modal Logic: An Introduction." The history and usage of modal logic are given mention, along with some applications. Very much a draft. Written for PhileInSophia on July 5, 2021.
In this paper I introduce the idea of a higher-order modal logic—not a modal logic for higher-order predicate logic, but rather a logic of higher-order modalities. “What is a higher-order modality?”, you might be wondering. Well, if a first-order modality is a way that some entity could have been—whether it is a mereological atom, or a mereological complex, or the universe as a whole—a higher-order modality is a way that a first-order modality could have been. First-order (...)modality is modeled in terms of a space of possible worlds—a set of worlds structured by an accessibility relation, i.e., a relation of relative possibility—each world representing a way that the entire universe could have been. A second-order modality would be modeled in terms of a space of spaces of (first-order) possible worlds, each space representing a way that (first-order) possible worlds could have been. And just as there is a unique actual world which represents the way that things actually are, there is a unique actual space which represents the way that first-order modality actually is. -/- One might wonder what the accessibility relation itself is like. Presumably, if it is logical or metaphysical modality that is being dealt with, it is reflexive; but is it also symmetric, or transitive? Especially in the case of metaphysical modality, the answer is not clear. And whichever of these properties it may or may not have, could that itself have been different? Could at least some rival modal logics represent different ways that first-order modality could have been? -/- To be clear, the idea behind my proposal is not just that some things which are possible or necessary might not have been so at the first order, as determined by the actual accessibility relation, but also that the actual accessibility relation, and hence the nature or structure of actual modality, could have been different at some higher order of modality. Even if the accessibility relation is actually both symmetric and transitive, perhaps it could (second-order) have been otherwise: There is a (second-order) possible space of worlds in which it is different, where it fails to be symmetric, or transitive. We must, therefore, introduce the notion of a higher-order accessibility relation, one that in this case relates spaces of first-order worlds. The question then arises as to whether that relation is symmetric, or transitive. We can then consider third-order modalities, spaces of spaces of spaces of possible worlds, where the second-order accessibility relation differs from how it actually is. I can see no reason why there should be a limit to this hierarchy of higher-order modalities, any more than I can see a reason why there should be a limit to the hierarchy of higher-order properties. There will thus be an infinity of orders, one for each positive integer, and each order will have an accessibility relation of its own. To keep things as clear as possible, a space of first-order points (i.e., of possible worlds) shall be called a galaxy, a space of second-order points, a universe, and a space of any higher order, a cosmos. However, to keep things as simple as possible, in what follows I will deal with but a single cosmos, and hence will not deal with modalities higher than the third order. -/- The accessibility relation is not the only thing that might be thought to vary between spaces of worlds: Perhaps the contents of the spaces can vary as well. While I presume that the contents of the worlds themselves remain constant—it makes doubtful sense to suppose that in one space some entity e exists in a world w and in another space e doesn’t exist in that same world w—we may suppose that different spaces differ as to which worlds they contain, just as different worlds may differ as to which objects they contain. Thus we might have a higher-order analogue of a variable-domain modal logic. There seem, then, to be three ways in which spaces can differ: First, as to the properties of the accessibility relation; second, as to which worlds the relation relates; and third, as to which worlds or spaces are parts of their domains. -/- The paper will be structured as follows. In Section 2 I provide some reasons why one might want to pursue this kind of project in the first place. In Section 3 I outline the syntax and semantics of my proposed logic. Section 4 covers semantic tableaux for this system; and after giving the rules for their construction, I construct a few of them myself to establish some logical consequences of the system and give the reader a feel for how it works. In Sections 5, 6 and 7 I explore some of its potential philosophical implications for areas besides logic, namely the philosophy of language; metaphysics, including the metaphysics of modality and the philosophy of time, and finally the philosophy of religion, before concluding the paper in Section 8. (shrink)
Some natural languages do not lexically distinguish between modals of possibility and modals of necessity. From the perspective of languages like English, modals in such languages appear to do double duty: they are used both where possibility modals are expected and where necessity modals are expected. The Nez Perce modal suffix o’qa offers an example of this behavior. I offer a simple account of the flexibility of the o’qa modal centered on the absence of scalar implicatures. O’qa is a possibility (...) modal that does not belong to a Horn scale; its use is never associated with a scalar implicature. Accordingly, in an upward entailing environment, φ-o’qa is appropriate whenever there are accessible φ-worlds, even if indeed all accessible worlds are φ-worlds. In a downward entailing environment, the flexibility of the o’qa modal is seen no more. Here, neither o’qa nor English possibility modals are associated with scalar implicatures, and the use of o’qa exactly parallels the use of English modals of possibility. -/- Given that o’qa is a possibility modal that does not contrast with a modal of necessity, just how do you talk about necessities in Nez Perce? Speakers translating into Nez Perce rely on a variety of techniques to paraphrase expressions of simple necessity away. Their strategies highlight an area where Nez Perce and English plausibly differ in the range of propositions they convey. The data cast doubt on any strong form of effability as a language universal. (shrink)
I distinguish (§1) two projects in modal epistemology—one about how we come to know modal truths, and one about why we have the ability so to come to know. The latter, I suggest, (§§2–3) is amenable to an evolutionary treatment in terms of general capacities developed to evaluate quotidian modal claims. I compare (§4) this approach to a recent suggestion in a similar spirit by Christopher Hill and Timothy Williamson, emphasizing counterfactual conditionals instead of quotidian modals; I argue that while (...) there are some reasons to prefer the quotidian modals approach, there are none favoring the Hill/Williamson counterfactual approach. I conclude (§5) with a suggestion that the remaining questions both approaches leave unanswered ought not to be too troubling. (shrink)
Divers (2014) presents a set of de re modal truths which, he claims, are inconvenient for Lewisean modal realism. We argue that there is no inconvenience for Lewis.
In the middle of the last century, it was common to explain the notion of necessity in linguistic terms. A necessary truth, it was said, is a sentence whose truth is guaranteed by linguistic rules. Quine famously argued that, on this view, de re modal claims do not make sense. “Porcupettes are porcupines” is necessarily true, but it would be a mistake to say of a particular porcupette that it is necessarily a porcupine, or that it is possibly purple. Linguistic (...) theories of necessity fell out of favour with the publication of Kripke’s Naming and Necessity, and Quine’s arguments were put aside. In her recent book, Norms and Necessity, Amie Thomasson presents her modal normativism, which is an updated version of the mid-century theories just described. Quine’s arguments are thus relevant once again. We recapitulate Quine’s central argument, in the context of modal normativism. We then criticise Amie Thomasson’s discussion of de re modality. We finish by briefly presenting an alternative account of de re modal statements, which is compatible with modal normativism. (shrink)
We argue that genuine modal realism can be extended, rather than modified, so as to allow for the possibility of nothing concrete, a possibility we term ‘metaphysical nihilism’. The issue should be important to the genuine modal realist because, not only is metaphysical nihilism itself intuitively plausible, but also it is supported by an argument with pre-theoretically credible premises, namely, the subtraction argument. Given the soundness of the subtraction argument, we show that there are two ways that the genuine modal (...) realist can accommodate metaphysical nihilism: (i) by allowing for worlds containing only spatiotemporal points and (ii) by allowing for a world containing nothing but the null individual. On methodological grounds, we argue that the genuine modal realist should reject the former way but embrace the latter way. (shrink)
My topic is moderate modal skepticism in the spirit of Peter van Inwagen. Here understood, this is a conservative version of modal empiricism that severely limits the extent to which an ordinary agent can reasonably believe “exotic” possibility claims. I offer a novel argument in support of this brand of skepticism: modal skepticism grounds an attractive (and novel) reply to Humean skepticism. Thus, I propose that modal skepticism be accepted on the basis of its theoretical utility as a tool for (...) dissolving philosophical paradox. (shrink)
This collection highlights the new trend away from rationalism and toward empiricism in the epistemology of modality. Accordingly, the book represents a wide range of positions on the empirical sources of modal knowledge. Readers will find an introduction that surveys the field and provides a brief overview of the work, which progresses from empirically-sensitive rationalist accounts to fully empiricist accounts of modal knowledge. Early chapters focus on challenges to rationalist theories, essence-based approaches to modal knowledge, and the prospects for (...) naturalizing modal epistemology. The middle chapters present positive accounts that reject rationalism, but which stop short of advocating exclusive appeal to empirical sources of modal knowledge. The final chapters mark a transition toward exclusive reliance on empirical sources of modal knowledge. They explore ways of making similarity-based, analogical, inductive, and abductive arguments for modal claims based on empirical information. Modal epistemology is coming into its own as a field, and this book has the potential to anchor a new research agenda. (shrink)
Communication facilitates coordination, but coordination might fail if there's too much uncertainty. I discuss a scenario in which vagueness-driven uncertainty undermines the possibility of publicly sharing a belief. I then show that asserting an epistemic modal sentence, 'Might p', can reveal the speaker's uncertainty, and that this may improve the chances of coordination despite the lack of a common epistemic ground. This provides a game-theoretic rationale for epistemic modality. The account draws on a standard relational semantics for epistemic (...) class='Hi'>modality, Stalnaker's theory of assertion as informative update, and a Bayesian framework for reasoning under uncertainty. (shrink)
A primary challenge from the relativist to the contextualist about epistemic modals is to explain eavesdropping data—i.e., why the eavesdropper is inclined to judge the speaker as having uttered an epistemic modal falsehood (when she is so inclined), even though the speaker’s utterance is true according to reasonable contextualist truth conditions. The issue turns in large part on the strength and shape of the data, both of which are in dispute. One complaint is that an eavesdropper’s truth value judgments fluctuate (...) with variations of non- epistemic fact (even after the relevant epistemic/information states are determined). The project here is to strengthen and reframe this complaint in a debate-neutral way, and to show how a sober contextualism can uniformly accommodate it and the standard eavesdropping data. Along the way we reject John Hawthorne’s danger-theoretic explanation of these subtleties. (shrink)
Epistemic modal operators give rise to something very like, but also very unlike, Moore's paradox. I set out the puzzling phenomena, explain why a standard relational semantics for these operators cannot handle them, and recommend an alternative semantics. A pragmatics appropriate to the semantics is developed and interactions between the semantics, the pragmatics, and the definition of consequence are investigated. The semantics is then extended to probability operators. Some problems and prospects for probabilistic representations of content and context are explored.
The subject of the first section is Carnapian modal logic. One of the things I will do there is to prove that certain description principles, viz. the ''self-predication principles'', i.e. the principles according to which a descriptive term satisfies its own descriptive condition, are theorems and that others are not. The second section will be devoted to Carnapian modal arithmetic. I will prove that, if the arithmetical theory contains the standard weak principle of induction, modal truth collapses to truth. Then (...) I will propose a different formulation of Carnapian modal arithmetic and establish that it is free of collapse. Noteworthy is that one can retain the standard strong principle of induction. I will occupy myself in the third section with Carnapian epistemic logic and arithmetic. Here too it is claimed that the standard weak principle of induction is invalid and that the alternative principle is valid. In the fourth and last section I will get back to the self-predication principles and I will point to some of the consequences if one adds them to Carnapian Epistemic arithmetic. The interaction of self-predication principles and the strong principle of induction results in a collapse of de re knowability. (shrink)
The paper compares the suitability of two different epistemologies of counterfactuals—(EC) and (W)—to elucidate modal knowledge. I argue that, while both of them explain the data on our knowledge of counterfactuals, only (W)—Williamson’s epistemology—is compatible with all counterpossibles being true. This is something on which Williamson’s counterfactual-based account of modal knowledge relies. A first problem is, therefore, that, in the absence of further, disambiguating data, Williamson’s choice of (W) is objectionably biased. A second, deeper problem is that (W) cannot satisfactorily (...) elucidate modal knowledge. Third, from a naturalistic perspective, the nature of this second problem favours (EC) against (W). (shrink)
Some central epistemological notions are expressed by sentential operators O that entail the possibility of knowledge in the sense that 'Op' entails 'It is possible to know that p'. We call these modal-epistemological notions. Using apriority and being in a position to know as case studies, we argue that the logics of modal epistemological notions are extremely weak. In particular, their logics are not normal and do not include any closure principles.
The Moving Spotlight Theory (MST) combines three theses: first, that there is an absolute present time; second, that always, everything exists eternally; and third, that exactly one fundamental property is temporary. In this paper, I argue that MST so defined can be combined with a reductive analysis of the tense operators (i.e. properties of propositions like being past), which I call the 'Modal Analysis'. According to the Modal Analysis, for it to be the case that at a time t, p (...) is for it to be the case that p is necessitated by some fact not about fundamental presentness -- in effect, some permanent fact -- and the proposition that t is the present time. I argue that the Modal Analysis can be thought of as a spelling-out in more fundamental terms of an analysis of the tense operators due to Parsons (2002), which I call the 'Counterfactual Analysis'. Like the Counterfactual Analysis, the Modal Analysis has the virtue of securing the truth of Temporalism (the view that there are temporary propositions) given MST. I show that the Modal Analysis also secures some of the basic principles of standard linear tense logic. (shrink)
In this paper the propositional logic LTop is introduced, as an extension of classical propositional logic by adding a paraconsistent negation. This logic has a very natural interpretation in terms of topological models. The logic LTop is nothing more than an alternative presentation of modal logic S4, but in the language of a paraconsistent logic. Moreover, LTop is a logic of formal inconsistency in which the consistency and inconsistency operators have a nice topological interpretation. This constitutes a new proof of (...) S4 as being "the logic of topological spaces", but now under the perspective of paraconsistency. (shrink)
This paper motivates and develops a novel semantic framework for deontic modals. The framework is designed to shed light on two things: the relationship between deontic modals and substantive theories of practical rationality and the interaction of deontic modals with conditionals, epistemic modals and probability operators. I argue that, in order to model inferential connections between deontic modals and probability operators, we need more structure than is provided by classical intensional theories. In particular, we need probabilistic structure that interacts directly (...) with the compositional semantics of deontic modals. However, I reject theories that provide this probabilistic structure by claiming that the semantics of deontic modals is linked to the Bayesian notion of expectation. I offer a probabilistic premise semantics that explains all the data that create trouble for the rival theories. (shrink)
This note identifies and corrects some problems in developments of the thesis that predictive expressions, such as English "will", are modals. I contribute a new argument supporting Cariani and Santorio's recent claim that predictive expressions are non-quantificational modals. At the same time, I improve on their selectional semantics by fixing an important bug. Finally, I show that there are benefits to be reaped by integrating the selection semantics framework with standard ideas about the future orientation of modals.
The philosophy of necessity and possibility has flourished in the last half-century, but much less attention has been paid to the question of how we know what can be the case and what must be the case. Many friends of modal metaphysics and many enemies of modal metaphysics have agreed that while empirical discoveries can tell us what is the case, they cannot shed much light on what must be the case or on what non-actual possibilities there are. In this (...) paper, in contrast, I discuss and defend naturalistic approaches to discovering the facts about necessity and possibility. After some remarks about what methodological naturalism in philosophy might amount to, I argue that naturalistic method in modal investigations may not need to be particularly revisionary of much of what is currently being done in modal investigation. I then discuss a number of respects in which a naturalistic orientation in modal investigation may improve on our current epistemic situation. (shrink)
This is an introduction to the topic of modality in philosophy. Theories of modality seek to explain possibility and necessity in the various ways they come up in our ordinary understanding of the world and in our systematic theorising. Topics covered include distinguishing types of necessity and possibility; possible worlds and their use; de re possibility and necessity; and how we discover modal truths.
Given quasi-realism, the claim is that any attempt to naturalise modal epistemology would leave out absolute necessity. The reason, according to Simon Blackburn, is that we cannot offer an empirical psychological explanation for why we take any truth to be absolutely necessary, lest we lose any right to regard it as absolutely necessary. In this paper, I argue that not only can we offer such an explanation, but also that the explanation won’t come with a forfeiture of the involved necessity. (...) Using ‘squaring the circle’ as evidence, I show that, contrary to quasi-realism, absolute necessity won’t be left out in attempts to naturalise modal epistemology. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: The modal systems of the Stoic logician Chrysippus and the two Hellenistic logicians Philo and Diodorus Cronus have survived in a fragmentary state in several sources. From these it is clear that Chrysippus was acquainted with Philo’s and Diodorus’ modal notions, and also that he developed his own in contrast of Diodorus’ and in some way incorporated Philo’s. The goal of this paper is to reconstruct the three modal systems, including their modal definitions and modal theorems, and to make (...) clear the exact relations between them; moreover, to elucidate the philosophical reasons that may have led Chrysippus to modify his predessors’ modal concept in the way he did. It becomes apparent that Chrysippus skillfully combined Philo’s and Diodorus’ modal notions, with making only a minimal change to Diodorus’ concept of possibility; and that he thus obtained a modal system of modalities (logical and physical) which fit perfectly fit into Stoic philosophy. (shrink)
There has been much discussion of powers or real dispositions in the past decade, but there remains an issue that has been inadequately treated. This concerns the precise modal value that comes with dispositionality. We contend in this paper that dispositionality involves a non-alethic, sui generis, irreducible modality. Dispositions only tend towards their manifestations; they do not necessitate them. Tendency is, of course, a dispositional term itself, so this last statement offers little by way of illumination. But given our (...) thesis on the irreducible nature of dispositionality, we maintain that it cannot be explicated correctly in non-dispositional terms. Nevertheless, we all have experience of dispositionality at work, through the exercise or our own powers and the action of other powers upon us. The notion of dispositionality that we acquire is one that involves a modality stronger than pure contingency but weaker than necessity. The recognition of this distinct modal value for dispositionality is one of the biggest oversights in the growing literature in the area. Yet it is there for all to see in even the most mundane example. (shrink)
The integration challenge for modality states that metaphysical theories of modality tend to fail in one of two ways: either they render the meanings of modal sentences mysterious, or they render modal knowledge mysterious. I argue that there are specific semantic and epistemic constraints on metaphysics implied by the integration challenge and that a plausible metaphysical theory of modality will satisfy both of them. I further argue that no popular metaphysical theory of modality simultaneously satisfies both (...) of the constraints. Therefore, a new metaphysical theory of modality is needed, one that can offer a clear response to the integration challenge. I attempt to supply the needed theory and show that it satisfies the constraints of the integration challenge. The overall result is an argument for a new and unique metaphysical theory of modality that I call constructionism. (shrink)
In this article, we discuss a simple argument that modal metaphysics is misconceived, and responses to it. Unlike Quine’s, this argument begins with the banal observation that there are different candidate interpretations of the predicate ‘could have been the case’. This is analogous to the observation that there are different candidate interpretations of the predicate ‘is a member of’. The argument then infers that the search for metaphysical necessities is misguided in much the way the ‘set-theoretic pluralist’ (Clarke-Doane & Hamkins (...) [2017]) claims that the search for the true axioms of set theory is. We show that the obvious responses to this argument fail. However, a new response has emerged that purports to prove, from higher order logical principles, that metaphysical possibility is the broadest kind of possibility applying to propositions, and is to that extent special. We distill two lines of reasoning from the literature, and argue that their import depends on premises that a ‘modal pluralist’ should deny. Both presuppose that there is a unique typed hierarchy, which is what the modal pluralist, in the context of higher-order logic, should disavow. In other words, both presupposes that there is a unique candidate for what higher-order claims could mean. We consider the worry that, in a higher-order setting, modal pluralism faces an insuperable problem of articulation, collapses into modal monism, is vulnerable to the Russell-Myhill paradox, or even contravenes the truism that there is a unique actual world, and argue that these worries are misplaced. We also sketch the bearing of the resulting ‘Higher Order Pluralism’ on the theory of content. One upshot is that, if Higher Order Pluralism is true, then there is no fixed metatheory from which to characterize higher order reality. (shrink)
Boris Kment takes a new approach to the study of modality that emphasises the origin of modal notions in everyday thought. He argues that the concepts of necessity and possibility originate in counterfactual reasoning, which allows us to investigate explanatory connections. Contrary to accepted views, explanation is more fundamental than modality.
I present a case for a rapprochement between aspects of rationalism and scientific realism, by way of a general framework employing modal epistemology and elements of 2-dimensional semantics (2DS). My overall argument strategy is meta-inductive: The bulk of this paper establishes a “base case,” i.e., a concretely constructive example by which I demonstrate this linkage. The base case or constructive example acts as the exemplar for generating, in a constructively ‘bottom-up’ fashion, a more generally rigorous case for rationalism-realism qua modal (...) epistemology. The exemple I choose in D. Chalmers’ (2002) modal rationalism and R. Giere’s (1985, 1988) constructive realism. I show by way of a thorough analysis how Giere’s claims concerning modal scope are characterized as instances of Chalmers’ modal rationalism, both weak and strong. In essence, as I demonstrate via Chalmers’ notions, ceteris paribus the constructive realist ultimately opts for a comparatively wider gate, characterized by modal reasoning, to lead from the rooms of conceivability qua thought experiments and models, to the pastures of metaphysical possibility. Chalmers likewise tries to erect such a wider gate, in his general conceivability-possibility theses. Anti-realists, on the other hand, see a narrower passage and my contention herein is that they suffer from modal myopia, which hopefully the ‘corrective vision’ of Chalmers’ modal rationalism can restore. In the introduction and concluding sections I sketch out suggestions of constructing ‘inductive steps’ from my base case, to generate more extensively general claims regarding realism qua rationalism. -/- . (shrink)
There is a common assumption in the semantics of modal auxiliaries in natural language; in utterances of MOD φ , where MOD is a modal and φ is the prejacent, context determines the particular flavor of modality expressed by the modal. Such is the standard contextualist semantics of Kratzer and related proposals. This winds up being a problem, because there is a significant class of modals which have constraints on the admissible modal flavor that are not traceable to context. (...) For example, in MUST φ , subsentential properties of φ, like the aspectual class of the predicate in the prejacent, can affect the flavor of MUST. By encoding the above assumption into the semantics, such contextualist accounts fail to be able to explain, much less to predict, this pattern. Worse yet, attempts to exploit the resources of the theory in service of an explanation run afoul of important commitments of the view, like the hypothesis that modals have a uniform semantics. Given these circumstances, these data might seem like a justification for dispensing with the uniformity hypothesis. The present paper lays out the above problem in detail. Against the pessimistic view, I argue that the the contextualist account can in fact explain and predict these patterns while preserving the uniformity hypothesis. This requires adopting an amendment to the semantics of modals based on the work of Valentine Hacquard. Aside from maintaining the contextualist paradigm and preserving uniformity, the proposal also clarifies the role of context in the interpretation of modals. As it will turn out, the role of context ought to be circumscribed in its flavor-determining role for modals. (shrink)
Abstract Timothy Williamson has recently proposed to undermine modal skepticism by appealing to the reducibility of modal to counterfactual logic ( Reducibility ). Central to Williamson’s strategy is the claim that use of the same non-deductive mode of inference ( counterfactual development , or CD ) whereby we typically arrive at knowledge of counterfactuals suffices for arriving at knowledge of metaphysical necessity via Reducibility. Granting Reducibility, I ask whether the use of CD plays any essential role in a Reducibility-based reply (...) to two kinds of modal skepticism. I argue that its use is entirely dispensable, and that Reducibility makes available replies to modal skeptics which show certain propositions to be metaphysically necessary by deductive arguments from premises the modal skeptic accepts can be known. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-19 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9784-4 Authors Juhani Yli-Vakkuri, Wolfson College, Oxford University, Oxford, OX2 6UD UK Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116. (shrink)
This paper examines "moderate modal skepticism", a form of skepticism about metaphysical modality defended by Peter van Inwagen in order to blunt the force of certain modal arguments in the philosophy of religion. Van Inwagen’s argument for moderate modal skepticism assumes Yablo's (1993) influential world-based epistemology of possibility. We raise two problems for this epistemology of possibility, which undermine van Inwagen's argument. We then consider how one might motivate moderate modal skepticism by relying on a different epistemology of possibility, (...) which does not face these problems: Williamson’s (2007: ch. 5) counterfactual-based epistemology. Two ways of motivating moderate modal skepticism within that framework are found unpromising. Nevertheless, we also find a way of vindicating an epistemological thesis that, while weaker than moderate modal skepticism, is strong enough to support the methodological moral van Inwagen wishes to draw. (shrink)
In, Kosterec attempts to provide ``model-theoretic proofs'' of certain theses involving the normal modal operators $\Diamond$ and $\square$ and the truth-in-fiction operator $F$ which he then goes on to show have counterexamples in Kripke models. He concludes from this that the embedding of modal logic under the truth-in-fiction operator is unsound. We show instead that it is the ``model-theoretic proofs'' that are themselves unsound, involving illicit substitution, a subtle error that nevertheless allows us to draw an important conclusion about intensional (...) contexts and semantic equivalences. (shrink)
Triviality results threaten plausible principles governing our credence in epistemic modal claims. This paper develops a new account of modal credence which avoids triviality. On the resulting theory, probabilities are assigned not to sets of worlds, but rather to sets of information state-world pairs. The theory avoids triviality by giving up the principle that rational credence is closed under conditionalization. A rational agent can become irrational by conditionalizing on new evidence. In place of conditionalization, the paper develops a new account (...) of updating: conditionalization with normalization. (shrink)
We study the general problem of axiomatizing structures in the framework of modal logic and present a uniform method for complete axiomatization of the modal logics determined by a large family of classes of structures of any signature.
Many metaphysicians maintain that there is a close connection between essence and modality; if an object a necessarily bears property F , then it is metaphysically necessary that Fa (or, perhaps, it is metaphysically necessary that Fa if a exists). Recently, Leech (Forthcoming) has argued that this connection lacks an adequate explanation. In particular, she argues that identity doesn't explain the link between essence and modality. In contrast, I argue that identity provides the resources to undermine Leech’s explanatory (...) demand. (shrink)
The distinction of whether real or counterfactual history makes sense only post factum. However, modal history is to be defined only as ones’ intention and thus, ex-ante. Modal history is probable history, and its probability is subjective. One needs phenomenological “epoché” in relation to its reality (respectively, counterfactuality). Thus, modal history describes historical “phenomena” in Husserl’s sense and would need a specific application of phenomenological reduction, which can be called historical reduction. Modal history doubles history just as the recorded history (...) of historiography does it. That doubling is a necessary condition of historical objectivity including one’s subjectivity: whether actors’, ex-ante or historians’, post factum. The objectivity doubled by ones’ subjectivity constitute “hermeneutical circle”. (shrink)
In this article I provide and defend a solution to the problem of moral luck. The problem of moral luck is that there is a set of three theses about luck and moral blameworthiness each of which is at least prima facie plausible, but that, it seems, cannot all be true. The theses are that (1) one cannot be blamed for what happens beyond one’s control, (2) that which is due to luck is beyond one’s control, and (3) we rightly (...) blame each other for events that are due to luck. I suggest that the response which distinguishes between degree and scope of blameworthiness is promising. The main objection that one might level against this approach is that it seems to lead to the absurd conclusion that we, in the actual world, are as blameworthy as the person we could have been and who performs all sorts of heinous acts in a far away possible world. For, we in the actual world and our counterpart in a far away possible world are both such that we would perform certain heinous acts in particular circumstances. I argue that this objection can be met, namely by paying attention to the nature of luck. By using the insights into the nature of luck that have been gained by epistemologists, we can solve the problem of luck as it has been formulated by ethicists. For, epistemologists have argued that some event is due to luck only if it fails to occur in a substantial number of nearby possible worlds. I defend this account of luck and argue that the problem of moral luck can be solved if we pay attention to the nature of luck. I, therefore, call my solution to the problem of moral luck a modal solution. (shrink)
According to the thesis of modal supervenience it is impossible that two objects be alike in their actual properties but differ in their modal properties. Some have argued that the concept of supervenience is inapplicable to the modal-actual case. Some have argued that the thesis of modal supervenience is trivially true. These arguments are refuted; a thesis of the supervenience of the modal on the actual is meaningful and nontrivial. The significance of the thesis is nevertheless limited by the problem (...) of finding a nonmodal specification for the purported subvenient properties. (shrink)
This dissertation contains four independent essays addressing a cluster of related topics in the philosophy of mind. Chapter 1: “Fundamentality Physicalism” argues that physicalism can usefully be conceived of as a thesis about fundamentality. The chapter explores a variety of other potential formulations of physicalism (particularly modal formulations), contrasts fundamentality physicalism with these theses, and offers reasons to prefer fundamentality physicalism over these rivals. Chapter 2:“Modal Rationalism and the Demonstrative Reply to the Master Argument Against Physicalism” introduces the Master Argument (...) Against Physicalism and investigates its crucial premise: the inference from an a priori gap between the physical and consciousness to a lack of necessitation between the two. I argue against the strong form of modal rationalism that underwrites the master argument and offer a more moderate rationalist view. I offer a novel demonstrative reply to the master argument, according to which a connection between conscious experience and demonstratives, not dualism, is the source of the epistemic gap between consciousness and the physical. Chapter 3: “Conceptual Mastery and the Knowledge Argument” argues that Frank Jackson’s famous anti-physicalist knowledge argument featuring Mary, a brilliant neuroscientist raised in a black and white room, founders on a dilemma. Either (i) Mary cannot know the relevant experiential truths because of trivial obstacles that have no bearing on the truth of physicalism or (ii) once the obstacles have been removed, Mary can know the relevant truths. Chapter 4: “Toward a Theory of Conceptual Mastery” investigates the question “Under what conditions does a thinker fully understand, or have mastery of, a concept?” I argue against three views of conceptual mastery, according to which conceptual mastery is a matter of holding certain beliefs, being disposed to make certain inferences, or having certain intuitions. I propose and respond to objections to my own “meaning postulate view” of the conditions under which a thinker has mastery of a concept. (shrink)
I clarify some of the details of the modal theory of function I outlined in Nanay (2010): (a) I explicate what it means that the function of a token biological trait is fixed by modal facts; (b) I address an objection to my trait type individuation argument against etiological function and (c) I examine the consequences of replacing the etiological theory of function with a modal theory for the prospects of using the concept of biological function to explain mental content.
The paper outlines and immediately discusses the so-called ‘soft’ impossibility, i.e., non-logical impossibility generated by modal realism. It will be shown that although in a particular case genuine modal realism, straightforwardly applied, deems impossible a proposition that other philosophers have claimed to be (intuitively) possible, there is a variety of methodologically acceptable moves available in order to avoid the problem. The impossibility at issue is the existence of island universes. Given the Lewisian analysis there are three points at which we (...) might try to square genuine modal realism with such a controversial and problematic claim of (im)possibility, namely: a) the contraction of our pre-theoretical opinions about possibility, b) the revision of some Lewisian definitions and/or c) the extension of our ontological commitments. I shall look at each of these approaches applied to the problematic case. (shrink)
Modal logic is one of philosophy’s many children. As a mature adult it has moved out of the parental home and is nowadays straying far from its parent. But the ties are still there: philosophy is important to modal logic, modal logic is important for philosophy. Or, at least, this is a thesis we try to defend in this chapter. Limitations of space have ruled out any attempt at writing a survey of all the work going on in our field—a (...) book would be needed for that. Instead, we have tried to select material that is of interest in its own right or exemplifies noteworthy features in interesting ways. Here are some themes that have guided us throughout the writing: • The back-and-forth between philosophy and modal logic. There has been a good deal of give-and-take in the past. Carnap tried to use his modal logic to throw light on old philosophical questions, thereby inspiring others to continue his work and still others to criticise it. He certainly provoked Quine, who in his turn provided—and continues to provide—a healthy challenge to modal logicians. And Kripke’s and David Lewis’s philosophies are connected, in interesting ways, with their modal logic. Analytic philosophy would have been a lot different without modal logic! • The interpretation problem. The problem of providing a certain modal logic with an intuitive interpretation should not be conflated with the problem of providing a formal system with a model-theoretic semantics. An intuitively appealing model-theoretic semantics may be an important step towards solving the interpretation problem, but only a step. One may compare this situation with that in probability theory, where definitions of concepts like ‘outcome space’ and ‘random variable’ are orthogonal to questions about “interpretations” of the concept of probability. • The value of formalisation. Modal logic sets standards of precision, which are a challenge to—and sometimes a model for—philosophy. Classical philosophical questions can be sharpened and seen from a new perspective when formulated in a framework of modal logic. On the other hand, representing old questions in a formal garb has its dangers, such as simplification and distortion. • Why modal logic rather than classical (first or higher order) logic? The idioms of modal logic—today there are many!—seem better to correspond to human ways of thinking than ordinary extensional logic. (Cf. Chomsky’s conjecture that the NP + VP pattern is wired into the human brain.) In his An Essay in Modal Logic (1951) von Wright distinguished between four kinds of modalities: alethic (modes of truth: necessity, possibility and impossibility), epistemic (modes of being known: known to be true, known to be false, undecided), deontic (modes of obligation: obligatory, permitted, forbidden) and existential (modes of existence: universality, existence, emptiness). The existential modalities are not usually counted as modalities, but the other three categories are exemplified in three sections into which this chapter is divided. Section 1 is devoted to alethic modal logic and reviews some main themes at the heart of philosophical modal logic. Sections 2 and 3 deal with topics in epistemic logic and deontic logic, respectively, and are meant to illustrate two different uses that modal logic or indeed any logic can have: it may be applied to already existing (non-logical) theory, or it can be used to develop new theory. (shrink)
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