Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

Tom Donaldson, Jennifer Wang in Issue 14

Modal Normativism and De Re Modality [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology

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…

Alastair Wilson in Issue 14

Necessity First [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology

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…

Nathan Wildman in Issue 14

Necessity by Accident [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology

General consensus has it that contingencies lack the requisite modal umph to serve as explanations for the modal status of necessities. The central aim of this paper is to show that this received opinion is incorrect: contingent necessity-makers are in fact possible. To do so, I identify certain conditions the satisfaction of which entail the possibility of contingent necessity-makers. I then argue for two broad instances where these conditions are…

James L.D. Brown in Issue 14

Can a Necessity Be the Source of Necessity? [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology

This paper asks whether a necessity can be the source of necessity. According to an influential argument due to Simon Blackburn, it cannot. This paper argues that although Blackburn fails to show that a necessity cannot be the source of necessity, extant accounts fail to establish that it is, with particular focus on Bob Hale’s essentialist theory and Christopher Peacocke’s ‘principle-based’ theory of modality. However, the paper makes some positive…

William Bondi Knowles in Issue 14

On Blackburn’s Dilemma and the “Antinaturalistic Core” of Necessity [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology

Blackburn’s dilemma (as commonly understood) is that in explaining truths of the form ‘Necessarily-P’ we have to appeal either to a necessary truth, in which case we don’t seem to make the right kind of progress, or to a contingent truth, in which case we seem to undermine the necessity we were meant to be explaining. This paper advances two claims. First, it is argued that the dilemma is wider…

Simon Babbs, Joshua Mendelsohn in Issue 14

Hale on Logical and Absolute Necessity: What You Put In Is What You Get Out [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology

What does it take for a necessity operator to capture an absolute as opposed to merely relative sense of necessity? Bob Hale (2013) delineates and formalizes three conceptions of absolute necessity, which he takes to be co-extensive, and to permit non-logical, absolutely necessary truths. We raise problems with Hale’s three conceptions of absolute necessity, both on their own terms and as regards the compatibility of all the features Hale wants…

Tobias Wilsch in Issue 14

Modal Logicism and De Re Necessity [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology

This article introduces Logicism about Necessity as a competitor to the currently popular Essentialism. The main point of contention between the two views concerns the ultimate source of metaphysical necessity. Essentialists take essences to ultimately ground metaphysical necessity, Logicists take logic to play that role. I provide some support for the claim that one of these two views is correct, and I use recent material from Fabrice Correia and Alex…

Jessica Leech in Issue 14

Logical Essence [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology, Philosophical logic

An increasingly popular view at the intersection of logic and metaphysics is that logical necessities have their source in the essences of logical entities: metaphysical necessity has its source in the essences or natures of things, and logical necessity is a restriction of metaphysical necessity. But logical and metaphysical necessity are, nevertheless, importantly distinct: there are metaphysical necessities that are not logical necessities. I raise a serious problem for this…

Michael Wallner in Issue 14

Essence, Necessity, and Non-Generative Metaphysical Explanation [Special Issue]

Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology, Philosophical logic

Finean essentialists take metaphysical necessity to be metaphysically explained by essence. But whence the explanatory power of essence? A recent wave of criticism against the Finean account has put pressure on essentialists to answer this question. Wallner and Vaidya (2020) have responded by offering an axiomatic account of the explanatory power of essence. This paper discusses their account in light of some recent criticism by Bovey (2022). Building on work…