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.
Does necessity go all the way down?—that is, are there necessary facts such that nothing grounds their necessity? Does contingency go all the way down?—that is, are there contingent facts such that nothing grounds their contingency? Is there both ungrounded necessity and ungrounded contingency? Or does neither notion reach down to the fundamental level of…
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