Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


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

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: William Bondi Knowles
Topics: 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 in scope than usually supposed. The standard assumption (evident also in Blackburn’s original paper (1993)) is that the dilemma applies…