Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


S4 to 5D [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 04 • Author/s: Takayashi Yagisawa
Topics: Philosophical logic

The modal logical axiom 4 is widely accepted. It is the characteristic axiom of the modal logical system S4, which is subsumed under the most popular modal logical system S5. Axiom 4 is equivalent to ◇◇P → ◇P (“If possibly possibly P, then possibly P”), which requires that the accessibility relation between worlds be transitive. There is a powerful argument (Hugh Chandler 1976, Nathan Salmon 1981, 1989) against axiom 4. It rests on the thought that an ordinary object could have had a slightly different origin from its actual origin but…

World Stories and Maximality [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 04 • Author/s: Vittorio Morato
Topics: Philosophical logic

According to many actualist conceptions of modality, talk about possible worlds should be reduced to talk about world stories. Intuitively, a world story is a complete description of how things could be. In this paper, I will claim that the world story approach not only suffers from the well-known, expressive problem of representing the thesis of the possible existence of non-actual objects, but it has troubles in representing, in an actualistically acceptable way, the apparently more tractable thesis of the possible non-existence of actual objects. To solve this problem, I…

Husserlian Intentionality and Contingent Universals [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 04 • Author/s: Nicola Spinelli
Topics: Epistemology, History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophy of language

Can one hold both that universals exist in the strongest sense (i.e., neither in language nor in thought, nor in their instances) and that they exist contingently—and still make sense? Edmund Husserl thought so. In this paper I present a version of his view regimented in terms of modal logic cum possible-world semantics. Crucial to the picture is the distinction between two accessibility relations with different structural properties. These relations are cashed out in terms of two Husserlian notions of imagination: world-bound and free. After briefly presenting the Husserlian framework—his…

Necessity First [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Alastair Wilson
Topics: 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 both views with ‘multimodal’ and ‘amodal’ alternatives, drawing on David Lewis’s modal realism and Barbara Vetter’s potentialism as example cases.…

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

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: James L.D. Brown
Topics: 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 suggestions for what a satisfactory answer to the challenge must look like.

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

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Simon Babbs, Joshua Mendelsohn
Topics: 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 them to possess. We show that Hale’s formulations are less informative than they may seem. They are all in important…

Relativized Essentialism about Modalities [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Salim Hirèche
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology, Philosophical logic

On what I call absolutist essentialism about modality (AE), the metaphysical necessities are the propositions that are true in virtue of the essence (i.e. Aristotelian, absolute essence) of some entities. Other kinds of necessity can then be defined by restriction—e.g. the conceptual necessities are the propositions that are true in virtue of the essence of conceptual entities specifically. As an account of metaphysical modality and some other kinds (e.g. logical, conceptual), AE may have important virtues. However, when it comes to accounting for further important kinds, like natural or normative…

Potentiality and Would-Counterfactuals [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Giulia Casini
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology, Philosophical logic

In her book Potentiality: From Dispositions to Modality (2015), Barbara Vetter introduces a new ontological and semantical framework for modal discourse, based on potentiality. Within this framework, Vetter attempts to formulate an embryonic semantical account for counterfactual conditionals. The aim of this paper is to discuss this tentative account of counterfactuals. Being an account at such an early stage, there are many elements and issues that could be discussed, but this work will focus only on one aspect of it. The aspect in question is the treatment of would-counterfactuals, which…