Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

 

Modal Normativism and De Re Modality [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Tom Donaldson, Jennifer Wang
Topics: 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 is necessarily a porcupine, or that it is possibly purple. Linguistic theories of necessity fell out of favour with the…

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.…

Necessity by Accident [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Nathan Wildman
Topics: 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 satisfied. Consequently, the associated necessities in fact have contingent necessity-makers.

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.

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…

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…

Modal Logicism and De Re Necessity [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Tobias Wilsch
Topics: 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 Skiles to develop a specific version of Logicism in some detail. The main ambition of the article is to present…

Logical Essence [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Jessica Leech
Topics: 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 essentialist view. It seems as though they must misclassify some merely metaphysical necessities as logical necessities. I argue that the…

There Could Be a Light that Never Goes Out: The Metaphysical Possibility of Disembodied Existence

Issue: Issue 06 • Author/s: Michele Paolini Paoletti
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Theoretical philosophy

According to many philosophers, even if it is metaphysically possible that I exist without my present body or without my present brain, it is not metaphysically possible that I exist without any physical support. Thus, it is not metaphysically possible that I exist in some afterlife world, where I do not have any physical support. I shall argue against such a thesis by distinguishing two different notions of physical and by examining two strategies used by those who defend the thesis. No strategy will turn out to be conclusive. Thus,…

Book Reviews

Issue: Issue 09 • Author/s: Elisa Paganini, Alfredo Tomasetta, Massimo Marraffa
Topics: book reviews, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology

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