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Modality

Edited by Tuomas E. Tahko (University of Helsinki)
About this topic
Summary In philosophical contexts, the study of modality is primarily the study of necessity and possibility. Sometimes this is expressed by talking about possible worlds, but this is to a certain extent just a façon de parler. In metaphysics, we are interested in the nature of the modal space -- are the so called possible worlds merely conventional or are they concrete, as modal realism would have it? Whatever the nature of the modal space, questions remain about the status of the different varieties of modality, and our epistemic access to modality. One central topic in recent literature concerns the ground of modal truths, that is, in virtue of what is something necessary? This is also linked to essentialism and de re modality: can we explain transworld identity in terms of essential properties, or perhaps even ground modal truths to essentialist truths?
Key works Some of the most important discussion starters regarding modality include Armstrong 1989, Fine 1994, Forbes 1985, Hale 1996, Kripke 1980, Lewis 1986, Lewis 1973, and Plantinga 1992. Some significant early work (e.g. by Adams, Chisholm, Hintikka, Kripke, Kaplan, Lewis, Plantinga, Quine, Stalnaker) on modality has been collected in volumes such as Linsky 1971, Loux 1979, and Tooley 1999. Many classic papers are also included in Plantinga 2003, Stalnaker 2003, and Fine 2005. The contemporary literature is enormous, some important contributions are Lowe 1998, Soames 2002, Williamson 2007, and Jubien 2009. For modal epistemology in particular, Gendler & Hawthorne 2002 is an excellent resource.
Introductions Chihara 1998; Divers 2002; Girle 2003; Hale & Hoffmann 2010; Melia 2003; Vaidya 2007.
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Subcategories:See also:History/traditions: Modality
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  1. Gary Bedell (1977). Necessary Truths About the World. New Scholasticism 51 (4):537-545.
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  2. Robert C. Beissel (1992). The Modality of Being. The Thomist 56:49-69.
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  3. Richard Brandt, Henry W. Johnstone, Manley Thompson & Gustav Bergmann (1952). Comments on Mr. Raab's Theses. Review of Metaphysics 6 (1):124-129.
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  4. Gordon G. Brittan Jr (ed.) (1991). Causality, Method and Modality. Kluwer.
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  5. K. Britton (1936). Possibility. [REVIEW] Mind 45:530.
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  6. Roy J. Cox (1960). Professor Hanson Imagining the Impossible. Analysis 20 (4):87 - 93.
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  7. Patrick Doherty (1996). Partiality, Modality, and Nonmonotonicity.
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  8. Jude P. Dougherty (2011). Theism and Ultimate Explanation. Review of Metaphysics 64 (3):649-651.
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  9. Stephen Downes (unknown). Models and Modality. Eidos: The Canadian Graduate Journal of Philosophy 6.
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  10. John Timlin Dunlap (1972). Models and Modality. Dissertation, University of Georgia
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  11. The Editors (1979). The Possibility of All Possibilities. Dialectics and Humanism 6 (4):105-109.
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  12. Charles Evans (1972). Salvaging Necessary Truth. Journal of Critical Analysis 4 (1):24-33.
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  13. Percival L. Everett (2005). A Modality. Symploke 12 (1):152-154.
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  14. Arthur E. Falk (1984). Selfhood, Modality, and Philosophies of Mind. Metaphilosophy 15 (2):100–111.
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  15. Hartry Field (1991). Metalogic and Modality. Philosophical Studies 62 (1):1 - 22.
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  16. Graeme Forbes (1992). Melia on Modalism. Philosophical Studies 68 (1):57 - 63.
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  17. Bas C. Van Fraassen (1972). Bressan and Suppes on Modality. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1972:323 - 330.
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  18. Kenneth T. Gallagher (1994). Possibility, Necessity, and Existence. International Philosophical Quarterly 34 (3):384-385.
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  19. Don Garrett (1995). Modalities. Review of Metaphysics 48 (3):668-669.
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  20. J. Garson (1972). Two New Interpretations of Modality. Logique Et Analyse 15:443-459.
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  21. Christopher S. Gifford (2013). Against the Modal Argument. Erkenntnis 78 (3):627-646.
    The relationship between alethic modality and indeterminacy is yet to be clarified. A modal argument—an argument that appeals to alethic modality—against vague objects given by Joseph Moore offers a potential clarification of the relationship; it is proposed that there are cases for which the following holds: if it is indeterminate whether A = B then it is possible that it is determinate that A = B. However, the argument faces three problems. The problems remove the argument’s threat against vague objects (...)
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  22. M. Glouberman (1991). Intermediate Possibility and Actuality-Cartesian Error Theory. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 65 (1):63-82.
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  23. Robert Goldblatt (1993). Mathematics of Modality.
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  24. Sven Ove Hansson (2006). The Modal Status of Philosophy. Theoria 72 (3):173-176.
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  25. Gordon B. Harding & Gary R. Rundle (1969). Long-Term Retention of Modality- and Nonmodality-Specific Habituation of the GSR. Journal of Experimental Psychology 82 (2):390.
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  26. Mark Heller (2007). 3. Worlds, Pluriverses, and Minds. Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 3:77.
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  27. Meir Hemmo (1996). Possible Worlds in the Modal Interpretation. Philosophy of Science 63 (3):337.
    An outline for a modal interpretation in terms of possible worlds is presented. The so-called Schmidt histories are taken to correspond to the physically possible worlds. The decoherence function defined in the histories formulation of quantum theory is taken to prescribe a non-classical probability measure over the set of the possible worlds. This is shown to yield dynamics in the form of transition probabilities for occurrent events in each world. The role of the consistency condition is discussed.
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  28. Henry Hiż (1961). Modalities and Extended Systems. Journal of Philosophy 58 (23):723-731.
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  29. Albert Hofstadter (1951). Explanation and Necessity. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 11 (3):339-347.
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  30. Stephen Isard & Christopher Longuet-Higgins (1973). Modal Tic-Tac-Toe. In Radu J. Bogdan & Ilkka Niiniluoto (eds.), Logic, Language, and Probability. Boston,D. Reidel Pub. Co. 189--195.
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  31. Hidé Ishiguro & John Skorupski (1980). Possibility. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 54:73 - 104.
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  32. H. M. J. (1977). Meaning and Modality. Review of Metaphysics 31 (2):323-324.
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  33. Michael Jubien (2007). 4. Analyzing Modality. Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 3:99.
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  34. Michael Jubien (2007). 1. World Weary. Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 3:99.
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  35. Toni Kannisto (forthcoming). Kant on the Necessity of Causal Relations. Kant-Studien.
    There are two traditional ways to read Kant's claim that every event necessarily has a cause: the weaker every-event some-cause (WCP) and the stronger same-cause same-effect (SCP) causal principles. The focus of the debate about whether and where he subscribes to the SCP has been in the Analogies in the Critique of Pure Reason (Guyer, Allison, and Watkins) and in the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science (Friedman). By analysing the arguments and conclusions of both the Analogies and the Postulates as (...)
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  36. Louis Osgood Kattsoff (1937). Modality and Probability. Philosophical Review 46 (1):78-85.
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  37. J. Laird, G. Dawes Hicks & W. G. de Burgh (1931). Symposium: Actuality and Value. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 10:81-134.
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  38. J. Laird, G. Hicks & W. G. de Burgh (1931). Actuality and Value. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 10:81-134.
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  39. Nicholas A. Lapara (1970). Law, Inference, and Modality. Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
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  40. Leah L. Light & Dale E. Berger (1974). Memory for Modality: Within-Modality Discrimination is Not Automatic. Journal of Experimental Psychology 103 (5):854.
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  41. Bernard Linsky (1991). Truth at a World is a Modality. Philosophia 20 (4):387-394.
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  42. Peter Long (1959). Modality and Tautology. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 60:27 - 36.
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  43. William E. Mann (1989). Modality, Morality, and God. Noûs 23 (1):83-99.
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  44. José Tomás Alvarado Marambio (2010). Espacio modal y universales estructurales máximos. Estudios de Filosofía 41:111-138.
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  45. Ruth Barcan Marcus (1996). Modalities. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (4):978-979.
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  46. Pavel Materna (2005). Ordinary Modalities. Logique Et Analyse 48 (189-192):57-70.
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  47. Peter Milne (1992). Modal Metaphysics and Comparatives. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 70 (3):248 – 262.
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  48. Gunnar Wayne Niemi (1970). Modality and Self-Reference. Dissertation, University of Michigan
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  49. John E. Nolt (1980). Abstraction and Modality. Philosophical Studies 38 (2):111-127.
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  50. Mark Nowacki & Ilya Farber, Modality for Metaphysicians and Applications.
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