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Summary This is a catch-all category for theories of modality which do not fall naturally into the other categories. Notably, it includes dispositional theories of modality.
Key works Fine 1994 reduces modality to essence. Vetter 2010 reduces modality to dispositionality.
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  1. George P. Adams, J. Loewenberg & Stephen C. Pepper (1936). Possibility. Philosophical Review 45 (6):624-625.
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  2. Robert Merrihew Adams (1979). Theories of Actuality. In Michael J. Loux (ed.), The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality. Cornell University Press 190.
  3. A. Ahmed (2012). Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology, Bob Hale and Aviv Hoffmann (Eds). Mind 121 (483):817-822.
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  4. Jose Tomas Alvarado Marambio (2010). La función de los universales en metafísica modal. Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 29 (3):77-101.
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  5. José Tomás Alvarado (2009). A Causal Theory of Modality. Ideas Y Valores 58 (140):173-196.
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  6. A. R. Anderson (1958). Time and Modality. [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 36:232.
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  7. Tom Baldwin (2002). The Inaugural Address: Kantian Modality: Tom Baldwin. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 76 (1):1–24.
    Kant's claim that modality is a 'category' provides an approach to modality to be contrasted with Lewis's reductive analysis. Lewis's position is unsatisfactory, since it depends on an inherently modal conception of a world. This suggests that modality is 'primitive'; and the Kantian position is a prima facie plausible position of this kind, which is filled out by considering the relationship between modality and inference. This provides a context for comparing the Kantian position with Wright's non-cognitivist 'conventionalism'. Wright's position is (...)
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  8. Richard L. Barber (1952). A Realistic Analysis of Possibility. Review of Metaphysics 5 (3):341 - 360.
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  9. Werner Beierwaltes (1985). The Aristotelian Modal Theory. Philosophy and History 18 (2):126-127.
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  10. Max Black (1960). Possibility. Journal of Philosophy 57 (4):117-126.
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  11. George S. Boolos (2011). The Logic of Provability. Cambridge University Press.
    This book, written by one of the most distinguished of contemporary philosophers of mathematics, is a fully rewritten and updated successor to the author's earlier The Unprovability of Consistency. Its subject is the relation between provability and modal logic, a branch of logic invented by Aristotle but much disparaged by philosophers and virtually ignored by mathematicians. Here it receives its first scientific application since its invention. Modal logic is concerned with the notions of necessity and possibility. What George Boolos does (...)
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  12. George S. Boolos (2010). The Logic of Provability. Cambridge University Press.
    This book, written by one of the most distinguished of contemporary philosophers of mathematics, is a fully rewritten and updated successor to the author's earlier The Unprovability of Consistency. Its subject is the relation between provability and modal logic, a branch of logic invented by Aristotle but much disparaged by philosophers and virtually ignored by mathematicians. Here it receives its first scientific application since its invention. Modal logic is concerned with the notions of necessity and possibility. What George Boolos does (...)
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  13. Andrea Borghini (2004). Un mondo di possibilità. Realismo modale senza mondi possibili. Rivista di Estetica 26 (2):87-100.
    While preparing my suitcase for Padua, I took care to put my favorite cds in a secured spot since they could have broken along the way. Which (non-mental) fact, if any, could possibly justify my action – i.e. what, if anything, makes it the case that my cds could have broken? The paper explores the nature of possibility. The three theories most widely endorsed thus far – fictionism, actualism, and modal realism – are introduced, with a particular attention to their (...)
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  14. Andrea Borghini & Neil E. Williams (2008). A Dispositional Theory of Possibility. Dialectica 62 (1):21–41.
    – The paper defends a naturalistic version of modal actualism according to which what is metaphysically possible is determined by dispositions found in the actual world. We argue that there is just one world—this one—and that all genuine possibilities are anchored by the dispositions exemplified in this world. This is the case regardless of whether or not those dispositions are manifested. As long as the possibility is one that would obtain were the relevant disposition manifested, it is a genuine possibility. (...)
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  15. Phillip Bricker (1988). Review of The Metaphysics of Modality. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 97 (1):127-131.
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  16. John P. Burgess (2010). Review of B. Hale and A. Hoffmann (Eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (10).
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  17. Hans Burkhardt (1983). Teoría modal y lógica modal en la Escolástica y en Leibniz. Anuario Filosófico 16 (1):273-292.
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  18. Ross P. Cameron (2010). The Grounds of Necessity. Philosophy Compass 5 (4):348-358.
    Some truths are necessary, others could have been false. Why? What is the source of the distinction between the necessary and the contingent? What's so special about the necessary truths that account for their necessity? In this article, we look at some of the most promising accounts of the grounds of necessity: David Lewis' reduction of necessity to truth at all possible worlds; Kit Fine's reduction of necessity to essence; and accounts of necessity that take the distinction between the necessary (...)
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  19. Milic Capek (1951). The Doctrine of Necessity Re-Examined. Review of Metaphysics 5 (1):11 - 54.
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  20. Hugh S. Chandler (1976). Plantinga and the Contingently Possible. Analysis 36 (2):106 - 109.
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  21. Andrew Chignell (2009). Kant, Modality, and the Most Real Being. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 91 (2):157-192.
    Kant's speculative theistic proof rests on a distinction between “logical” and “real” modality that he developed very early in the pre-critical period. The only way to explain facts about real possibility, according to Kant, is to appeal to the properties of a unique, necessary, and “most real” being. Here I reconstruct the proof in its historical context, focusing on the role played by the theory of modality both in motivating the argument (in the pre-critical period) and, ultimately, in undoing it (...)
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  22. Jeffrey Scott Coombs (1990). The Truth and Falsity of Modal Propositions in Renaissance Nominalism. Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin
    During a short-lived renaissance of medieval Nominalism lasting from approximately 1480 to 1530, many Renaissance Nominalist logicians devoted a great deal of attention to the task of developing an account of the truth and falsity of modal propositions. A modal proposition is any proposition containing one or more occurrences of the four modal terms: possible, necessary, impossible, and contingent. The Nominalist account follows the general procedure outlined in William of Ockham's Summa totius logicae, the goal of which is to translate (...)
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  23. Sam Cowling (2011). The Limits of Modality. Philosophical Quarterly 61 (244):473-495.
    It is commonly assumed that all propositions have modal profiles and therefore bear their truth-values either contingently or necessarily. I argue against this commonly assumed view and in defence of amodalism, according to which certain true propositions are neither necessarily nor contingently true, but only true simpliciter. I consider three arguments against ‘possible-worlds theories’, which hold that modal concepts are to be analysed in terms of possible worlds. Although each of these arguments targets a different version of possible-worlds theory, these (...)
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  24. Kem Crimmins (2007). Transforming Necessity. Philosophy Today 51 (Supplement):148-153.
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  25. Raphael Demos (1926). Possibility and Becoming. Journal of Philosophy 23 (9):234-240.
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  26. David A. Denby (2006). In Defence of Magical Ersatzism. In Philosophical Quarterly. 161-74.
    David Lewis' objection to a generic theory of modality which he calls ‘magical ersatzism’ is that its linchpin, a relation he calls ‘selection’, must be either an internal or an external relation, and that this is unintelligible either way. But the problem he points out with classifying selection as internal is really just an instance of the general problem of how we manage to grasp underdetermined predicates, is not peculiar to magical ersatzism, and is amenable to some familiar solutions. He (...)
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  27. David A. Denby (2006). Philosophical Quarterly.
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  28. John Divers (2004). Agnosticism About Other Worlds: A New Antirealist Programme in Modality. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (3):660–685.
    The modal antirealist, as presented here, aims to secure at least some of the benefits associated with talking in genuine modal realist terms while avoiding commitment to a plurality of Lewisian (or ersatz) worlds. The antirealist stance of agnosticism about other worlds combines acceptance of Lewis's account of what world-talk means with refusal to assert, or believe in, the existence of other worlds. Agnosticism about other worlds does not entail a comprehensive agnosticism about modality, but where such agnosticism about modality (...)
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  29. Antony Eagle (2004). On Some Scientific Modalities: Propensities, Randomness and Causation. Dissertation, Princeton University
    The essays that constitute this dissertation explore three strategies for understanding the role of modality in philosophical accounts of propensities, randomness, and causation. In Chapter 1, I discuss how the following essays are to be considered as illuminating the prospects for these strategies, which I call reductive essentialism, subjectivism and pragmatism. The discussion is framed within a survey of approaches to modality more broadly construed. ;In Chapter 2, I argue that any broadly dispositional analysis of probability as a physical property (...)
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  30. David Efird (2005). Genuine Modal Realism and the Empty World. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 1 (1):21-37.
    We argue that genuine modal realism can be extended, rather than modified, so as to allow for the possibility of nothing concrete, a possibility we term ‘metaphysical nihilism’. The issue should be important to the genuine modal realist because, not only is metaphysical nihilism itself intuitively plausible, but also it is supported by an argument with pre-theoretically credible premises, namely, the subtraction argument. Given the soundness of the subtraction argument, we show that there are two ways that the genuine modal (...)
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  31. George Englebretsen (1978). A Theory of Possibility. Philosophical Studies 26 (3):267-269.
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  32. Kit Fine (2003). The Problem of Possibilia. In Michael J. Loux & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics. Oxford University Press 161-179.
    Are there, in addition to the various actual objects that make up the world, various possible objects? Are there merely possible people, for example, or merely possible electrons, or even merely possible kinds? We certainly talk as if there were such things. Given a particular sperm and egg, I may wonder whether that particular child which would result from their union would have blue eyes. But if the sperm and egg are never in fact brought together, then there is no (...)
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  33. M. Oreste Fiocco (2015). Fatalism and the Metaphysics of Contingency. In Steven M. Cahn & Maureen Eckert (eds.), Freedom and the Self: Essays on the Philosophy of David Foster Wallace. Columbia University Press 57-92.
    Contingency is the presence of non-actualized possibility in the world. Fatalism is a view of reality on which there is no contingency. Since it is contingency that permits agency, there has traditionally been much interest in contingency. This interest has long been embarrassed by the contention that simple and plausible assumptions about the world lead to fatalism. I begin with an Aristotelian argument as presented by Richard Taylor. Appreciation of this argument has been stultified by a question pertaining to the (...)
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  34. Sharon Ford (2012). Objects, Discreteness, and Pure Power Theories: George Molnar’s Critique of Sydney Shoemaker’s Causal Theory of Properties. [REVIEW] Metaphysica 13 (2):195-215.
    Sydney Shoemaker’s causal theory of properties is an important starting place for some contemporary metaphysical perspectives concerning the nature of properties. In this paper, I discuss the causal and intrinsic criteria that Shoemaker stipulates for the identity of genuine properties and relations, and address George Molnar’s criticism that holding both criteria presents an unbridgeable hypothesis in the causal theory of properties. The causal criterion requires that properties and relations contribute to the causal powers of objects if they are to be (...)
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  35. Lloyd P. Gerson (1996). Bechler, Zev. Aristotle's Theory of Actuality. Review of Metaphysics 50 (1):144-145.
  36. Thomas Gil (2007). Möglichkeiten. Parerga.
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  37. Benedikt Paul Göcke, Martin Pleitz & Hanno von Wulfen (2008). How to Kripke Brandom's Notion of Necessity. In Bernd Prien & David P. Schweikard (eds.), Robert Brandom. Analytic Pragmatist. Ontos
    In this paper we discuss Brandom's definition of necessity, which is part of the incompatibility sematnics he develops in his fifth John Locke Lecture. By comparing incompatibility semantics to standard Kripkean possible worlds semantics for modality, we motivate an alternative definition of necessity in Brandom's own terms. Our investigation of this alternative necessity will show that - contra to Brandom's own results - incompatibility semantics does not necessarily lead to the notion of necessity of the modal logic S5.
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  38. Karen Green (2016). On the Error of Treating Functions as Objects. Analysis and Metaphysics 15.
  39. Ross Harrison (1974). On What There Must Be. Clarendon Press.
    This book addresses the importance of space and time, of existence unperceived, of publicity and action, and of natural laws.
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  40. Albert Hofstadter (1957). Six Necessities. Journal of Philosophy 54 (20):597-613.
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  41. Alexander Hughes, (In)Determinism, Branching Time, and Branching Space.
    The branching time analysis grounds the possibilities entailed by temporal indeterminism in a branching temporal structure. I construct a spatial analog of the branching time analysis – the branching space analysis – according to which the possibilities entailed by spatial indeterminism are grounded in branching spatial structure. The construction proceeds in such a way as to show the analogies between the branching space and branching time analyses. I argue that the two views are a package. In particular: the theoretical virtues (...)
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  42. Lloyd Humberstone (2005). Modality. In Frank Jackson & Michael Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy. Oxford University Press
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  43. Jonathan D. Jacobs (2010). A Powers Theory of Modality: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Reject Possible Worlds. Philosophical Studies 151 (2):227-248.
    Possible worlds, concrete or abstract as you like, are irrelevant to the truthmakers for modality—or so I shall argue in this paper. First, I present the neo-Humean picture of modality, and explain why those who accept it deny a common sense view of modality. Second, I present what I take to be the most pressing objection to the neo-Humean account, one that, I argue, applies equally well to any theory that grounds modality in possible worlds. Third, I present an alternative, (...)
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  44. Ronald Burke Jager (1969). Analyticity and Necessity in Moore's Early Work. Journal of the History of Philosophy 7 (4):441-458.
  45. Michael Jubien (2009). Possibility. Oxford University Press.
    Possibility offers a new analysis of the metaphysical concepts of possibility and necessity, one that does not rely on any sort of "possible worlds." The analysis proceeds from an account of the notion of a physical object and from the positing of properties and relations. It is motivated by considerations about how we actually speak of and think of objects. Michael Jubien discusses several closely related topics, including different purported varieties of possible worlds, the doctrine of "essentialism," natural kind terms (...)
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  46. Toni Kannisto (2013). Modality and Metaphysics in Kant. In Stefano Bacin, Alfredo Ferrarin, Claudio La Rocca & Margit Ruffing (eds.), Kant und die Philosophie in weltbürgerlicher Absicht. Akten des XI. Kant-Kongresses 2010. Walter de Gruyter 633-646.
    In the presentation I will analyse Kant’s conception of modalities and consider its relevance to his critical metaphysics. With his Tables of Judgements and of Categories Kant makes an important division between two kinds of modality, of which the former is only logical and the latter transcendental, i.e., objective. Only judgements that are necessary in both ways are properly metaphysical. This distinction is important for Kant’s distinction between Transcendental Analytic and Transcendental Dialectic, i.e., between acceptable and unacceptable metaphysics. I submit (...)
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  47. Amy Karofsky (2003). God, Modalities, and Conceptualism. Philosophy and Theology 15 (2):257-271.
    God’s relationship to modalities poses a serious problem for the theist. If God determines modalities, then it seems that he can do anything. If, on the other hand, modalities determine God’s actions, then it seems that he is not genuinely free. Conceptualism offers a solution to this problem by maintaining that modalities are determined by what is conceivable for the intellects of the universe that God has chosen to create. Prior to the creation of intellects, there are no modalities restricting (...)
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  48. Nils Kürbis (2015). Proof-Theoretic Semantics, a Problem with Negation and Prospects for Modality. Journal of Philosophical Logic 44 (6):713-727.
    This paper discusses proof-theoretic semantics, the project of specifying the meanings of the logical constants in terms of rules of inference governing them. I concentrate on Michael Dummett’s and Dag Prawitz’ philosophical motivations and give precise characterisations of the crucial notions of harmony and stability, placed in the context of proving normalisation results in systems of natural deduction. I point out a problem for defining the meaning of negation in this framework and prospects for an account of the meanings of (...)
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  49. Robert Lane (2007). Peirce's Modal Shift: From Set Theory to Pragmaticism. Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (4):551-576.
    For many years, Charles Peirce maintained that all senses of the modal terms "possible" and "necessary" can be defined in terms of "states of information." But in 1896, he was motivated by his work in set theory to criticize that account of modality, and in 1905 he characterized that criticism as a return "to the Aristotelian doctrine of a real possibility ... the great step that was needed to render pragmaticism an intelligible doctrine." But since Peirce was a realist about (...)
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  50. John W. Lansing (1978). Necessity, Possible Worlds, and Whitehead's God. Modern Schoolman 55 (3):223-240.
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