Logic for Contigent Beings

One of the logical problems with which Arthur Prior struggled is the problem of finding, in Prior’s own phrase, a “logic for contingent beings.” The difficulty is that from minimal modal principles and classical quantification theory, it appears to follow immediately that every possible object is a necessary existent. The historical development of quantified modal logic (QML) can be viewed as a series of attempts---due variously to Kripke, Prior, Montague, and the fee-logicians---to solve this problem. In this paper, I review the extant solutions, finding them all wanting. Then I suggest a new solution inspired by Kripke’s theory of rigid designation and Kaplan’s logic of demonstratives, the latter in particular. It turns out that the basic mechanism of Kaplan’s logic can be exploited to yield a version of QML that will serve as a viable logic for contingent beings. This result, as I show, sheds new light on the problems of singular negative existential propositions, the question of actualism, the question of the existence of the contingent a priori, the relation between logical truth and necessity, and various modal problems and paradoxes going back to Chrysippus, Ramsey, and Moore
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/jpr_1994_6
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
James E. Tomberlin (1996). Actualism or Possibilism? Philosophical Studies 84 (2-3):263 - 281.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Christopher Menzel (1991). The True Modal Logic. Journal of Philosophical Logic 20 (4):331 - 374.
Torben Braüner (2002). Modal Logic, Truth, and the Master Modality. Journal of Philosophical Logic 31 (4):359-386.
Peter Loptson (1980). Logic and Contingent Existence. History and Philosophy of Logic 1 (1-2):171-185.
Phillip Bricker (1989). Quantified Modal Logic and the Plural De Re. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 14 (1):372-394.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

41 ( #81,917 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

23 ( #38,308 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.