Probability and Tempered Modal Eliminativism

History and Philosophy of Logic 25 (4):305-318 (2004)
Abstract
In this paper the strategy for the eliminative reduction of the alethic modalities suggested by John Venn is outlined and it is shown to anticipate certain related contemporary empiricistic and nominalistic projects. Venn attempted to reduce the alethic modalities to probabilities, and thus suggested a promising solution to the nagging issue of the inclusion of modal statements in empiricistic philosophical systems. However, despite the promise that this suggestion held for laying the ‘ghost of modality’ to rest, this general approach, tempered modal eliminativism, is shown to be inadequate for that task.

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