Kripke on Necessity - A Metaphysical Investigation

Dissertation, Lund University (2005)
Abstract
I undertake a metaphysical investigation of Saul Kripke's modern classic, Naming and Necessity (1980). The general problem of my study may be expressed as follows: What is the metaphysical justification of the validity and existence of the pertinent classes of truths, the necessary a posteriori and the contingent a priori, according to the Kripke Paradigm? My approach is meant to disclose the logical and ontological principles underlying Kripke's arguments for the necessary a posteriori and the contingent a priori respectively. The results of my study are to a certain extent negative: They attempt to show that the classes of the necessary a posteriori and the contingent a priori statements cannot possibly be valid. If the general argument of this thesis is sound, then, on this ground, the realist conception of metaphysical essentialism is rejected. The positive thesis of this study is the articulation of certain ways to frame the necessary a posteriori and the contingent a priori which avoid the problems of realistic essentialism and which suggest a certain transcendental reading of modality. According to the Kripke Paradigm, any de dicto modal status (of a statement) derives ultimately from the de re modality inherent in the object designated, as the object is characterised by contingent and necessary properties on the ontological level. Thus, the Kripke Paradigm is primarily a thesis in de re realist essentialism. The final verdict in this study is that the Kripke Paradigm cannot sustain the realistic conception of de re metaphysical essentialism. If we should adopt a transcendental reading of modality, then certain portions of the Kripke Paradigm are valid. I do not delineate or possess the details of a comprehensive doctrine of transcendental metaphysic. Nevertheless, the observations I make should suffice to bring about the rough orientation of how I conceive the notion of transcendental modality
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