Necessitism, Contingentism, and Plural Quantification

Mind 119 (475):657-748 (2010)
Abstract
Necessitism is the view that necessarily everything is necessarily something; contingentism is the negation of necessitism. The dispute between them is reminiscent of, but clearer than, the more familiar one between possibilism and actualism. A mapping often used to ‘translate’ actualist discourse into possibilist discourse is adapted to map every sentence of a first-order modal language to a sentence the contingentist (but not the necessitist) may regard as equivalent to it but which is neutral in the dispute. This mapping enables the necessitist to extract a ‘cash value’ from what the contingentist says. Similarly, a mapping often used to ‘translate’ possibilist discourse into actualist discourse is adapted to map every sentence of the language to a sentence the necessitist (but not the contingentist) may regard as equivalent to it but which is neutral in the dispute. This mapping enables the contingentist to extract a ‘cash value’ from what the necessitist says. Neither mapping is a translation in the usual sense, since necessitists and contingentists use the same language with the same meanings. The former mapping is extended to a second-order modal language under a plural interpretation of the second-order variables. It is proved that the latter mapping cannot be. Thus although the necessitist can extract a ‘cash value’ from what the contingentist says in the second-order language, the contingentist cannot extract a ‘cash value’ from some of what the necessitist says, even when it raises significant questions. This poses contingentism a serious challenge
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References found in this work BETA
Karen Bennett (2005). Two Axes of Actualism. Philosophical Review 114 (3):297-326.
Citations of this work BETA
Peter Fritz (2013). Modal Ontology and Generalized Quantifiers. Journal of Philosophical Logic 42 (4):643-678.
Gabriel Uzquiano (2011). Plural Quantification and Modality. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (2pt2):219-250.
Meghan Sullivan (2012). The Minimal A-Theory. Philosophical Studies 158 (2):149-174.

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