According to David Lewis, a realist about possible worlds must hold that actuality is relative: the worlds are ontologically all on a par; the actual and the merely possible differ, not absolutely, but in how they relate to us. Call this 'Lewisian realism'. The alternative, 'Leibnizian realism', holds that actuality is an absolute property that marks a distinction in ontological status. Lewis presents two arguments against Leibnizian realism. First, he argues that the Leibnizian realist cannot account for the (...) contingency of actuality. Second, he argues that the Leibnizian realist cannot explain why skepticism about one's own actuality is absurd. In this paper, I mount a defense of Leibnizian realism. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with a propositional modal logic with operators for necessity, actuality and apriority. The logic is characterized by a class of relational structures deﬁned according to ideas of epistemic two-dimensional semantics, and can therefore be seen as formalizing the relations between necessity, actuality and apriority according to epistemic two-dimensional semantics. We can ask whether this logic is correct, in the sense that its theorems are all and only the informally valid formulas. This paper gives outlines (...) of two arguments that jointly show that this is the case. The first is intended to show that the logic is informally sound, in the sense that all of its theorems are informally valid. The second is intended to show that it is informally complete, in the sense that all informal validities are among its theorems. In order to give these arguments, a number of independently interesting results concerning the logic are proven. In particular, the soundness and completeness of two different proof systems with respect to the semantics is proven (Theorems 2.11. and 2.15.), as well as a normal form theorem (Theorem 3.23.), an elimination theorem for the actuality operator (Corollary 3.27.), and the decidability of the logic (Corollary 3.28.). (shrink)
John MacFarlane has recently presented a novel argument in support of truth- relativism. According to this, contextualists fail to accommodate retrospective reassessments of propositional contents, when it comes to languages which are rich enough to express actuality. The aim of this note is twofold. First, it is to argue that the argument can be effectively rejected, since it rests on an inadequate conception of actuality. Second, it is to offer a more plausible account of actuality in branching (...) time, along the line of Lewis (1970/1983). (shrink)
In Wehmeier (J Philos Log 33:607–630, 2004) we are presented with the subjunctive modal language, a way of dealing with the expressive inadequacy of modal logic by marking atomic predicates as being either in the subjunctive or indicative mood. Wehmeier claims that this language is expressively equivalent to the standard actuality language, and that despite this the marked-unmarked dichotomies are not the same in the two languages. In this paper we will attend to Wehmeier’s argument that this is the (...) case, and show that this conclusion rests on what might be considered an uncharitable stipulation concerning what it is for a formula in the actuality language to be true in a model. (shrink)
Fara and Williamson (Mind, 2005) argue that counterpart theory is unable to account for modal claims that use an actuality operator. This paper argues otherwise. Rather than provide a different counterpart translation of the actuality operator itself, the solution presented here starts out with a quantified modal logic in which the actuality operator is redundant, and then translates the sentences of this logic into claims of counterpart theory.
In a recent contribution to the discussion of the necessary and the apriori, Philip Kitcher claims that "appropriate insertion of 'actual' and 'actually' can yield a necessary true sentence from anyl true sentence." The general thrust of Kitcher's discussion is the denial of the equivalence of necessity and apriority. I do not discuss any of the epistemological issues that are discussed by Kitcher. The focus of this paper is on the above quoted claim. What follows illustrate my reasons for doubting (...) the correctness of this claim. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine our intuitive understanding of metaphysical contingency, and ask what features a metaphysical picture must possess in order to satisfy our intuitions about modal matters. After spelling out what I think are the central intuitions in this domain, I examine the debate between the two most widely held views on the nature of modality, namely, modal realism and modal actualism. I argue that while each of these views is able to accommodate some of our intuitions, it (...) leaves others unsatisfied. I then present an alternative metaphysical picture, which I argue can accommodate our intuitions in a way that the traditional views cannot. More specifically, I argue that our intuitions about modality call for a pluralist view of the structure of reality—a view on which there is more than one ultimate ‘shape’ to the fundamental facts, each corresponding to a distinct metaphysically privileged perspective on reality. (shrink)
Many philosophers, following David Lewis, believe that we should look to counterpart theory, not quantified modal logic, as a means of understanding modal discourse. We argue that this is a mistake. Significant parts of modal discourse involve either implicit or explicit reference to what is actually the case, raising the question of how talk about actuality is to be represented counterpart-theoretically. By considering possible modifications of Lewis's counterpart theory, including actual modifications due to Graeme Forbes and Murali Ramachandran, we (...) argue that no coherent version of counterpart theory can provide a plausible representation of talk about actuality, and so, we conclude, counterpart theory should be rejected. (shrink)
It is generally assumed that rigidity plays a key role in explaining the necessary a posteriori status of identity statements, both between proper names and between natural kind terms. However, while the notion of rigid designation is well defined for singular terms, there is no generally accepted definition of what it is for a general term to be rigid. In this paper I argue that the most common view, according to which rigid general terms are the ones which designate the (...) same kind in all possible worlds, fails to deliver a posteriori necessities. I also present an alternative view, on which the work of explaining a posteriori necessities is not done by rigidity, but by a related metasemantic notion, which I call actuality - dependence. (shrink)
Ernst Cassirer claimed that Kant's notion of actual object presupposes the notion of truth. Therefore, Kant cannot define truth as the correspondence of a judgement with an actual object. In this paper, I discuss the relations between Kant's notions of truth, object, and actuality. I argue that's notion of actual object does not presuppose the notion of truth. I conclude that Kant can define truth as the correspondence of a judgement with an actual object.
The traditional view that all logical truths are metaphysically necessary has come under attack in recent years. The contrary claim is prominent in David Kaplan’s work on demonstratives, and Edward Zalta has argued that logical truths that are not necessary appear in modal languages supplemented only with some device for making reference to the actual world (and thus independently of whether demonstratives like ‘I’, ‘here’, and ‘now’ are present). If this latter claim can be sustained, it strikes close to the (...) heart of the traditional view. I begin this paper by discussing and refuting Zalta’s argument in the context of a language for propositional modal logic with an actuality connective (section 1). This involves showing that his argument in favor of real world validity his preferred explication of logical truth, is fallacious. Next (section 2) I argue for an alternative explication of logical truth called general validity. Since the rule of necessitation preserves general validity, the argument of section 2 provides a reason for affirming the traditional view. Finally (section 3) I show that the intuitive idea behind the discredited notion of real world validity finds legitimate expression in an object language connective for deep necessity. (shrink)
The relation between chance and actuality gives rise to a puzzle. On the one hand, it may be a chancy matter what will actually happen. On the other hand, the standard semantics for ‘actually’ implies that sentences beginning with ‘actually’ are never contingent. To elucidate the puzzle, I defend a kind of objective semantic indeterminacy: in a chancy world, it may be a chancy matter which proposition is expressed by sentences containing ‘actually’. I bring this thesis to bear on (...) certain counter-examples, proposed by Hawthorne and Lasonen-Aarnio, to Lewis' ‘principal principle’. (shrink)
Orthodox quantum mechanics is built upon psychophysical collapse events that are the close analogs, within contemporary physical theory, of the the Whiteheadian actual occasions, with their mental and physical poles. This article describes the way in which these events enter into quantum theory, and mediate the emergence of actuality from potentiality.
Deleuze and Foucault shared a period of political activism and both drew connections between their activism and their respective approaches to philosophy. However, despite their shared political commitments and praise of each other's work, there remained important philosophical differences between them which became more and more apparent over time. This article identifies some of the political issues over which they disagreed and shows how they relate to some of their underlying philosophical differences. It focuses on their respective approaches to the (...) state, to ‘actuality’ and to the analysis of the present. (shrink)
Against the standard interpretation that Hegel's idealism, in particular speculative logic, should be understood as an extension of Kant's transcendental idealism, I argue that Hegel's Logic should be understood as a logic of actuality (Wirklichkeit). Rather than seeking to determine the necessary and merely formal conditions and categories for the knowledge of any possible object, speculative logic is the immanent and active process of determining the truth of actual objects and actuality itself. Through a discussion of the status (...) of the transition between the Phenomenology and the Logic, as well as a detailed reading of Hegel’s treatment of the modal categories in the Doctrine of Essence, I seek to show how speculative logic offers a way to think the unity of a thing and its conditions without reverting to pre-critical metaphysics. By breaking down the traditional distinctions between actuality, possibility, necessity, and contingency, as well as demonstrating the necessity of contingency in the activity of thinking, I suggest that Hegel provides us with the categories necessary for a new understanding of the relation between thought and reality beyond the Kantian frame. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the usefulness of the concept of possibility , and not merely that of actuality , for an inquiry into the bodily constitution of experience. The paper will study how the possibilities of action that may (or may not) be available to the subject help to shape the meaning attributed to perceived objects and to the situation occupied by the subject within her environment. This view will be supported by reference to empirical (...) evidence provided by recent and current research on the perceptual estimation of distances and the effects brought about by the use of a tool on the organisation of our perceived immediate space. (shrink)
The word actually often refers to what is in fact the case, but it also often points to what would have been the case in a possible situation that is being envisaged. To capture such nuances, the formal languages discussed in the paper add subscripts to modal operators; in the model theory the subscripts allow an actuality operator to turn the evaluation of a formula to a world introduced by a preceding possibility or necessity operator having the same subscript. (...) The paper covers both propositional and predicate logic and proves the completeness of axiomatizations that extend standard modal systems beginning with K. (shrink)
Some logical properties of modal languages in which actuality is expressible are investigated. It is argued that, if a sentence like 'Actually, Quine is a distinguished philosopher' is understood as a special case of world-indexed sentences (the index being the actual world), then actuality can be expressed only under strong modal assumptions. Some rival rigid and indexical approaches to actuality are discussed.
Technical mediation shapes our experience of the world, but it also shapes our experience of ourselves. In this paper, I argue that in order to understand the latter aspect of technical mediation, we need to expand on notions of technical mediation that focuses on actual use, and bring in possible use as well. The concept of technical mediation must therefore be grounded in a more general concept of technological presence. This concept indicates that technology harbours both actuality and potentiality, (...) the latter denoting that technologies offer possible actions, through which we realise specific actions, and, more importantly, realise ourselves; it is through the technological presence in our lifeworld we are able to recognise our own possibilities to be in and act in the lifeworld. The technologically revealed possibilities enable the subject to be constituted in a temporal forward-directedness, so that technological potentiality becomes co-constitutive of the subjects that we are and may become. (shrink)
The aim of this article is to propose a novel supervaluationist theory of ‘actually’ in the open future. First, I will argue that any adequate theory of actuality in a branching setting must comply with three main desiderata. Second, I will prove that none of the actuality operators that have been proposed in the literature is up to the task. Finally, I will propose a novel theory of actuality in the open future combining one of the existing (...) definitions of the actuality operator with a new definition of the historical possibility operator, and argue for its adequacy. The central feature of the theory I will advance is the introduction of an actuality parameter capable of being shifted by the historical possibility operator. I will argue that this account appears to not only be consistent with the idea that the future is genuinely open, but also with the general idea that ‘actually’ is, in a relevant sense, a ‘rigid’ operator. (shrink)
It is widely believed that for all p, or at least for all entertainable p, it is knowable a priori that (p iff actually p). It is even more widely believed that for all such p, it is knowable that (p iff actually p). There is a simple argument against these claims from four antecedently plausible premises.
It is known that indicative and subjunctive conditionals interact differently with a rigidifying "actually" operator. The paper studies this difference in an abstract setting. It does not assume the framework of possible world semantics, characterizing "actually" instead by the type of logically valid formulas to which it gives rise. It is proved that in a language with such features all sentential contexts that are congruential (in the sense that they preserve logical equivalence) are extensional (in the sense that they preserve (...) material equivalence). For a subjunctive conditional, the natural conclusion to draw is that it is non-congruential. It is much harder to defend the claim that an indicative conditional is non-congruential. The pressure to treat the indicative conditional as truth-functional is correspondingly greater. The implications of these results for attempts to interpret the indicative conditional as an epistemic or doxastic operator are assessed. (shrink)
Actual-sequence views of responsibility are views according to which moral responsibility is a function of actual sequences, histories, or ancestries. In recent years these views have acquired much popularity as an attractive kind of compatibilist answer to the problem of determinism and the freedom of the will. But what does it mean to say that responsibility is ‘a function of the actual sequence’? In this paper I examine different possible ways to cash out this idea. I show that one of (...) them is immune to important objections to which the others are prey. This motivates a type of actual-sequence view that is unorthodox in two main respects. First, it understands the expression ‘the actual sequence’ in a way that is different from the way in which it seems typically to have been understood. Second, on this view, non-actualized possibilities of a certain kind are always relevant to the moral responsibility of agents. (shrink)
The supervaluationist approach to branching time (‘SBT-theory’) appears to be threatened by the puzzle of retrospective determinacy: if yesterday I uttered the sentence ‘It will be sunny tomorrow’ and only in some worlds overlapping at the context of utterance it is sunny the next day, my utterance is to be assessed as neither true nor false even if today is indeed a sunny day. John MacFarlane (“Truth in the Garden of Forking Paths” 81) has recently criticized a promising solution to (...) this puzzle for falling short of an adequate account of ‘actually’. In this paper, I aim to rebut MacFarlane's criticism. To this effect, I argue that: (i) ‘actually’ can be construed either as an indexical or as a nonindexical operator; (ii) if ‘actually’ is nonindexical, MacFarlane's criticism is invalid; (iii) there appear to be independent reasons for SBT-theorists to claim that ‘actually’ is a nonindexical expression. (shrink)
Epistemic two-dimensional semantics is a theory in the philosophy of language that provides an account of meaning which is sensitive to the distinction between necessity and apriority. While this theory is usually presented in an informal manner, I take some steps in formalizing it in this paper. To do so, I define a semantics for a propositional modal logic with operators for the modalities of necessity, actuality, and apriority that captures the relevant ideas of epistemic two-dimensional semantics. I also (...) describe some properties of the logic that are interesting from a philosophical perspective, and apply it to the so-called nesting problem. (shrink)
This unique collection of studies, based for the most part on transcripts of talks in India, Europe and America over the last five years, covers the period in which Roy Bhaskar was developing out of the seeds of the most radical phase of critical realism, his new philosophy of meta-Reality. Because of the spontaneous and informal nature of these talks and discussions, this book provides probably the most immediately accessible introduction to his thought, both for those new to it and (...) those already familiar with it alike. (shrink)
In the context of Aristotle's metaphysics and natural philosophy, 'prime matter' refers to that material cause which is both the proximate material cause of the four sublunary elements and the ultimate material cause of all perishable substances. On the traditional view, prime matter is pure potentiality, without any determinate nature of its own. Against this view, I argue that prime matter must be physical, extended, and movable matter if it is to fulfil its role as the substratum persisting through the (...) generation and corruption of these elements and the individuating subject in which their defining properties are found. (shrink)
I describe recent developments of Conway and Kochen on the physical meaning of freewill and their theorem that the assertion of freewill for human beings, in their specific sense, implies the same for elementary particles. This description is given in simplified metaphorical terms that nonetheless address the key physical axioms and essential analytic content of their argument. I then give points of contact of our metaphor with the full technical analysis of the cited authors and conclude with some associated metaphysical (...) speculations. These include the implications of the freewill theorem for dual aspect theories and, in particular, for process metaphysics. (shrink)
This paper focuses upon "bebop" as a distinctively urban movement for the purpose of contributing to the articulation of a distinctively urban aesthetics. The author examines both how the music was taken up in such cities as New York, Los Angeles, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Chicago, and in turn how an urban sensibility was expressed in this particular movement.
By way of an interaction with Kierkegaard’s Point of View, this paper attempts to show the extent to which Kierkegaard’s Repetition was a poetic repetition of his own life. By comparing several of his published texts with journal entries and letters to friends, this paper traces the extent and degree of Kierkegaard’s poetic reflection and corresponding lack of existential immediacy. At its most extreme, this paper argues that Kierkegaard did not really exist in the typical sense of the term; or, (...) more precisely, that he only existed as a poetic repetition, an apotheosized ideal. Kierkegaard lived only insofar as he wrote himself into poetry. (shrink)
This article explores the conviction that the durability of communities is contingent, at least in part, on the conception of reason in play. It proposes that prospects for building and sustaining community areenhanced to the degree that rationalistic theories of rationality are rejected. The resulting equivocation in the processes of rule-making, moral thinking, analysis, and critique, while problematic, will bepreferable to the alternative and caricatured approaches premised on a strong division between reason and its so-called others. This desirable equivocation involves (...) an analysis of the role of trust in human relations and a revised conception of reason developed by philosopher and social critic Gillian Rose (1947–1995). Through an analysis of Rose’s commentary on the folk legend of Camelot and the phenomenology of friendship, this article tries to show how relations constrained by alterity can be transformed. (shrink)
A fundamental misapprehension of the nature of our being in the world underlies the general inhumanity and incoherence of modern culture. The belief that abstraction as a mode of knowing can be universalized to provide a rational ground for all human knowledge and action is a pernicious and unacknowledged background to several modern diseases. Illustrative of these maladies is the seeming dichotomy between the aesthetic and the analytic approaches to nature. One critical arena in which the incoherences of our current (...) understandings of our place in nature come to light is in the battle over the environment. I argue that a more adequate conceptualization of our place in the natural world can be erected if the central metaphors for our understanding are grounded in notions derived from the sciences of life. The key concepts must include contingency, historicity, evolution, organism, and imaginative interaction with concrete reality in individual human beings. (shrink)