Possibility offers a new analysis of the metaphysical concepts of possibility and necessity, one that does not rely on any sort of "possible worlds." The analysis proceeds from an account of the notion of a physical object and from the positing of properties and relations. It is motivated by considerations about how we actually speak of and think of objects. Michael Jubien discusses several closely related topics, including different purported varieties of possible worlds, the doctrine of "essentialism," natural kind terms (...) and alleged examples of necessity a posteriori. The book also offers a new theory of the functioning of proper names, both actual and fictional, and the discussion of natural kind terms and necessity a posteriori depends in part on this theory. (shrink)
This is a book about the concept of a physical thing and about how the names of things relate to the things they name. It questions the prevalent view that names 'refer to' or 'denote' the things they name. Instead it presents a new theory of proper names, according to which names express certain special properties that the things they name exhibit. This theory leads to some important conclusions about whether things have any of their properties as a matter of (...) necessity. This will be an important book for philosophers in metaphysics and the philosophy of language, though it will also interest linguists concerned with the semantics of natural language. (shrink)
A presupposition of this paper is that "mathematical" entities exhibit referential problems not affecting other sorts of entities. This view places constraints both on semantics for mathematical theories and on formal semantics generally. A main goal of the paper is to illustrate how "sets" can be avoided in semantics by utilizing "properties". This method is then exploited in the case of mathematics to obtain interpretations involving no "mathematical entities" but nevertheless producing "platonistic" truth-Value distributions.
The main goal of this paper is to urge that the normal platonistic account of mathematical truth is unsatisfactory even if pure abstract entities are assumed to exist (in a non-Question-Begging way). It is argued that the task of delineating an interpretation of a formal mathematical theory among pure abstract entities is not one that can be accomplished. An important effect of this conclusion on the question of the ontological commitments of informal mathematical theories is discussed. The paper concludes with (...) a sketch of a non-Platonistic theory of mathematical truth which utilizes an unanalyzed notion of logical possibility. (shrink)