There cannot be a reductive theory of modality constructed from the concepts of sparse particular and sparse universal. These concepts are suffused with modal notions. I seek to establish this conclusion by tracing out the pattern of modal entanglements in which these concepts are involved. In order to appreciate the structure of these entanglements a distinction must be drawn between the lower-order necessary connections in which particulars and universals apparently figure, and higher-order necesary connections. The former type (...) of connection relates specific entities. By contrast, the latter type of connection is unspecific: it relates entities to some others. I argue that whilst there may be techniques that succeed in providing reductive truth conditions for sentences that say particulars and universals figure in lower-order necessary connections, such techniques cannot succeed in providing reductive truth conditions for sentences that say these entities figure in higher-order necessary connections. I conclude that this situation leaves reductionists with a dilemma. If they wish to affirm that there are particulars and universals then the project of reducing modality by positing these entities must be abandoned. Alternatively, they may continue to deploy their usual reductive techniques but then they must abandon the doctrine that there is more than one fundamental category of entity. (shrink)
Armstrong’s combinatorial theory of possibility faces the obvious difficulty that not all universals are compatible. In this paper I develop three objections against Armstrong’s attempt to account for property incompatibilities. First, Armstrong’s account cannot handle incompatibilities holding among properties that are either simple, or that are complex but stand to one another in the relation of overlap rather than in the part/ whole relation. Secondly, at the heart of Armstrong’s account lies a notion of structural universals which, building (...) on an objection by David Lewis, is shown to be incoherent. I consider and reject two alternative ways of construing the composition of structural universals in an attempt to meet Lewis’ objection. An important consequence of this is that all putative structural properties are in fact simple. Finally, I argue that the quasi-mereological account presupposes modality in a way that undermines the reductionist aim of the combinatorialist theory of which it is a central part. I conclude that Armstrong’ quasi-mereological account of property incompatibility fails. Without that account, however, Armstrong’s combinatorial theory either fails to get off the ground, or else must give up its goal of reducing the notion of possibility to something non-modal. (shrink)
This book contains a concise introduction to one of the most fundamental branches of philosophy, which deals with reality and its nature. Among the topics discussed are such metaphysical questions as "Are we fundamentally free?", "Does time really pass?", "Are there any abstract objects?", "What is causation?", "What are necessary and possible truths?". The book is aimed at absolute beginners, so it does not presuppose any previous knowledge of philosophy from the reader. For those who would like to pursue the (...) subject a bit deeper, the book comes equipped with an extended list of further reading. (shrink)
This paper examines Descartes' controversial theory of the creation of eternal truths and the views of modality attributed to Descartes in recent interpretations of it. It shows why attempts to make Descartes' view intelligible by distinctions of different kinds of modality fail to do justice to his theory, which is radical indeed without being incoherent or involving universal possibilism or irrationalism. Descartes' opposition to traditional rationalist views of modality, it suggests, can be seen instead as foreshadowing contemporary (...) views prefixed, logical structure of reality or of the divine intellect. (shrink)
Armstrong's combinatorialism, in his own words, is the following project: "My central metaphysical hypothesis is that all there is is the world of space and time. It is this world which is to supply the actual elements for the totality of combinations. So what is proposed is a Naturalistic form of a combinatorial theory."2 Armstrong calls his central hypothesis "Naturalism." He intends his well−known theory of universals to satisfy this thesis. He now attempts to give a naturalistic theory of (...)modality. (shrink)
It is my aim in this paper to show that the contemporary assimilation of essence to modality is fundamentally misguided and that, as a consequence, the corresponding conception of metaphysics should be given up. It is not my view that the modal account fails to capture anything which might reasonably be called a concept of essence. My point, rather, is that the notion of essence which is of central importance to the metaphysics of identity is not to be understood (...) in modal terms or even to be regarded as extensionally equivalent to a modal notion. The one notion is, if I am right, a highly refined version of the other; it is like a sieve which performs a similar function but with a much finer mesh. (shrink)
There has been much discussion of powers or real dispositions in the past decade, but there remains an issue that has been inadequately treated. This concerns the precise modal value that comes with dispositionality. We contend in this paper that dispositionality involves a non-alethic, sui generis, irreducible modality. Dispositions only tend towards their manifestations; they do not necessitate them. Tendency is, of course, a dispositional term itself, so this last statement offers little by way of illumination. But given our (...) thesis on the irreducible nature of dispositionality, we maintain that it cannot be explicated correctly in non-dispositional terms. Nevertheless, we all have experience of dispositionality at work, through the exercise or our own powers and the action of other powers upon us. The notion of dispositionality that we acquire is one that involves a modality stronger than pure contingency but weaker than necessity. The recognition of this distinct modal value for dispositionality is one of the biggest oversights in the growing literature in the area. Yet it is there for all to see in even the most mundane example. (shrink)
One type of deflationism about metaphysical modality suggests that it can be analysed strictly in terms of linguistic or conceptual content and that there is nothing particularly metaphysical about modality. Scott Soames is explicitly opposed to this trend. However, a detailed study of Soames’s own account of modality reveals that it has striking similarities with the deflationary account. In this paper I will compare Soames’s account of a posteriori necessities concerning natural kinds with the deflationary one, specifically (...) Alan Sidelle’s account, and suggest that Soames’s account is vulnerable to the deflatonist’s critique. Furthermore, I conjecture that both the deflationary account and Soames’s account fail to fully explicate the metaphysical content of a posteriori necessities. Although I will focus on Soames, my argument may have more general implications towards the prospects of providing a meaning-based account of metaphysical modality. (shrink)
Possible worlds, concrete or abstract as you like, are irrelevant to the truthmakers for modality—or so I shall argue in this paper. First, I present the neo-Humean picture of modality, and explain why those who accept it deny a common sense view of modality. Second, I present what I take to be the most pressing objection to the neo-Humean account, one that, I argue, applies equally well to any theory that grounds modality in possible worlds. Third, (...) I present an alternative, properties-based theory of modality and explore several specific ways to flesh the general proposal out, including my favored version, the powers theory. And, fourth, I offer a powers semantics for counterfactuals that each version of the properties-based theory of modality can accept, mutatis mutandis. Together with a definition of possibility and necessity in terms of counterfactuals, the powers semantics of counterfactuals generates a semantics for modality that appeals to causal powers and not possible worlds. (shrink)
David Lewis famously argued against structural universals since they allegedly required what he called a composition “sui generis” that differed from standard mereological com¬position. In this paper it is shown that, although traditional Boolean mereology does not describe parthood and composition in its full generality, a better and more comprehensive theory is provided by the foundational theory of categories. In this category-theoretical framework a theory of structural universals can be formulated that overcomes the conceptual difficulties that Lewis and (...) his followers regarded as unsurmountable. As a concrete example of structural universals groups are considered in some detail. (shrink)
Kant's speculative theistic proof rests on a distinction between “logical” and “real” modality that he developed very early in the pre-critical period. The only way to explain facts about real possibility, according to Kant, is to appeal to the properties of a unique, necessary, and “most real” being. Here I reconstruct the proof in its historical context, focusing on the role played by the theory of modality both in motivating the argument (in the pre-critical period) and, ultimately, in (...) undoing it as a source of knowledge of God's existence (in the critical period). Along the way I examine Kant's version of the now-popular “actualist” thesis that facts about what is possible must be explained by facts about what is actual. I conclude by discussing why the critical Kant claims both that there are rational grounds for accepting the conclusion of his theistic proof, and that such acceptance can not count as knowledge. This is important, I argue, because the same considerations ultimately motivate his prohibition on knowledge of things-in-themselves generally. -/- . (shrink)
It is commonly supposed that metaphysical modal claims are to be evaluated with respect to a single domain of possible worlds: a claim is metaphysically necessary just in case it is true in every possible world, and metaphysically possible just in case it is true in some possible world. We argue that the standard understanding is incorrect; rather, whether a given claim is metaphysically necessary or possible is relative to which world is indicatively actual. We motivate our view by attention (...) to discussions in Salmon 1989 and Fine 2005, in which various data are taken to support rejecting the transitivity of accessibility (Salmon) and modal monism (Fine); we argue that relativized metaphysical modality can accommodate these data compatible with both standard modal logic(s) and modal monism. Noting an analogy with two-dimensional semantics, we argue that metaphysical modality has a complex structure, reflecting what is counterfactually possible, relative to each indicatively actual world. In arguing for the need for relativization, we are broadly on the same side as Crossley and Humberstone (1977) and Davies and Humberstone (1979); our contribution here is, first, to offer distinctively metaphysical reasons for relativization, and second, to show that relativization can be incorporated in ways minimally departing from standard modal logic(s). (shrink)
In this paper I consider Saul Kripke’s famous Humphrey objection to David Lewis’s views on de re modality and argue that responses to this objection currently on the market fail to mitigate its force in any significant way.
Attention to the conversational role of alethic terms seems to dominate, and even sometimes exhaust, many contemporary analyses of the nature of truth. Yet, because truth plays a role in judgment and assertion regardless of whether alethic terms are expressly used, such analyses cannot be comprehensive or fully adequate. A more general analysis of the nature of truth is therefore required – one which continues to explain the significance of truth independently of the role alethic terms play in discourse. We (...) undertake such an analysis in this paper; in particular, we start with certain elements from Kant and Frege, and develop a construct of truth as a normative modality of cognitive acts (e.g., thought, judgment, assertion). Using the various biconditional T-schemas to sanction the general passage from assertions to (equivalent) assertions of truth, we then suggest that an illocutionary analysis of truth can contribute to its locutionary analysis as well, including the analysis of diverse constructions involving alethic terms that have been largely overlooked in the philosophical literature. Finally, we briefly indicate the importance of distinguishing between alethic and epistemic modalities. (shrink)
It follows from Humean principles of plenitude, I argue, that island universes are possible: physical reality might have 'absolutely isolated' parts. This makes trouble for Lewis's modal realism; but the realist has a way out. First, accept absolute actuality, which is defensible, I argue, on independent grounds. Second, revise the standard analysis of modality: modal operators are 'plural', not 'individual', quantifiers over possible worlds. This solves the problem of island universes and confers three additional benefits: an 'unqualified' principle of (...) compossibility can be accepted; the possibility of nothing can be accommodated; and the identity of indiscernible worlds can be decisively refuted. (shrink)
Many contemporary philosophers accept Hume's Dictum (HD), according to which there are no metaphysically necessary connections between distinct, intrinsically typed entities. Tacit in Lewis's work is a potential motivation for HD, according to which one should accept HD as presupposed by the best account of the range of metaphysical possibilities---namely, a combinatorial account, applied to spatiotemporal fundamentalia. Here I elucidate and assess this Ludovician motivation for HD. After refining HD and surveying its key, recurrent role in Lewis’s work, I present (...) Lewis’s appeal to HD as providing a broadly axiomatic generating basis for the space of metaphysical modality, and canvas the prima facie advantages of the resulting combinatorial principle---HD (L-combinatorialism)---as being principled, extensionally adequate and modally reductive. Most criticisms of Lewis's combinatorialism have targeted seeming ways in which the theory overgenerates the desired space; I rather argue that HD (L-combinatorialism) seriously undergenerates the desired space in three different ways. For each way I argue that available means of overcoming the undergeneration either fail to close the gap, undermine the claim that HD (L-combinatorialism) is a principled generator of metaphysical modal space, undermine the reductive status of Lewis's combinatorialism, or call into question the truth of HD. (shrink)
The paper provides an explanation of our knowledge of metaphysical modality, or modal knowledge, from our ability to evaluate counterfactual conditionals. The latter ability lends itself to an evolutionary explanation since it enables us to learn from mistakes. Different logical principles linking counterfactuals to metaphysical modality can be employed to extend this explanation to the epistemology of modality. While the epistemological use of some of these principles is either philosophically implausible or empirically inadequate, the equivalence of ‘Necessarily (...) p’ with ‘For all q, if q were the case, p would be the case’ is a suitable starting-point for an explanation of modal knowledge. (shrink)
The eleven new papers in this volume address fundamental and interrelated philosophical issues concerning modality and identity, issues that were pivotal to the development of analytic philosophy in the twentieth century, and remain a key focus of debate in the twenty-first. Identity and Modality brings together leading researchers in metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of mathematics.
The philosophy of modality investigates necessity and possibility, and related notions--are they objective features of mind-independent reality? If so, are they irreducible, or can modal facts be explained in other terms? This volume presents new work on modality by established leaders in the field and by up-and-coming philosophers. Between them, the papers address fundamental questions concerning realism and anti-realism about modality, the nature and basis of facts about what is possible and what is necessary, the nature of (...) modal knowledge, modal logic and its relations to necessary existence and to counterfactual reasoning. The general introduction locates the individual contributions in the wider context of the contemporary discussion of the metaphysics and epistemology of modality. (shrink)
This collection of articles and review essays, including many hard to find pieces, comprises the most important and fundamental studies of Indian logic and linguistics ever undertaken. Frits Staal is concerned with four basic questions: Are there universals of logic that transcend culture and time? Are there universals of language and linguistics? What is the nature of Indian logic? And what is the nature of Indian linguistics? By addressing these questions, Staal demonstrates that, contrary to the general assumption (...) among Western philosophers, the classical philosophers of India were rationalists, attentive to arguments. They were in this respect unlike contemporary Western thinkers inspired by existentialism or hermeneutics, and like the ancient Chinese, Greeks, and many medieval European schoolmen, only--as Staal says--more so. Universals establishes that Asia's contributions are not only compatible with what has been produced in the West, but a necessary ingredient and an essential component of any future human science. (shrink)
Universals are a class of mind independent entities, usually contrasted with individuals, postulated to ground and explain relations of qualitative identity and resemblance among individuals. Individuals are said to be similar in virtue of sharing universals. An apple and a ruby are both red, and their common redness results from sharing a universal. If they are both red at the same time, the universal, red, must be in two places at once. This makes universals quite different from (...) individuals, and controversial. Whether universals are in fact required to explain relations of qualitative identity and resemblance among individuals has engaged metaphysicians for two thousand years. Disputants fall into one of three broad camps. Realists endorse universals. Conceptualists and Nominalists, on the other hand, refuse to accept universals and deny that they are needed. Conceptualists explain similarity among individuals by appealing to general concepts or ideas, things that exist only in minds. Nominalists, in contrast, are content to leave relations of qualitative resemblance brute and ungrounded. Numerous versions of Nominalism have been proposed, some with a great deal of sophistication. Contemporary philosophy has seen the rise of a new form of Nominalism, one that makes use of a special class of individuals, known as tropes. Familiar individuals have many properties, but tropes are single property instances. Whether Trope Nominalism improves on earlier Nominalist theories is the subject of much recent debate. In general, questions surrounding universals touch upon some of the oldest, deepest, and most abstract of philosophical issues. (shrink)
Conceptual primitives and semantic universals are the cornerstones of a semantic theory which Anna Wierzbicka has been developing for many years. Semantics: Primes and Universals is a major synthesis of her work, presenting a full and systematic exposition of that theory in a non-technical and readable way. It delineates a full set of universal concepts, as they have emerged from large-scale investigations across a wide range of languages undertaken by the author and her colleagues. On the basis of (...) empirical cross-linguistic studies it vindicates the old notion of the "psychic unity of mankind", while at the same time offering a framework for the rigorous description of different languages and cultures. (shrink)
We develop a theory about the metaphysics of time and modality that combines the conceptual resources devised in recent sympathetic work on ontological pluralism (the thesis that there are fundamentally distinct kinds of being) with the thought that what is past, future, and merely possible is less real than what is present and actual (albeit real enough to serve as truthmakers for statements about the past, future, and merely possible). However, we also show that despite being a coherent, distinctive, (...) and prima facie appealing position, the theory succumbs to what we call the “problem of mixed ontological status”. We conclude that the proponents of the theory can only evade these problems by developing ontological pluralism in a radically different way than it has been by its recent sympathizers. (shrink)
The notion of similarity plays a central role in Quine’s theory of Universals and it is with the help of this notion that Quine intends to define the concept of kind which also plays a central role in the theory. But as Quine has admitted, his attempts to define kinds in terms of similarities were unsuccessful and it is mainly because of this shortcoming that Quine’s theory has been ignored by several philosophers (see, e.g., Armstrong, D. M. (1978a). Nominalism (...) and realism: Universals and Scientific realism (Vol. I). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). In the present paper, I propose an alternative framework that accounts for the phenomena that Quine intends to explain with his resemblance theory. The framework agrees with Quine’s austere ontology; in particular, it does not assume the existence of properties and of possible worlds. (I will mention below Quine’s reason for rejecting properties and possible worlds. For a theory of Universals that assumes possible worlds, see, e.g., Rodriguez-Pereyra, G. (2002). Resemblance nominalism: A solution to the problem of Universals. Oxford: Clarendon Press.) Moreover, the framework is extensionalist since the abstract entities it assumes are classes and these can be individuated extensionally, for classes are identical if their members are identical. Finally, I will refute some of the objections to Quine’s approach that have been raised by Armstrong and Oliver [(1996). The metaphysics of properties. Mind, 105, 1–80.] and I will argue that, contrary to what has been claimed by Oliver in a comment on Lewis [(1986). On the plurality of worlds. Oxford: Blackwell.], Quine is able to specify an important set of sparse properties. (shrink)
Perhaps no one has done more in the last 30 years to advance thinking in the metaphysics of modality than has Alvin Plantinga. Collected here are some of his most important essays on this influential subject. Dating back from the late 1960's to the present, they chronicle the development of Plantinga's thoughts about some of the most fundamental issues in metaphysics: what is the nature of abstract objects like possible worlds, properties, propositions, and such phenomena? Are there possible but (...) non-actual objects? Can objects that do not exist exemplify properties? Plantinga gives thorough and penetrating to all of these questions and many others. This volume contains some of the best work in metaphysics from the past 30 years, and will remain a source of critical contention and keen interest among philosophers of metaphysics and philosophical logic for years to come. (shrink)
Modality, morality and belief are among the most controversial topics in philosophy today, and few philosophers have shaped these debates as deeply as Ruth Barcan Marcus. Inspired by her work, a distinguished group of philosophers explore these issues, refine and sharpen arguments and develop new positions on such topics as possible worlds, moral dilemmas, essentialism, and the explanation of actions by beliefs. This 'state of the art' collection honours one of the most rigorous and iconoclastic of philosophical pioneers.
The paper ends with an argument that says: necessarily, if there are finitely spatially extended particulars, then there are monadic universals. Before that, in order to characterize the distinction between particulars and universals, Roman Ingardenâs notions of existential moments and modes (ways) of being are presented, and a new pair of such existential moments is introduced: multiplicityâmonadicity. Also, it is argued that there are not only real universals, but instances of universals (tropes) and fictional universals (...) too. (shrink)
In this discussion of Colin McGinn's book, 'Logical Properties', I comment first on the chapter "Existence", then on the chapter "Modality." With respect to existence, I argue that McGinn's view that existence is a property that some objects have and other objects lack requires the property of existence to be fundamentally unlike ordinary qualitative properties. Moreover, it opens up a challenging skeptical problem: how do I know that I exist? With respect to modality, I argue that McGinn's argument (...) that quantificational analyses of modality in terms of possible worlds are inevitably circular does not apply to modal theorists who hold that the notion of an impossible world is incoherent. (shrink)
It has become commonplace in introductions to Indian philosophy to construe Plato’s discussion of forms (εἶδος/ἰδέα) and the treatment in Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika of universals ( sāmānya/jāti ) as addressing the same philosophical issue, albeit in somewhat different ways. While such a comparison of the similarities and differences has interest and value as an initial reconnaissance of what each says about common properties, an examination of the roles that universals play in the rest of their philosophical enquiries vitiates (...) this commonplace. This paper draws upon the primary texts to identify the following metaphysical, epistemological, semantic and soteriological roles that universals play in the philosophy of Plato and of Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika: Metaphysical: causal of the existence of x Metaphysical: constitutive of the identity/essence of x Epistemological: cognitively causal (i.e. of the cognition of one over many) Epistemological: epistemically causal (i.e. of knowledge of x) Semantic: necessary condition of speech and reason Epistemological: vindicatory of induction (Nyāya only) Metaphysical: explanatory of causation (Nyāya only) Soteriological: cathartic contemplation (Plato only) These roles provide us with motivations or reasons to believe that universals exist. As we examine these motivations, we find pressures mounting against our assimilating Platonic forms and the universals of Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika in the discourse about common properties. It is especially when we appreciate the utterly different contribution that universals make in securing our highest welfare that we realize how Plato and the two sister schools are not so much talking somewhat differently about the same thing, but talking somewhat similarly about different things. This better understanding of this difference in these philosophies opens a route for our better understanding of their unique contributions in the ongoing dialogue of philosophy. (shrink)
What all contemporary so-called aristotelian realists have in common has been identified by David Armstrong as the principle of instantiation. This principle has been put forward in different versions, but all of them have the following simple consequence in common: uninstantiated universals do not exist. Such entities are for the lotus-eating Platonist to countenance, but not for any sort of moderate realist. I shall argue that this principle, in any guise, is not the best way to differentiate aristotelianism from (...) Platonism. In its place, I shall suggest that the best way to differentiate the two versions of realism from each other is by means of a far more powerful idea: naturalism. And the surprising conclusion given this means of differentiation will be that contrary to the usual proclamations, Platonism will be the more naturalistic theory, whereas aristotelianism will come to be seen for what it really is, namely, non-naturalistic. (shrink)
In a recent article in this journal, J. P. Moreland (2013) extends his theory of individuation to include universals. In this note, I show how Moreland’s novel proposal leads to the unwanted conclusion that every concrete particular exists of necessity and has but a single essential property.
This paper argues for an ontological distinction between two kinds of universals, 'kinds of tropes' such as 'wisdom' and properties such as 'the property of being wise'. It argues that the distinction is parallel to that between two kinds of collections, pluralities such as 'the students' and collective objects such as 'the class'. The paper argues for the priortity of distributive readings with pluralities on the basis of predicates of extent or shape, such 'large' or 'long'.
Is what could have happened but never did as real as what did happen? What did happen, but isn't happening now, happened at another time. Analogously, one can say that what could have happened happens in another possible world. Whatever their views about the reality of such things as possible worlds, philosophers need to take this analogy seriously. Adriane Rini and Max Cresswell exhibit, in an easy step-by-step manner, the logical structure of temporal and modal discourse, and show that every (...) temporal construction has an exact parallel that requires a language that can refer to worlds, and vice versa. They make precise, in a way which can be articulated and tested, the claim that the parallel is at work behind even ordinary talk about time and modality. The book gives metaphysicians a sturdy framework for the investigation of time and modality - one that does not presuppose any particular metaphysical view. (shrink)
Saul Kripke’s thesis that ordinary proper names are rigid designators is supported by widely shared intuitions about the occurrence of names in ordinary modal contexts. By those intuitions names are scopeless with respect to the modal expressions. That is, sentences in a pair like (a) Aristotle might have been fond of dogs, (b) Concerning Aristotle, it is true that he might have been fond of dogs will have the same truth value. The same does not in general hold for definite (...) descriptions. If one, like Kripke, accounts for this difference by means of the intensions of the names and the descriptions, the conclusion is that names do not in general have the same intension as any normal, identifying description. However, this difference can be accounted for alternatively by appeal to the semantics of the modal expressions. On the account we suggest, dubbed ‘relational modality’, simple singular terms, like proper names, contribute to modal contexts simply by their actual world reference, not by their descriptive content. That account turns out to be fully equivalent with the rigidity account when it comes to truth of modal and non-modal sentence (with respect to the actual world), and hence supports the same basic intuitions. Here we present the relational modality account and compare it with others, in particular Kripke’s own. (shrink)
The Kripkean metaphysical modality (i.e. possibility and necessity) is one of the most important concepts in contemporary analytic philosophy and is the basis of many metaphysical speculations. These metaphysical speculations frequently commit to entities that do not belong to this physical universe, such as merely possible entities, abstract entities, mental entities or qualities not realizable by the physical, which seems to contradict naturalism or physicalism. This paper proposes a naturalistic interpretation of the Kripkean modality, as a naturalist’s response (...) to these metaphysical speculations. It will show that naturalism can accommodate the Kripkean metaphysical modality. In particular, it will show that naturalism can help to resolve the puzzles surrounding Kripke’s a posteriori necessary propositions and a priori contingent propositions. (shrink)
In recent years combinations of tense and modality have moved intothe focus of logical research. From a philosophical point of view, logical systems combining tense and modality are of interest because these logics have a wide field of application in original philosophical issues, for example in the theory of causation, of action, etc. But until now only methods yielding completeness results for propositional languages have been developed. In view of philosophical applications, analogous results with respect to languages of (...) predicate logic are desirable, and in this paper I present two such results. The main developments in this area can be split into two directions, differing in the question whether the ordering of time is world-independent or not. Semantically, this difference appears in the discussion whether T x W-frames or Kamp-frames (resp. Ockham-frames) provide a suitable semantics for combinations of tense and modality. Here, two calculi are presented, the first adequate with respect to Kamp-semantics, the second to T x Wsemantics. (Both calculi contain an appropriate version of Gabbay's irreflexivity rule.) Furthermore, the proposed constructions of canonical frames simplify some of those which have hitherto been discussed. (shrink)
Saul Kripke’s thesis that ordinary proper names are rigid designators is supported by widely shared intuitions about the occurrence of names in ordinary modal contexts. By those intuitions names are scopeless with respect to the modal expressions. That is, sentences in a pair like (a) Aristotle might have been fond of dogs (b) Concerning Aristotle, it is true that he might have been fond of dogs will have the same truth value. The same does not in general hold for definite (...) descriptions. If we, like Kripke, account for this difference by means of the intensions of names and descriptions, we have to conclude that names do not in general have the same intension as any normal, identifying description. However, the difference in scope behavior between names and description can be accounted for alternatively by appeal to the semantics of the modal expressions. On the account we suggest, dubbed ‘relational modality’, simple singular terms, like proper names, contribute to modal contexts simply by their actual world reference, not by their (standard) intension. The relational modality account turns out to be fully equivalent with the rigidity account when it comes to truth of modal and non-modal sentences (with respect to the actual world), and hence supports the same basic intuitions. Given an alternative definition of consequence for relational modality, and a restriction to models with reflexive accessibility relations and non-empty world-bound domains, relational modality also turns out to be model theoretically equivalent with rigidity semantics with respect to logical consequence. Here we introduce the semantics, give the truth definition for relational modality models, and prove the equivalence results. (shrink)
Saul Kripke’s thesis that ordinary proper names are rigid designators is supported by widely shared intuitions about the occurrence of names in ordinary modal contexts. By those intuitions names are scopeless with respect to the modal expressions. That is, sentences in a pair like Aristotle might have been fond of dogsConcerning Aristotle, it is true that he might have been fond of dogs will have the same truth value. The same does not in general hold for definite descriptions. If we, (...) like Kripke, account for this difference by means of the intensions of names and descriptions, we have to conclude that names do not in general have the same intension as any normal, identifying description. However, the difference in scope behavior between names and description can be accounted for alternatively by appeal to the semantics of the modal expressions. On the account we suggest, dubbed ‘relational modality’, simple singular terms, like proper names, contribute to modal contexts simply by their actual world reference, not by their (standard) intension. The relational modality account turns out to be fully equivalent with the rigidity account when it comes to truth of modal and non-modal sentences (with respect to the actual world), and hence supports the same basic intuitions. Given an alternative definition of consequence for relational modality, and a restriction to models with reflexive accessibility relations and non-empty world-bound domains, relational modality also turns out to be model theoretically equivalent with rigidity semantics with respect to logical consequence. Here we introduce the semantics, give the truth definition for relational modality models, and prove the equivalence results. (shrink)
In this paper I argue, contra Fraser MacBride, that conceptual analysis, and in particular the distinction between numerical and qualitative identity, can solve the Problem of Universals, whether understood as the One over Many or the as the Many over One. In this paper I show why the solutions needed to solve either version of the problem must be in terms of truthmakers, and that the distinction between numerical and qualitative identity is not sufficient to solve them.
Abstract This paper contrasts the scholastic realisms of David Armstrong and Charles Peirce. It is argued that the so-called ?problem of universals? is not a problem in pure ontology (concerning whether universals exist) as Armstrong construes it to be. Rather, it extends to issues concerning which predicates should be applied where, issues which Armstrong sets aside under the label of ?semantics?, and which from a Peircean perspective encompass even the fundamentals of scientific methodology. It is argued that Peirce's (...) scholastic realism not only presents a more nuanced ontology (distinguishing the existent from the real) but also provides more of a sense of why realism should be a position worth fighting for. (shrink)
There has been much discussion of late on what exactly the Problem of Universals is and is not. Of course answers to these questions and many more like it depend on what is supposed to be explained by a solution to the Problem of Universals. In this paper, I seek to establish two claims: first, that when the facts (explanada) to be explained and the kind of explanation needed are elucidated, it will be shown that the Problem of (...)Universals is a real metaphysical problem, not a pseudo problem; secondly, the facts whose explanation posed the problem in the Problem of Universals still provide reason to think realism regarding universals is true, even if God exists. (shrink)
Previous studies have shown that object properties are processed faster when they follow properties from the same perceptual modality than properties from different modalities. These findings suggest that language activates sensorimotor processes, which, according to those studies, can only be explained by a modal account of cognition. The current paper shows how a statistical linguistic approach of word co-occurrences can also reliably predict the category of perceptual modality a word belongs to (auditory, olfactory–gustatory, visual–haptic), even though the statistical (...) linguistic approach is less precise than the modal approach (auditory, gustatory, haptic, olfactory, visual). Moreover, the statistical linguistic approach is compared with the modal embodied approach in an experiment in which participants verify properties that share or shift modalities. Response times suggest that fast responses can best be explained by the linguistic account, whereas slower responses can best be explained by the embodied account. These results provide further evidence for the theory that conceptual processing is both linguistic and embodied, whereby less precise linguistic processes precede precise simulation processes. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore a seldom-recognized connection between the ontology of abstract objects and a current issue in the philosophy of chemistry. Specifically, I argue that realism with regard to universals implies a view of chemical elements similar to F.A. Paneth’s thesis about the dual nature of the concept of element.
Modality and Anti-Metaphysics critically examines the most prominent approaches to modality among analytic philosophers in the twentieth century, including essentialism. Defending both the project of metaphysics and the essentialist position that metaphysical modality is conceptually and ontologically primitive, Stephen McLeod argues that the logical positivists did not succeed in banishing metaphysical modality from their own theoretical apparatus and he offers an original defence of metaphysics against their advocacy of its elimination. -/- Seeking to assuage the sceptical (...) worries which underlie modal anti-realism, McLeod provides an original contribution to essentialist epistemology, engaging with current debates about modality and suggesting that standard essentialist approaches to some issues in the philosophies of logic and language require revision. -/- This book offers valuable insights to professional philosophers, postgraduates and advanced undergraduates interested in metaphysics, philosophy of logic or the history of twentieth-century analytic philosophy. (shrink)
We discuss the semantic significance of a puzzle concerning ‘ought’ and conditionals recently discussed by Kolodny and MacFarlane. We argue that the puzzle is problematic for the standard Kratzer-style analysis of modality. In Kratzer’s semantics, modals are evaluated relative to a pair of conversational backgrounds. We show that there is no sensible way of assigning values to these conversational backgrounds so as to derive all of the intuitions in Kolodny and MacFarlane’s case. We show that the appropriate verdicts can (...) be derived by extending Kratzer’s framework to feature a third conversational background and claiming that the relevant reading of ‘ought’ is sensitive to this parameter. (shrink)
In this short text, a distinguished philosopher turns his attention to one of the oldest and most fundamental philosophical problems of all: How it is that we are able to sort and classify different things as being of the same natural class? Professor Armstrong carefully sets out six major theories—ancient, modern, and contemporary—and assesses the strengths and weaknesses of each. Recognizing that there are no final victories or defeats in metaphysics, Armstrong nonetheless defends a traditional account of universals as (...) the most satisfactory theory we have.This study is written for advanced students, but as Armstrong goes considerably beyond his earlier work on this topic, it will interest professional scholars as well. Carefully plotted and clearly written, Universals is both a paradigm of exposition and a case study on the value of careful analysis of fundamental issues in philosophy. (shrink)