Edited by Tristan Grøtvedt Haze (University of Sydney)
|Summary||If something could not have been otherwise, no matter how the world had turned out, that thing is metaphysically necessary. Traditional examples of metaphysical necessity include analytic statements such as 'All bachelors are unmarried', mathematical statements such as '2 + 2 = 4', identity statements such as 'Hesperus is Phosphorus', and theoretical identifications such as 'Water is H2O'. Philosophical issues surrounding metaphysical necessity include: its relationship to other forms of necessity (e.g. physical necessity), its relationship to a priori knowledge, its relationship to meaning and language, and its metaphysical grounds (i.e. what makes it the case that something is metaphysically necessary). The very status of the notion and its role in human thought is also up for debate.|
|Key works||Although Kripke 1980 will surely remain the classic on the topic of metaphysical necessity, more recent discussion is abundant. For a discussion of the relationship between different types of necessity and the idea that narrower notions of necessity could be defined by restriction of metaphysical necessity, see Fine 2002. Fine 1994 presents an influential case in favour of reducing metaphysical necessity to essence, different aspects of which have since been discussed, e.g., in Hale 1996, Shalkowski 1997, Lowe 1998, Zalta 2006, Cameron 2010, and Correia 2012. For discussion on Kripke's and Putnam's contributions to the literature, see for instance Edgington 2004, Soames 2011, Ballarin 2013, and Tahko 2013. Rosen 2006 argues that more than one notion fits Kripke's characterization of metaphysical necessity and his key examples. Divers 2018 argues for a form of 'pragmatic scepticism' about the notion.|
|Introductions||Kripke 1980 Cameron 2010|
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