Edited by Tuomas E. Tahko (University of Helsinki)
About this topic
Summary In philosophical contexts, the study of modality is primarily the study of necessity and possibility. Sometimes this is expressed by talking about possible worlds, but this is to a certain extent just a façon de parler. In metaphysics, we are interested in the nature of the modal space -- are the so called possible worlds merely conventional or are they concrete, as modal realism would have it? Whatever the nature of the modal space, questions remain about the status of the different varieties of modality, and our epistemic access to modality. One central topic in recent literature concerns the ground of modal truths, that is, in virtue of what is something necessary? This is also linked to essentialism and de re modality: can we explain transworld identity in terms of essential properties, or perhaps even ground modal truths to essentialist truths?
Key works Some of the most important discussion starters regarding modality include Armstrong 1989, Fine 1994, Forbes 1985, Hale 1996, Kripke 1980, Lewis 1986, Lewis 1973, and Plantinga 1974. Some significant early work (e.g. by Adams, Chisholm, Hintikka, Kripke, Kaplan, Lewis, Plantinga, Quine, Stalnaker) on modality has been collected in volumes such as Linsky 1971, Loux 1979, and Tooley 1999. Many classic papers are also included in Plantinga 2002, Stalnaker 2003, and Fine 2005. The contemporary literature is enormous, some important contributions are Lowe 1998, Soames 2002, Williamson 2007, and Jubien 2009. For modal epistemology in particular, Gendler & Hawthorne 2002 is an excellent resource.
Introductions Chihara 1998; Divers 2002; Girle 2003; Hale & Hoffmann 2009; Melia 2003; Vaidya 2007.
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  1. Sophisticated Linguistic Modal Theories.Jose Tomas Alvarado Marambio - 2008 - Pensamiento 64 (240):315-343.
  2. Wickedness - Its Possibility and Analysis.S. Antarkar - 1981 - Indian Philosophical Quarterly 9 (1):65.
  3. Modality Across Syntactic Categories.Ana Arregui, María Luisa Rivero & Andrés Salanova (eds.) - 2017 - Oxford University Press UK.
    This volume explores the linguistic expression of modality in natural language from a cross-linguistic perspective. Modal expressions provide the basic tools that allow us to dissociate what we say from what is actually going on, allowing us to talk about what might happen or might have happened, as well as what is required, desirable, or permitted. Chapters in the book demonstrate that modality involves many more syntactic categories and levels of syntactic structure than traditionally assumed. The volume distinguishes between three (...)
  4. Kantian Modality.Tom Baldwin - 2002 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 76 (1):1-24.
  5. Countertheses: Law and Society: Necessities, Impossibilities, and Obscurities.Hugo Bedau - 1970 - World Futures 8 (3):55-71.
  6. Necessary Truths About the World.Gary Bedell - 1977 - New Scholasticism 51 (4):537-545.
  7. The Modality of Being.Robert C. Beissel - 1992 - The Thomist 56:49-69.
  8. A Test to Determine Distinct Modalities in the Extensions of S4.Fabio Bellissima - 1985 - Mathematical Logic Quarterly 31 (1‐6):57-61.
  9. The Defence of Necessity.Jerome E. Bickenbach - 1983 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 13 (1):79 - 100.
  10. On the Possibility of Thermoelectric Refrigeration at Very Low Temperatures.F. J. Blatt - 1962 - Philosophical Magazine 7 (76):715-718.
  11. Proper Names, Contingency A Priori and Necessity A Posteriori.Chen Bo - 2011 - History and Philosophy of Logic 32 (2):119 - 138.
    After a brief review of the notions of necessity and a priority, this paper scrutinizes Kripke's arguments for supposedly contingent a priori propositions and necessary a posteriori propositions involving proper names, and reaches a negative conclusion, i.e. there are no such propositions, or at least the propositions Kripke gives as examples are not such propositions. All of us, including Kripke himself, still have to face the old question raised by Hume, i.e. how can we justify the necessity and universality of (...)
  12. Virtual Modality. [REVIEW]William Boos - 2003 - Synthese 136 (3):435 - 491.
    Model-theoretic 1-types overa given first-order theory T may be construed as natural metalogical miniatures of G. W. Leibniz' ``complete individual notions'', ``substances'' or ``substantial forms''. This analogy prompts this essay's modal semantics for an essentiallyundecidable first-order theory T, in which one quantifies over such ``substances'' in a boolean universe V(C), where C is the completion of the Lindenbaum-algebra of T.More precisely, one can define recursively a set-theoretic translate of formulae N of formulae of a normal modal theory Tm based on (...)
  13. Comments on Mr. Raab's Theses.Richard Brandt, Henry W. Johnstone, Manley Thompson & Gustav Bergmann - 1952 - Review of Metaphysics 6 (1):124-129.
  14. Replies to van Fraassen's Comments: Bressan and Suppes on Modality.Aldo Bressan - 1972 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1972:331 - 334.
  15. Causality, Method and Modality.Gordon G. Brittan Jr (ed.) - 1991 - Kluwer Academic Publishers.
  16. Possibility. [REVIEW]K. Britton - 1936 - Mind 45:530.
  17. In EN Zalta.R. Burch & Charles Sanders Peirce - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  18. Commentary on Being and Essence.Tommaso Vio Cajetaden - 1964 - Milwaukee, Marquette University Press.
  19. A Less Simplistic Metaphysics: Peirce’s Layered Theory of Meaning as a Layered Theory of Being.Marc Champagne - 2015 - Sign Systems Studies 43 (4):523–552.
    This article builds on C. S. Peirce’s suggestive blueprint for an inclusive outlook that grants reality to his three categories. Moving away from the usual focus on (contentious) cosmological forces, I use a modal principle to partition various ontological layers: regular sign-action (like coded language) subsumes actual sign-action (like here-and-now events) which in turn subsumes possible sign-action (like qualities related to whatever would be similar to them). Once we realize that the triadic sign’s components are each answerable to this asymmetric (...)
  20. Logic and Modality: Reply to Frank Sautter.O. Chateaubriand - 2004 - Manuscrito 27 (1):105-114.
    In §1 I examine the connections between my account of logical properties and Tarski’s account of logical notions. In §2 I briefly present some of my views on modality and the basis for my claim that there are intensional as well as extensional relations between properties. In §3 I compare my views on the nature of logic and of mathematics with Gödel’s views.
  21. 15. Modal Aesthetics.Jordi Claramonte - 2016 - In Roberto Poli & Keith Peterson (eds.), New Research on the Philosophy of Nicolai Hartmann. De Gruyter. pp. 283-296.
  22. Otherwise Than Being or Beyond Essence.Richard A. Cohen - 1987 - International Studies in Philosophy 19 (1):90-91.
  23. 'De Re'and'de Dicto'-Modal Reference and Possibility in Aristotle.G. Cora - 1988 - Verifiche: Rivista Trimestrale di Scienze Umane 17 (1-2):3-60.
  24. Origins and Contemporary Developments of the Modal Question.G. Cora - 1985 - Verifiche: Rivista Trimestrale di Scienze Umane 14 (4):403-425.
  25. Professor Hanson Imagining the Impossible.Roy J. Cox - 1959 - Analysis 20 (4):87 - 93.
  26. VIII-The Analysis of Possibility and the Possibility of Analysis.John Divers - 1997 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 97 (2):141-160.
  27. Partiality, Modality, and Nonmonotonicity.Patrick Doherty - 1996
  28. Thinking the Impossible: Counterfactual Conditionals, Impossible Cases, and Thought Experiments.Poonam Dohutia - unknown
    In this thesis I present an account of the formal semantics of counterfactuals that systematically deals with impossible antecedents. This, in turn, allows us to gain a richer understanding of what makes certain thought experiments informative in spite of the impossibility of the situations they consider. In Chapter II, I argue that there are major shortcomings in the leading theories of counterfactuals. The leading theories of counterfactuals are unable to account for counterfactuals with impossible antecedents. In such accounts, everything and (...)
  29. Theism and Ultimate Explanation.Jude P. Dougherty - 2011 - Review of Metaphysics 64 (3):649-651.
  30. Models and Modality.Stephen Downes - unknown - Eidos: The Canadian Graduate Journal of Philosophy 6.
  31. Models and Modality.John Timlin Dunlap - 1972 - Dissertation, University of Georgia
  32. The Ontological Foundation of Possibility: An Aristotelian Approach1.Petr Dvořák - 2007 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 14 (1):72-83.
    The article introduces and defends Aristotelian ontological theory of the possible as that which a power is capable of bringing about. It regards this conception to be a sort of middle way between Platonic explanation based on abstracta on one hand and the possibilist theory ultimately making everything possible into actual on the other. The doctrine defended leads to the conception of necessary being. Combined with other assumptions concerning this being, there arise some interesting issues and apparent tensions to be (...)
  33. The Possibility of All Possibilities.The Editors - 1979 - Dialectics and Humanism 6 (4):105-109.
  34. Review of Fraser MacBride (Ed.), Identity and Modality[REVIEW]Matti Eklund - 2007 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (3).
  35. Brody on Sommers.George Englebretsen - 1974 - Philosophical Studies 26 (2):149 - 150.
  36. Salvaging Necessary Truth.Charles Evans - 1972 - Journal of Critical Analysis 4 (1):24-33.
  37. A Modality.Percival L. Everett - 2005 - Symploke 12 (1):152-154.
  38. Selfhood, Modality, and Philosophies of Mind.Arthur E. Falk - 1984 - Metaphilosophy 15 (2):100–111.
  39. Metalogic and Modality.Hartry Field - 1991 - Philosophical Studies 62 (1):1 - 22.
  40. Realism, Mathematics and Modality.Hartry Field - 1988 - Philosophical Topics 16 (1):57-107.
  41. Necessity As a Presupposition of Inductive Support.Milton Fisk - 1974 - Idealistic Studies 4 (1):64-78.
  42. Are There Necessary a Posteriori Truths?G. W. Fitch - 1976 - Philosophical Studies 30 (4):243 - 247.
  43. Melia on Modalism.Graeme Forbes - 1992 - Philosophical Studies 68 (1):57 - 63.
  44. Spinoza, Baruch. The Letters.Daniel H. Frank - 1997 - Review of Metaphysics 50 (4):920-921.
  45. Review of Uwe Meixner, The Theory of Ontic Modalities[REVIEW]Max A. Freund - 2007 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (7).
  46. Chandler on the Contingently Possible.R. A. Fumerton - 1976 - Analysis 37 (1):39 - 40.
  47. Possibility, Necessity, and Existence.Kenneth T. Gallagher - 1994 - International Philosophical Quarterly 34 (3):384-385.
  48. Modalities. [REVIEW]Don Garrett - 1995 - Review of Metaphysics 48 (3):668-669.
  49. Two New Interpretations of Modality.J. Garson - 1972 - Logique Et Analyse 15:443-459.
  50. Against the Modal Argument.Christopher S. Gifford - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (3):627-646.
    The relationship between alethic modality and indeterminacy is yet to be clarified. A modal argument—an argument that appeals to alethic modality—against vague objects given by Joseph Moore offers a potential clarification of the relationship; it is proposed that there are cases for which the following holds: if it is indeterminate whether A = B then it is possible that it is determinate that A = B. However, the argument faces three problems. The problems remove the argument’s threat against vague objects (...)
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