About this topic
Summary This is a catch-all category for theories of modality which do not fall naturally into the other categories. Notably, it includes dispositional theories of modality.
Key works Fine 1994 reduces modality to essence. Vetter 2010 reduces modality to dispositionality.
Related categories

135 found
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  1. Possibility.George P. Adams, J. Loewenberg & Stephen C. Pepper - 1936 - Philosophical Review 45 (6):624-625.
  2. Theories of Actuality.Robert Merrihew Adams - 1979 - In Michael J. Loux (ed.), The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality. Cornell University Press. pp. 190.
  3. Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology, Bob Hale and Aviv Hoffmann (Eds). [REVIEW]Arif Ahmed - 2012 - Mind 121 (483):817-822.
  4. La función de los universales en metafísica modal.Jose Tomas Alvarado Marambio - 2010 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 29 (3):77-101.
  5. A Causal Theory of Modality.José Tomás Alvarado - 2009 - Ideas Y Valores 58 (140):173-196.
    This work presents a causal conception of metaphysical modality in which a state of affairs is metaphysically possible if and only if it can be caused by current entities. The conception is contrasted with what is called the “combinatorial” conception of modality, in which everything can co-exist with anything else. This work explains how the notion of ‘causality’ should be construed in the causal theory, what difference exists between modalities thus defined from nomological modality, how accessibility relations between possible worlds (...)
  6. Time and Modality. [REVIEW]A. R. Anderson - 1958 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 36:232.
  7. The Inaugural Address: Kantian Modality: Tom Baldwin.Tom Baldwin - 2002 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 76 (1):1–24.
    Kant's claim that modality is a 'category' provides an approach to modality to be contrasted with Lewis's reductive analysis. Lewis's position is unsatisfactory, since it depends on an inherently modal conception of a world. This suggests that modality is 'primitive'; and the Kantian position is a prima facie plausible position of this kind, which is filled out by considering the relationship between modality and inference. This provides a context for comparing the Kantian position with Wright's non-cognitivist 'conventionalism'. Wright's position is (...)
  8. A Realistic Analysis of Possibility.Richard L. Barber - 1951 - Review of Metaphysics 5 (3):341 - 360.
  9. The Aristotelian Modal Theory.Werner Beierwaltes - 1985 - Philosophy and History 18 (2):126-127.
  10. Descartes' Theory of Modality.Jonathan Bennett - 1998 - In John Cottingham (ed.), Descartes. Oxford University Press.
  11. Possibility.Max Black - 1960 - Journal of Philosophy 57 (4):117-126.
  12. The Logic of Provability.George S. Boolos - 1995 - Cambridge University Press.
    This book, written by one of the most distinguished of contemporary philosophers of mathematics, is a fully rewritten and updated successor to the author's earlier The Unprovability of Consistency. Its subject is the relation between provability and modal logic, a branch of logic invented by Aristotle but much disparaged by philosophers and virtually ignored by mathematicians. Here it receives its first scientific application since its invention. Modal logic is concerned with the notions of necessity and possibility. What George Boolos does (...)
  13. Un mondo di possibilità. Realismo modale senza mondi possibili.Andrea Borghini - 2004 - Rivista di Estetica 26 (2):87-100.
    While preparing my suitcase for Padua, I took care to put my favorite cds in a secured spot since they could have broken along the way. Which (non-mental) fact, if any, could possibly justify my action – i.e. what, if anything, makes it the case that my cds could have broken? The paper explores the nature of possibility. The three theories most widely endorsed thus far – fictionism, actualism, and modal realism – are introduced, with a particular attention to their (...)
  14. A Dispositional Theory of Possibility.Andrea Borghini & Neil E. Williams - 2008 - Dialectica 62 (1):21–41.
    – The paper defends a naturalistic version of modal actualism according to which what is metaphysically possible is determined by dispositions found in the actual world. We argue that there is just one world—this one—and that all genuine possibilities are anchored by the dispositions exemplified in this world. This is the case regardless of whether or not those dispositions are manifested. As long as the possibility is one that would obtain were the relevant disposition manifested, it is a genuine possibility. (...)
  15. Review of The Metaphysics of Modality[REVIEW]Phillip Bricker - 1988 - Philosophical Review 97 (1):127-131.
  16. Review of B. Hale and A. Hoffmann (Eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology[REVIEW]John P. Burgess - 2010 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (10).
  17. Teoría modal y lógica modal en la Escolástica y en Leibniz.Hans Burkhardt - 1983 - Anuario Filosófico 16 (1):273-292.
  18. The Grounds of Necessity.Ross P. Cameron - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (4):348-358.
    Some truths are necessary, others could have been false. Why? What is the source of the distinction between the necessary and the contingent? What's so special about the necessary truths that account for their necessity? In this article, we look at some of the most promising accounts of the grounds of necessity: David Lewis' reduction of necessity to truth at all possible worlds; Kit Fine's reduction of necessity to essence; and accounts of necessity that take the distinction between the necessary (...)
  19. The Doctrine of Necessity Re-Examined.Milic Capek - 1951 - Review of Metaphysics 5 (1):11 - 54.
  20. Plantinga and the Contingently Possible.Hugh S. Chandler - 1976 - Analysis 36 (2):106 - 109.
  21. Kant, Modality, and the Most Real Being.Andrew Chignell - 2009 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 91 (2):157-192.
    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 (...)
  22. Metaphysical and Absolute Possibility.Justin Clarke-Doane - forthcoming - Synthese (special issue).
    It is widely alleged that metaphysical possibility is “absolute” possibility (Kripke [1980], Lewis [1986], Rosen [2006, 16], Stalnaker [2005, 203], Williamson [2016, 460]). Indeed, this is arguably its metaphysical significance. Kripke calls metaphysical necessity “necessity in the highest degree” ([1980, 99]). Williamson calls metaphysical possibility the “maximal objective modality” [2016, 459]. Rosen says that “metaphysical possibility is the [most inclusive] sort of real possibility” ([2006, 16]). And Stalnaker writes, “we can agree with Frank Jackson, David Chalmers, Saul Kripke, David Lewis, (...)
  23. The Truth and Falsity of Modal Propositions in Renaissance Nominalism.Jeffrey Scott Coombs - 1990 - Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin
    During a short-lived renaissance of medieval Nominalism lasting from approximately 1480 to 1530, many Renaissance Nominalist logicians devoted a great deal of attention to the task of developing an account of the truth and falsity of modal propositions. A modal proposition is any proposition containing one or more occurrences of the four modal terms: possible, necessary, impossible, and contingent. The Nominalist account follows the general procedure outlined in William of Ockham's Summa totius logicae, the goal of which is to translate (...)
  24. The Limits of Modality.Sam Cowling - 2011 - Philosophical Quarterly 61 (244):473-495.
    It is commonly assumed that all propositions have modal profiles and therefore bear their truth-values either contingently or necessarily. I argue against this commonly assumed view and in defence of amodalism, according to which certain true propositions are neither necessarily nor contingently true, but only true simpliciter. I consider three arguments against ‘possible-worlds theories’, which hold that modal concepts are to be analysed in terms of possible worlds. Although each of these arguments targets a different version of possible-worlds theory, these (...)
  25. Transforming Necessity.Kem Crimmins - 2007 - Philosophy Today 51 (Supplement):148-153.
  26. Possibility and Becoming.Raphael Demos - 1926 - Journal of Philosophy 23 (9):234-240.
  27. In Defence of Magical Ersatzism.David A. Denby - 2006 - In Philosophical Quarterly. pp. 161-74.
    David Lewis' objection to a generic theory of modality which he calls ‘magical ersatzism’ is that its linchpin, a relation he calls ‘selection’, must be either an internal or an external relation, and that this is unintelligible either way. But the problem he points out with classifying selection as internal is really just an instance of the general problem of how we manage to grasp underdetermined predicates, is not peculiar to magical ersatzism, and is amenable to some familiar solutions. He (...)
  28. Philosophical Quarterly.David A. Denby - 2006
  29. Agnosticism About Other Worlds: A New Antirealist Programme in Modality.John Divers - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (3):660–685.
    The modal antirealist, as presented here, aims to secure at least some of the benefits associated with talking in genuine modal realist terms while avoiding commitment to a plurality of Lewisian (or ersatz) worlds. The antirealist stance of agnosticism about other worlds combines acceptance of Lewis's account of what world-talk means with refusal to assert, or believe in, the existence of other worlds. Agnosticism about other worlds does not entail a comprehensive agnosticism about modality, but where such agnosticism about modality (...)
  30. On Some Scientific Modalities: Propensities, Randomness and Causation.Antony Eagle - 2004 - Dissertation, Princeton University
    The essays that constitute this dissertation explore three strategies for understanding the role of modality in philosophical accounts of propensities, randomness, and causation. In Chapter 1, I discuss how the following essays are to be considered as illuminating the prospects for these strategies, which I call reductive essentialism, subjectivism and pragmatism. The discussion is framed within a survey of approaches to modality more broadly construed. ;In Chapter 2, I argue that any broadly dispositional analysis of probability as a physical property (...)
  31. Genuine Modal Realism and the Empty World.David Efird & Tom Stoneham - 2005 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 1 (1):21-37.
    We argue that genuine modal realism can be extended, rather than modified, so as to allow for the possibility of nothing concrete, a possibility we term ‘metaphysical nihilism’. The issue should be important to the genuine modal realist because, not only is metaphysical nihilism itself intuitively plausible, but also it is supported by an argument with pre-theoretically credible premises, namely, the subtraction argument. Given the soundness of the subtraction argument, we show that there are two ways that the genuine modal (...)
  32. A Theory of Possibility.George Englebretsen - 1978 - Philosophical Studies 26 (3):267-269.
  33. The Problem of Possibilia.Kit Fine - 2003 - In Michael J. Loux & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 161-179.
    Are there, in addition to the various actual objects that make up the world, various possible objects? Are there merely possible people, for example, or merely possible electrons, or even merely possible kinds? We certainly talk as if there were such things. Given a particular sperm and egg, I may wonder whether that particular child which would result from their union would have blue eyes. But if the sperm and egg are never in fact brought together, then there is no (...)
  34. Fatalism and the Metaphysics of Contingency.M. Oreste Fiocco - 2015 - In Steven M. Cahn & Maureen Eckert (eds.), Freedom and the Self: Essays on the Philosophy of David Foster Wallace. Columbia University Press. pp. 57-92.
    Contingency is the presence of non-actualized possibility in the world. Fatalism is a view of reality on which there is no contingency. Since it is contingency that permits agency, there has traditionally been much interest in contingency. This interest has long been embarrassed by the contention that simple and plausible assumptions about the world lead to fatalism. I begin with an Aristotelian argument as presented by Richard Taylor. Appreciation of this argument has been stultified by a question pertaining to the (...)
  35. Objects, Discreteness, and Pure Power Theories: George Molnar’s Critique of Sydney Shoemaker’s Causal Theory of Properties. [REVIEW]Sharon Ford - 2012 - Metaphysica 13 (2):195-215.
    Sydney Shoemaker’s causal theory of properties is an important starting place for some contemporary metaphysical perspectives concerning the nature of properties. In this paper, I discuss the causal and intrinsic criteria that Shoemaker stipulates for the identity of genuine properties and relations, and address George Molnar’s criticism that holding both criteria presents an unbridgeable hypothesis in the causal theory of properties. The causal criterion requires that properties and relations contribute to the causal powers of objects if they are to be (...)
  36. Bechler, Zev. Aristotle's Theory of Actuality.Lloyd P. Gerson - 1996 - Review of Metaphysics 50 (1):144-145.
  37. Möglichkeiten.Thomas Gil - 2007 - Parerga.
  38. How to Kripke Brandom's Notion of Necessity.Benedikt Paul Göcke, Martin Pleitz & Hanno von Wulfen - 2008 - In Bernd Prien & David P. Schweikard (eds.), Robert Brandom. Analytic Pragmatist. ontos.
    In this paper we discuss Brandom's definition of necessity, which is part of the incompatibility sematnics he develops in his fifth John Locke Lecture. By comparing incompatibility semantics to standard Kripkean possible worlds semantics for modality, we motivate an alternative definition of necessity in Brandom's own terms. Our investigation of this alternative necessity will show that - contra to Brandom's own results - incompatibility semantics does not necessarily lead to the notion of necessity of the modal logic S5.
  39. On the Error of Treating Functions as Objects.Karen Green - 2016 - Analysis and Metaphysics 15.
  40. On What There Must Be.Ross Harrison - 1974 - Clarendon Press.
    This book addresses the importance of space and time, of existence unperceived, of publicity and action, and of natural laws.
  41. Six Necessities.Albert Hofstadter - 1957 - Journal of Philosophy 54 (20):597-613.
  42. (In)Determinism, Branching Time, and Branching Space.Alexander Hughes - manuscript
    The branching time analysis grounds the possibilities entailed by temporal indeterminism in a branching temporal structure. I construct a spatial analog of the branching time analysis – the branching space analysis – according to which the possibilities entailed by spatial indeterminism are grounded in branching spatial structure. The construction proceeds in such a way as to show the analogies between the branching space and branching time analyses. I argue that the two views are a package. In particular: the theoretical virtues (...)
  43. Modality.Lloyd Humberstone - 2005 - In Frank Jackson & Michael Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
  44. A Powers Theory of Modality: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Reject Possible Worlds.Jonathan D. Jacobs - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (2):227-248.
    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, (...)
  45. Analyticity and Necessity in Moore's Early Work.Ronald Burke Jager - 1969 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 7 (4):441-458.
  46. Essential Bundle Theory and Modality.Mark Jago - 2018 - Synthese:1-16.
    Bundle theories identify material objects with bundles of properties. On the traditional approach, these are the properties possessed by that material object. That view faces a deep problem: it seems to say that all of an object’s properties are essential to it. Essential bundle theory attempts to overcome this objection, by taking the bundle as a specification of the object’s essential properties only. In this paper, I show that essential bundle theory faces a variant of the objection. To avoid the (...)
  47. Possibility.Michael Jubien - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
    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 (...)
  48. Modality and Metaphysics in Kant.Toni Kannisto - 2013 - In Stefano Bacin, Alfredo Ferrarin, Claudio La Rocca & Margit Ruffing (eds.), Kant und die Philosophie in weltbürgerlicher Absicht. Akten des XI. Kant-Kongresses 2010. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 633-646.
    In the presentation I will analyse Kant’s conception of modalities and consider its relevance to his critical metaphysics. With his Tables of Judgements and of Categories Kant makes an important division between two kinds of modality, of which the former is only logical and the latter transcendental, i.e., objective. Only judgements that are necessary in both ways are properly metaphysical. This distinction is important for Kant’s distinction between Transcendental Analytic and Transcendental Dialectic, i.e., between acceptable and unacceptable metaphysics. I submit (...)
  49. God, Modalities, and Conceptualism.Amy Karofsky - 2003 - Philosophy and Theology 15 (2):257-271.
    God’s relationship to modalities poses a serious problem for the theist. If God determines modalities, then it seems that he can do anything. If, on the other hand, modalities determine God’s actions, then it seems that he is not genuinely free. Conceptualism offers a solution to this problem by maintaining that modalities are determined by what is conceivable for the intellects of the universe that God has chosen to create. Prior to the creation of intellects, there are no modalities restricting (...)
  50. Function and Modality.Osamu Kiritani - 2011 - Journal of Mind and Behavior 32 (1):1-4.
    Naturalistic teleological accounts of mental content rely on an etiological theory of function. Nanay has raised a new objection to an etiological theory, and proposed an alternative theory of function that attributes modal force to claims about function. The aim of this paper is both to defend and to cast a new light on an etiological theory of function. I argue against Nanay’s “trait type individuation objection,” suggesting that an etiological theory also attributes modal force to claims about function. An (...)
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