Modal Logic and Contingentism: A Comment on Timothy Williamsons Modal Logic as Metaphysics

Analysis 76 (2):155-172 (2016)
Abstract
Necessitists hold that, necessarily, everything is such that, necessarily, something is identical to it. Timothy Williamson has posed a number of challenges to contingentism, the negation of necessitism. One such challenge is an argument that necessitists can more wholeheartedly embrace possible worlds semantics than can contingentists. If this charge is correct, then necessitists, but not contingentists, can unproblematically exploit the technical successes of possible worlds semantics. I will argue, however, that the charge is incorrect: contingentists can embrace possible worlds semantics as wholeheartedly as necessitists. Williamson offers a criterion for a class of models of quantified modal logic to be intended, and argues on its basis that contingentists must deny that there is an intended class of models. I argue that Williamson’s criterion is objectionable, supply an alternative that does not support Williamson’s argument, and adapt Williamson’s construction of an intended model structure to the needs of contingentist metaphysics.
Keywords Modality  Necessitism  Williamson, Timothy  Modal Logic
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DOI 10.1093/analys/anw005
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