Keeping semantics pure

Noûs 39 (3):505–528 (2005)
There are numerous contexts in which philosophers and others use model-theoretic methods in assessing the validity of ordinary arguments; consider, for example, the use of models built upon 'possible worlds' in examinations of modal arguments. But the relevant uses of model-theoretic techniques may seem to assume controversial semantic or metaphysical accounts of ordinary concepts. So, numerous philosophers have suggested that standard uses of model-theoretic methods in assessing the validity of modal arguments commit one to accepting that modal claims are to be analysed in terms of possible worlds. The paper provides a very general account of how uses of model-theoretic methods in demonstrating facts about validity and invalidity may in fact often be uncoupled from controversial semantic or metaphysical theses, applying the resulting techniques to some modal cases in particular.
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DOI 10.1111/j.0029-4624.2005.00511.x
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