Logical truth in modal languages: reply to Nelson and Zalta [Book Review]

Philosophical Studies 167 (2):327-339 (2014)
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Does general validity or real world validity better represent the intuitive notion of logical truth for sentential modal languages with an actuality connective? In (Philosophical Studies 130:436–459, 2006) I argued in favor of general validity, and I criticized the arguments of Zalta (Journal of Philosophy 85:57–74, 1988) for real world validity. But in Nelson and Zalta (Philosophical Studies 157:153–162, 2012) Michael Nelson and Edward Zalta criticize my arguments and claim to have established the superiority of real world validity. Section 1 of the present paper introduces the problem and sets out the basic issues. In Sect. 2 I consider three of Nelson and Zalta’s arguments and find all of them deficient. In Sect. 3 I note that Nelson and Zalta direct much of their criticism at a phrase (‘true at a world from the point of view of some distinct world as actual’) I used only inessentially in Hanson (Philosophical Studies 130:436–459, 2006), and that their account of the philosophical foundations of modal semantics leaves them ill equipped to account for the plausibility of modal logics weaker than S5. Along the way I make several general suggestions for ways in which philosophical discussions of logical matters–especially, but not limited to, discussions of truth and logical truth for languages containing modal and indexical terms–might be facilitated and made more productive



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William Hanson
University of Minnesota

Citations of this work

Actuality and the a priori.Fabio Lampert - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):809-830.
A puzzle about moral responsibility.Fabio Lampert & John William Waldrop - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (8):2291-2307.
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Actualism, Serious Actualism, and Quantified Modal Logic.William H. Hanson - 2018 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 59 (2):233-284.

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A completeness theorem in modal logic.Saul Kripke - 1959 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 24 (1):1-14.
Two notions of necessity.Martin Davies & Lloyd Humberstone - 1980 - Philosophical Studies 38 (1):1-31.
On the logic of demonstratives.David Kaplan - 1979 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 8 (1):81 - 98.
Reference and contingency.Gareth Evans - 1979 - The Monist 62 (2):161-189.
The logic of what might have been.Nathan Salmon - 1989 - Philosophical Review 98 (1):3-34.

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