Existence and Modality in Kant: Lessons from Barcan

Philosophical Review 132 (1):1-41 (2023)
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This essay considers Kant’s theory of modality in light of a debate in contemporary modal metaphysics and modal logic concerning the Barcan formulas. The comparison provides a new and fruitful perspective on Kant’s complex and sometimes confusing claims about possibility and necessity. Two central Kantian principles provide the starting point for the comparison: that the possible must be grounded in the actual and that existence is not a real predicate. Both are shown to be intimately connected to the Barcan formulas, and Kant’s views on what he distinguishes as three different kinds of modality are then considered in light of this connection.

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Kant on Modality.Colin Marshall & Aaron Barker - forthcoming - In Andrew Stephenson & Anil Gomes (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Kant. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
The Barcan Formula in Metaphysics.Ori Simchen - 2013 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 28 (3):375-392.
On modality and reference: Ruth Barcan Marcus (1921-2012).Genoveva Martí - 2012 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 31 (2):203-212.


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Author's Profile

Andrew Stephenson
University of Southampton

References found in this work

Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.
Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction.Gideon Rosen - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: metaphysics, logic, and epistemology. qnew York: Oxford University Press. pp. 109-135.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Critica 17 (49):69-71.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 36 (3):602-605.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Philosophy of Science 42 (3):341-344.

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