Soames's Deflationism About Modality

Erkenntnis 78 (6):1367-1379 (2013)
Authors
Tuomas E. Tahko
University of Helsinki
Abstract
One type of deflationism about metaphysical modality suggests that it can be analysed strictly in terms of linguistic or conceptual content and that there is nothing particularly metaphysical about modality. Scott Soames is explicitly opposed to this trend. However, a detailed study of Soames’s own account of modality reveals that it has striking similarities with the deflationary account. In this paper I will compare Soames’s account of a posteriori necessities concerning natural kinds with the deflationary one, specifically Alan Sidelle’s account, and suggest that Soames’s account is vulnerable to the deflationist’s critique. Furthermore, I conjecture that both the deflationary account and Soames’s account fail to fully explicate the metaphysical content of a posteriori necessities. Although I will focus on Soames, my argument may have more general implications towards the prospects of providing a meaning-based account of metaphysical modality
Keywords modality  essence  deflationism  Scott Soames  Alan Sidelle  Twin Earth  necessary a posteriori  essentialism
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-012-9428-x
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Essence and Modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8:1-16.
Reference and Essence.Nathan U. Salmon - 1981 - Prometheus Books.
Realism with a Human Face.Hilary Putnam - 1990 - Harvard University Press.

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