Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (2):143-160 (2013)

Authors
Amie Thomasson
Dartmouth College
Abstract
Modality presents notorious philosophical problems, including the epistemic problem of how we could come to know modal facts and metaphysical problems about how to place modal facts in the natural world. These problems arise from thinking of modal claims as attempts to describe modal features of this world that explain what makes them true. Here I propose a different view of modal discourse in which talk about what is “metaphysically necessary” does not aim to describe modal features of the world, but, rather, provides a particularly useful way of expressing constitutive semantic and conceptual rules in the object language. The result is a “modal normativist” view that enables us to avoid the epistemic problems of modality and mitigate the metaphysical worries, while also leaving open the possibility of a unified account of the function of modal language. Finally, I address a serious challenge: we have the norms we do in order to track the modal facts of the world, so that the order of explanation must go in the opposite direction. I close by showing how the normativist may answer that challenge.
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DOI 10.1111/sjp.12010
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References found in this work BETA

The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Hutchinson & Co.
The Origin of Concepts.Susan Carey - 2009 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Rules of Use.Indrek Reiland - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
There is No Special Problem with Metaphysics.Karen Bennett - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):21-37.
Metaphysics and Conceptual Negotiation.Amie L. Thomasson - 2017 - Philosophical Issues 27 (1):364-382.

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