The Possibility of Unicorns and Modal Logic

Analytic Philosophy 55 (2):295-305 (2014)
Lee Walters
University of Southampton
Michael Dummett argues, against Saul Kripke, that there could have been unicorns. He then claims that this possibility shows that the logic of metaphysical modality is not S5, and, in particular, that the B axiom is false. Dummett’s argument against B, however, is invalid. I show that although there are number of ways to repair Dummett’s argument against B, each requires a controversial metaphysical or semantic commitment, and that, regardless of this, the case against B is undermotivated. Dummett’s case is still of interest, however, as if his assumptions are correct, S5 has to go, with the natural culprit being S4.
Keywords Unicorns  Dummett  Modal Logic
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DOI 10.1111/phib.12045
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References found in this work BETA

Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford University Press.
The Seas of Language.Michael A. E. Dummett - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
Bare Possibilia.Timothy Williamson - 1998 - Erkenntnis 48 (2-3):257--73.
First-Order Modal Logic.Melvin Fitting, R. Mendelsohn & Roderic A. Girle - 2002 - Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 8 (3):429-430.

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