Since Kit Fine presented his counter-examples to the standard versions of the modal view, many have been convinced that the standard versions of the modal view are not adequate. However, the scope of Fine's argument has not been fully appreciated. In this paper, I aim to carry Fine’s argument to its logical conclusion and argue that once we embrace the intuition underlying his counter-examples, we have to hold that properties obtained, totally or partially, by application of logical operations are not (...) essential to non-logical entities. I also demonstrate that most of the post-Finean versions of the modal view, which were developed to accommodate Fine’s counter-examples, entail that such properties are essential to the entities, and so fail to capture the notion of essence at issue in Fine's counter-examples. Additionally, I explore the consequence of my argument for Fine’s proposed logic of essence. The logic turns out to be inadequate in its present shape as it represents such properties to be essential to the entities. I conclude by developing a modification to the logic to overcome the shortcoming. (shrink)
Since Kit Fine published his famous counter-examples to the modal account of essence, numerous modalists have proposed to avoid the counter-examples by revising the modal account. A sophisticated revision has been put forward by Fabrice Correia. Drawing on themes from Prior’s modality, Correia has introduced a nonstandard conception of metaphysical modality and has proposed to analyze essence in its terms. He has claimed that the analysis is immune to Fine’s counter-examples. In this paper, I argue that there are counter-examples supported (...) by the very intuition underlying Fine’s counter-examples, which are not accommodated by Correia’s account. If my argument is sound, then Correia has not been successful in his defense of modalism. An important corollary of my argument will be that Fine’s consequential conception of essence needs to be modified if it is to capture his own intuitive notion of essence. (shrink)
One common objection against the Principle of Sufficient Reason is that it leads to a highly counterintuitive position, namely, necessitarianism. In this paper, drawing on Avicenna’s modal theory, I differentiate between two versions of necessitarianism: strong necessitarianism and weak necessitarianism. I argue that the modal intuition driving this objection pertains to strong necessitarianism, while the Principle of Sufficient Reason, at most, leads to weak necessitarianism.
A main function of common natures in Avicenna’s metaphysics is supposed to be providing an objective ground for the categories. Thus, it is commonly assumed that in his metaphysics things are objectively divided into the categories into which they are because members of each category share the same common nature. However, common natures cannot perform the function unless they are shared, in a real sense of the word, by the members of the respective categories, and it is not clear at (...) all in what real sense Avicenna took common natures to be shared by them. On the one hand, he rejected Platonic and Aristotelian realisms about common natures, the two standard accounts of how common natures are shared by their instances. On the other hand, it is unclear that his alternative account(s) of common natures renders them genuinely common. The primary goal of this paper is to examine whether Avicenna’s common natures can provide an objective ground for the categories. It considers various interpretations of Avicenna's account and argues that they are either incorrect interpretations of Avicenna or do not render common natures genuinely common. It concludes with proposing to look elsewhere in Avicenna’s system to find the objective ground. (shrink)
The Muʿtazilī theologians, particularly the later Imāmī ones, developed numerous interesting arguments against divine command theory. The arguments, however, have not received the attention they deserve. Some of the arguments have been discussed in passing, and some have not been discussed at all. In this article, I aim to present and analyse the arguments. To that end, I first distinguish between different semantic, ontological, epistemological, and theological theses that were often conflated in the debate, and examine the logical relation among (...) them. Then I go over the Muʿtazila's arguments determining, among other things, which of the theses was targeted by each argument. In presenting the arguments, I focus mainly on the late kalām period, the period falling roughly between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries of the common era, as the arguments were at their most sophisticated level by this time. (shrink)
Hale has argued that logical necessities are absolute in the sense that there is no competing kind of modality under which they may be false. In this paper, I argue that there are competing kinds of modality, which I call “essentialist modalities,” under which logical necessities may be false. Since it is counter-intuitive to say that logical necessities are not absolute, my argument, if correct, shows that Hale’s characterization of absolute necessity does not adequately capture the intuitive notion of absolute (...) necessity. Then, a qualified version of Hale’s characterization of absolute necessity is proposed. On the qualified version, the absoluteness of logical necessities is no longer defeated by essentialist possibilities. (shrink)
One of the arguments of the realists to prove the existence of universals in the external world is “abstract reference”. According to this argument, there are many true sentences in a language which apparently relates to universals. In the realists’ view, truth of these sentences can be explicated only when universals exist in the external world. On the basis of his “degree of language” theory, Carnap has criticized the above-mentioned argument and demonstrated that delusion of the existence of universals has (...) resulted from the confusion in regard to different degrees of language. In his view, those sentences concerning to universals are in fact second-order sentences which assert properties with regard to some first-order sentences. But Carnap’s theory suffers from two main objections: firstly, his theory is not successful in the elimination of reference to universals, because on the basis of his theory, only reference to non-linguistic universals would be eliminated but reference to linguistic universals continue to survive. Secondly, supposing that Carnap’s theory is true, translation of the sentences in question would be extremely difficult and complicate. So Wilfred Sellars attempts to response the two objections, and thus, to present a reformed version of Carnap’s theory. In the present article, the author first explains Carnap’s theory; then, it presents the relevant objections; and finally, it offers Sellars’ reformed version of Carnap’s theory. (shrink)