Essays in the Metaphysics of Modality

Author: Alvin Plantinga
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198026389
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Perhaps no one has done more in the last 30 years to advance thinking in the metaphysics of modality than has Alvin Plantinga. Collected here are some of his most important essays on this influential subject. Dating back from the late 1960's to the present, they chronicle the development of Plantinga's thoughts about some of the most fundamental issues in metaphysics: what is the nature of abstract objects like possible worlds, properties, propositions, and such phenomena? Are there possible but non-actual objects? Can objects that do not exist exemplify properties? Plantinga gives thorough and penetrating answers to all of these questions and many others. This volume contains some of the best work in metaphysics from the past 30 years, and will remain a source of critical contention and keen interest among philosophers of metaphysics and philosophical logic for years to come.

Ontology Identity and Modality

Author: Peter van Inwagen
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521795487
Format: PDF, Docs
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Thirteen of Peter van Inwagen's essays on metaphysics, with a specially-written introduction.

The Possible and the Actual

Author: Michael J. Loux
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801491788
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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This well-chosen collection of fifteen important essays in the fields of philosophical logic and metaphysics addresses questions relating to the nature and status of possible worlds.

A Critical Introduction to the Metaphysics of Modality

Author: Andrea Borghini
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1472521943
Format: PDF, Mobi
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A Critical Introduction to the Metaphysics of Modality examines the eight main contemporary theories of possibility behind a central metaphysical topic. Covering modal skepticism, modal expressivism, modalism, modal realism, ersatzism, modal fictionalism, modal agnosticism, and the new modal actualism, this comprehensive introduction to modality places contemporary debates in an historical context. Beginning with a historical overview, Andrea Borghini discusses Parmenides and Zeno; looks at how central Medieval authors such as Aquinas, and Buridan prepared the ground for the Early Modern radical views of Leibniz, Spinoza, and Hume and discusses advancements in semantics in the later-half of the twentieth century a resulted in the rise of modal metaphysics, the branch characterizing the past few decades of philosophical reflection. Framing the debate according to three main perspectives - logical, epistemic, metaphysical- Borghini provides the basic concepts and terms required to discuss modality. With suggestions of further reading and end-of-chapter study questions, A Critical Introduction to the Metaphysics of Modality is an up-to-date resource for students working in contemporary metaphysics seeking a better understanding of this crucial topic.

Modalities

Author: Ruth Barcan Marcus
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 0195096576
Format: PDF, ePub
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These papers cover important themes such as extensionality, the necessity of identity, the conception of proper names as 'tags', essentialism, substitutional quantification, and possibilia and possible worlds. What emerges from them is a robust defence of quantified modal logic in the light of a host of objections, particularly from Quine.

Necessary Beings

Author: Bob Hale
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191648345
Format: PDF
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Necessary Beings is concerned with two central areas of metaphysics: modality—the theory of necessity, possibility, and other related notions; and ontology—the general study of what kinds of entities there are. Bob Hale's overarching purpose is to develop and defend two quite general theses about what is required for the existence of entities of various kinds: that questions about what kinds of things there are cannot be properly understood or adequately answered without recourse to considerations about possibility and necessity, and that, conversely, questions about the nature and basis of necessity and possibility cannot be satisfactorily tackled without drawing on what might be called the methodology of ontology. Taken together, these two theses claim that ontology and modality are mutually dependent upon one another, neither more fundamental than the other. Hale defends a broadly Fregean approach to metaphysics, according to which ontological distinctions among different kinds of things (objects, properties, and relations) are to be drawn on the basis of prior distinctions between different logical types of expression. The claim that facts about what kinds of things exist depend upon facts about what is possible makes little sense unless one accepts that at least some modal facts are fundamental, and not reducible to facts of some other, non-modal, sort. He argues that facts about what is absolutely necessary or possible have this character, and that they have their source or basis, not in meanings or concepts nor in facts about alternative 'worlds', but in the natures or essences of things.

Modal Logic as Metaphysics

Author: Timothy Williamson
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191654760
Format: PDF, Docs
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Are there such things as merely possible people, who would have lived if our ancestors had acted differently? Are there future people, who have not yet been conceived? Questions like those raise deep issues about both the nature of being and its logical relations with contingency and change. In Modal Logic as Metaphysics, Timothy Williamson argues for positive answers to those questions on the basis of an integrated approach to the issues, applying the technical resources of modal logic to provide structural cores for metaphysical theories. He rejects the search for a metaphysically neutral logic as futile. The book contains detailed historical discussion of how the metaphysical issues emerged in the twentieth century development of quantified modal logic, through the work of such figures as Rudolf Carnap, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Arthur Prior, and Saul Kripke. It proposes higher-order modal logic as a new setting in which to resolve such metaphysical questions scientifically, by the construction of systematic logical theories embodying rival answers and their comparison by normal scientific standards. Williamson provides both a rigorous introduction to the technical background needed to understand metaphysical questions in quantified modal logic and an extended argument for controversial, provocative answers to them. He gives original, precise treatments of topics including the relation between logic and metaphysics, the methodology of theory choice in philosophy, the nature of possible worlds and their role in semantics, plural quantification compared to quantification into predicate position, communication across metaphysical disagreement, and problems for truthmaker theory.

Mere Possibilities

Author: Robert Stalnaker
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691147124
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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It seems reasonable to believe that there might have existed things other than those that in fact exist, or have existed. But how should we understand such claims? Standard semantic theories exploit the Leibnizian metaphor of a set of all possible worlds: a proposition might or must be true if it is true in some or all possible worlds. The actualist, who believes that nothing exists except what actually exists, prefers to talk of possible states of the world, or of ways that a world might be. But even the actualist still faces the problem of explaining what we are talking about when we talk about the domains of other possible worlds. In Mere Possibilities, Robert Stalnaker develops a framework for clarifying this problem, and explores a number of actualist strategies for solving it. Some philosophers have hypothesized a realm of individual essences that stand as proxies for all merely possible beings. Others have argued that we are committed to the necessary existence of everything that does or might exist. In contrast, Mere Possibilities shows how we can make sense of ordinary beliefs about what might and must exist without making counterintuitive metaphysical commitments. The book also sheds new light on the nature of metaphysical theorizing by exploring the interaction of semantic and metaphysical issues, the connections between different metaphysical issues, and the nature of ontological commitment.

Modality and Tense

Author: Kit Fine
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199278709
Format: PDF, Kindle
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In this book, Kit Fine draws together a series of essays, three of them previously unpublished, on possibility, necessity, and tense.

The metaphysics of modality

Author: Graeme Forbes
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN:
Format: PDF
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Analytic philosophy has recently demonstrated a revived interest in metaphysical problems about possibility and necessity. Graeme Forbes here provides a careful description of the logical background of recent work in this area for those who may be unfamiliar with it, moving on to d discuss the distinction between modalityde reand modalityde dictoand the ontological commitments of possible worlds semantics. In addition, Forbes offers a unified theory of the essential properties of sets, organisms, artefacts, substances, and events, based on the doctrine that identity facts must be intrinsically grounded, and analyzes and rejects apparent counterexamples to this doctrine.