Modality

Edited by Derek Haderlie (Brigham Young University)
About this topic
Summary In philosophical contexts, the study of modality is primarily the study of necessity and possibility. Sometimes this is expressed by talking about possible worlds, but this is to a certain extent just a façon de parler. In metaphysics, we are interested in the nature of the modal space -- are the so called possible worlds merely conventional or are they concrete, as modal realism would have it? Whatever the nature of the modal space, questions remain about the status of the different varieties of modality, and our epistemic access to modality. One central topic in recent literature concerns the ground of modal truths, that is, in virtue of what is something necessary? This is also linked to essentialism and de re modality: can we explain transworld identity in terms of essential properties, or perhaps even ground modal truths to essentialist truths?
Key works Some of the most important discussion starters regarding modality include Armstrong 1989, Fine 1994, Forbes 1985, Hale 1996, Kripke 1980, Lewis 1986, Lewis 1973, and Plantinga 1974. Some significant early work (e.g. by Adams, Chisholm, Hintikka, Kripke, Kaplan, Lewis, Plantinga, Quine, Stalnaker) on modality has been collected in volumes such as Linsky 1971, Loux 1979, and Tooley 1999. Many classic papers are also included in Plantinga & Davidson 2003, Stalnaker 2003, and Fine 2005. The contemporary literature is enormous, some important contributions are Lowe 1998, Soames 2002, Williamson 2007, and Jubien 2009. For modal epistemology in particular, Gendler & Hawthorne 2002 is an excellent resource.
Introductions Chihara 1998; Divers 2002; Girle 2003; Hale & Hoffmann 2009; Melia 2003; Vaidya 2007.
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  1. Free Will Is No Defense.Simon Cushing - manuscript
    Why Plantinga's updated (2009) version of the Free Will Defense does not work, and consequently the Logical Argument From Evil against the God of Theism is undefeated.
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  2. How to Project a Socially Constructed Sexual Orientation.Peter Finocchiaro - 2021 - Journal of Social Ontology 7 (2):173-203.
    Was bisexuality a widespread feature of ancient Greek society? This question is an instance of cross-cultural projection -- of taking the means through which people are categorized in one culture and applying it to members of another. It’s widely held by those who think that sexual orientation is socially constructed that its projection poses a problem. In this paper, I offer a more careful analysis of this alleged problem. To analyze projection, I adapt Iris Einheuser’s substratum-carving model of conventionalism to (...)
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  3. A linguistic framework for knowledge, belief, and veridicality judgement.Anastasia Giannakidou & Alda Mari - manuscript
  4. Précis zu: Agents' Abilities.Romy Jaster - 2020 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 74 (3):443-447.
  5. Fähigkeiten und Dispositionen (Draft).Romy Jaster - manuscript
    In diesem Aufsatz argumentiere ich für eine teleologische Fähigkeitstheorie, derzufolge Fähigkeiten Dispositionen zu zweckmäßigem Handeln sind.
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  6. Philosophy Within Its Proper Bounds by Édouard Machery. [REVIEW]Jonathan Lewis - 2018 - Metapsychology 22 (48).
  7. Facts in logical space: A tractarian ontology Jason Turner oxford: Oxford university press, 2016; 362 pp.; $85.00. [REVIEW]John Beverley - 2018 - Dialogue 57 (3):637-639.
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  8. A Less Simplistic Metaphysics: Peirce’s Layered Theory of Meaning as a Layered Theory of Being.Marc Champagne - 2015 - Sign Systems Studies 43 (4):523–552.
    This article builds on C. S. Peirce’s suggestive blueprint for an inclusive outlook that grants reality to his three categories. Moving away from the usual focus on (contentious) cosmological forces, I use a modal principle to partition various ontological layers: regular sign-action (like coded language) subsumes actual sign-action (like here-and-now events) which in turn subsumes possible sign-action (like qualities related to whatever would be similar to them). Once we realize that the triadic sign’s components are each answerable to this asymmetric (...)
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  9. The Principle of Sufficient Reason: A Reassessment.Alexander R. Pruss - 2006 - Cambridge University Press.
    The Principle of Sufficient Reason says that all contingent facts must have explanation. In this 2006 volume, which was the first on the topic in the English language in nearly half a century, Alexander Pruss examines the substantive philosophical issues raised by the Principle Reason. Discussing various forms of the PSR and selected historical episodes, from Parmenides, Leibnez, and Hume, Pruss defends the claim that every true contingent proposition must have an explanation against major objections, including Hume's imaginability argument and (...)
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  10. Modal ontologic.Marek Magdziak - 2014 - Studia Philosophica Wratislaviensia 9.
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  11. Précis of Modality and Explanatory Reasoning.Boris Kment - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (2):489-498.
    The aim of Modality and Explanatory Reasoning (MER) is to shed light on metaphysical necessity and the broader class of modal properties to which it belongs. This topic is approached with two goals: to develop a new and reductive analysis of modality, and to understand the purpose and origin of modal thought. I argue that a proper understanding of modality requires us to reconceptualize its relationship to causation and other forms of explanation such as grounding, a relation that connects metaphysically (...)
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  12. Comments on Kment's Modality and Explanatory Reasoning.Marc Lange - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (2):508-515.
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  13. Modal Monogamy.C. S. I. Jenkins - 2015 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2.
  14. What a Structuralist Theory of Properties Could Not Be.Nora Berenstain - 2016 - In Anna Marmodoro & David Yates (ed.), The Metaphysics of Relations. OUP. Oxford University Press.
    Causal structuralism is the view that, for each natural, non-mathematical, non-Cambridge property, there is a causal profile that exhausts its individual essence. On this view, having a property’s causal profile is both necessary and sufficient for being that property. It is generally contrasted with the Humean or quidditistic view of properties, which states that having a property’s causal profile is neither necessary nor sufficient for being that property, and with the double-aspect view, which states that causal profile is necessary but (...)
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  15. Review of 'Necessary Beings' by Bob Hale. [REVIEW]Katherine Jane Hawley - unknown
    Review of Necessary Beings: An Essay on Ontology, Modality, & the Relations Between Them. By Bob Hale. Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 320, £40. ISBN: 978-0-19-966957-8.
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  16. Modal Oecumenism.M. Sullivan - 2015 - Analysis 75 (2):271-283.
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  17. 5. Modal Realism, Modal Rationalism, Modal Naturalism.Robert Stalnaker - 2012 - In Mere Possibilities: Metaphysical Foundations of Modal Semantics. Princeton University Press. pp. 126-135.
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  18. Kapitel 4: Modal-existentielle Abhängigkeit.Benjamin Schnieder - 2004 - In Substanzen Und Eigenschaften: Eine Studie Zur Analytischen Ontologie. De Gruyter. pp. 257-294.
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  19. Partiality, Modality, and Nonmonotonicity.Patrick A. Doherty - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
    This edited volume of articles provides a state-of-the-art description of research in logic-based approaches to knowledge representation which combines approaches to reasoning with incomplete information that include partial, modal, and nonmonotonic logics. The collection contains two parts: foundations and case studies. The foundations section provides a general overview of partiality, multi-valued logics, use of modal logic to model partiality and resource-limited inference, and an integration of partial and modal logics. The case studies section provides specific studies of issues raised in (...)
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  20. Mathematics of Modality.Robert Goldblatt - 1993 - Center for the Study of Language and Information Publications.
    Modal logic is the study of modalities - expressions that qualify assertions about the truth of statements - like the ordinary language phrases necessarily, possibly, it is known/believed/ought to be, etc., and computationally or mathematically motivated expressions like provably, at the next state, or after the computation terminates. The study of modalities dates from antiquity, but has been most actively pursued in the last three decades, since the introduction of the methods of Kripke semantics, and now impacts on a wide (...)
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  21. Modal Reality.Hamid Vahiddastjerdi - 1991
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  22. Our Knowledge and Metaphysical Possibilities.Quentin Smith - unknown - Proceedings of the Heraclitean Society 19.
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  23. Models and Modality.Stephen Downes - unknown - Eidos: The Canadian Graduate Journal of Philosophy 6.
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  24. Bressan and Suppes on Modality.Bas C. van Fraassen - 1972 - PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1972:323-330.
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  25. On the possibility of a better world.H. B. Townsend - 1936 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 10:132.
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  26. Modality and Logical Form.Donald Royal Riggs - 1980 - Dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    According to the hypothesis a modal qualification is essentially context-relative to kinds of factors which pertain to a speaker's right to say something. This idea is used to explain the distinctive communicative utility of our modal idiom. Furthermore, it is the basis of an explanation of the referential opacity of alethic modality. Opacity is a manifestation of the operation of two kinds of discursive principles which figure prominently in the correctness of a modal judgement, according to our account of the (...)
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  27. Modality and Self-Reference.Gunnar Wayne Niemi - 1970 - Dissertation, University of Michigan
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  28. Keeping Modality in Mind: In Defense of Token Identity.Karen Elizabeth Bennett - 2000 - Dissertation, University of Michigan
    The token identity theory, the claim that each mental event is identical to some physical event, remains a popular view in the philosophy of mind. However, it has been the target of a number of interesting and important criticisms, and broadly physicalist alternatives to the token identity theory are on the rise. I defend the token identity theory against these recent 'token dualist' challenges. ;I begin by clarifying the token identity and token dualist theses. What does it mean to claim---or (...)
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  29. Three Contrasts in Quine on Modality.Roderic Girle - 2010 - Logique Et Analyse 53.
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  30. Law, Inference, and Modality.Nicholas A. Lapara - 1970 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
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  31. Possibility. [REVIEW]K. Britton - 1936 - Mind 45:530.
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  32. WATERLOW, S. "Passage and Possibility, A Study of Aristotle's Modal Concepts". [REVIEW]F. J. C. Williams - 1984 - Mind 93:297.
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  33. Wickedness - Its Possibility and Analysis.S. Antarkar - 1981 - Indian Philosophical Quarterly 9 (1):65.
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  34. Empiricism, Verification, and Reduction, with Special Reference to the Role of Non-Universal Necessary Truths in the Work of Strawson and Shoemaker.Nollaig Mackenzie - 1972 - Dissertation, Cornell University
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  35. Modalities.Ruth Barcan Marcus - 1996 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (4):978-979.
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  36. Two Theories Of Modality.Fraser Mcbride - 2005 - Metaphysica 6 (1):111-127.
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  37. Actuality and Possibility.W. E. Morris - 1980 - Philosophy 55 (211):57-72.
    Philosophy, according to a prominent conception of its nature and method, consists primarily of conceptual or linguistic analysis. Because the relations between concepts are logical, and because the propositions which express them are necessary, philosophy is taken to be an a priori activity.
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  38. Logicheskaia Semantika I Modal Naia Logika.P. V. Tavanets & Institut Filosofii Sssr) - 1967 - Nauka.
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  39. Possibility and Reality: Metaphysics and Logic.Hans Rott & Vítezslav Horák - 2003 - Ontos Verlag.
    The dialectics of possibility and reality is an old philosophical theme. In contrast to empirical sciences that deal with reality, philosophy has sometimes been viewed as the science of the possible. That said, the modal concepts of possibility and necessity have proven to be ambiguous and recalcitrant to analysis, and their relation to the concept of reality remains problematic to the present day. From Aristotle to Russell, the belief that the "real" world by no means exhausts the "possible" worlds has (...)
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  40. Models and Modality.John Timlin Dunlap - 1972 - Dissertation, University of Georgia
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  41. Causation and Types of Necessity.Harold Chapman Brown - 1924 - Journal of Philosophy 21 (24):664-666.
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  42. oernle on The Conception of Possibility. [REVIEW]Percy Hughes - 1908 - Journal of Philosophy 5 (8):219.
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  43. On Some Logical Analyses Of The Concepts ‘necessity’ And ‘existence’.Marek Magdziak - 2011 - Studia Philosophica Wratislaviensia 6 (1):13-19.
    History of modal logic begins with Aristotle who devoted two chapters of On Interpretation to a study of logical connections between the necessary, the impossible, the possible, and the permitted. In the Prior Analytics Aristotle discusses modal syllogisms i.e. syllogisms with modalized premises and conclusion. In On Interpretation he argues that every single assertion, such as premise or conclusion in a syllogism, is either an affirmation or a denial of a single predicate of a single subject; according to Aristotle, modal (...)
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  44. Modality and Explanatory Reasoning.Boris Christian Kment - 2014 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    Boris Kment takes a new approach to the study of modality that emphasises the origin of modal notions in everyday thought. He argues that the concepts of necessity and possibility originate in counterfactual reasoning, which allows us to investigate explanatory connections. Contrary to accepted views, explanation is more fundamental than modality.
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  45. The Construction of Logical Space.Agustín Rayo - 2013 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    Our conception of logical space is the set of distinctions we use to navigate the world. Agustn Rayo argues that this is shaped by acceptance or rejection of 'just is'-statements: e.g. 'to be composed of water just is to be composed of H2O'. He offers a novel conception of metaphysical possibility, and a new trivialist philosophy of mathematics.
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  46. The possibility and value of possibilities for value.Graham Oddie - 1992 - From the Logical Point of View 3:46-62.
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  47. Modal Concepts in the Biological Sciences.Jason Zinser - unknown
    “Modality” refers to the concepts (and surrounding controversies) of “possibility” and “necessity.” Recently, a great deal of attention paid to these concepts in metaphysics. Not surprisingly, this literature has not been adopted in the field of philosophy of biology. In this work, I ague that there is a need to understand how modal concepts function in biology. Biologists already employ modal concepts in a variety of contexts. However, they do not explain how these concepts function or ought to function within (...)
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  48. Modality for Metaphysicians and Applications.Mark Nowacki & Ilya Farber - unknown
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  49. Apriorism about Modality.Scott Sturgeon - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
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  50. Intermediate Possibility and Actuality: Cartesian Error Theory.M. Glouberman - 1991 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 65 (1):63-82.
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