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 2010; Melia 2003; Vaidya 2007.
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  1. Rozwiązanie paradoksów Rossa i Priora. Klasyczny Rachunek Modalności..Jan Pociej - 2024 - Https://Doi.Org/10.6084/M9.Figshare.25196138.V1.
    Rozwiązanie paradoksów Rossa i Priora okazało się trudnym zadaniem. Jego pierwsze dwa etapy, obejmujące identyfikację prawdziwych natur implikacji i wartości logicznych, zostały opisane w artykułach "Rozwiązanie paradoksu implikacji materialnej – 2024" i "Rozwiązanie dylematu Jörgensena – 2024". Ten artykuł opisuje trzeci etap, obejmujący odkrycie brakujących funktorów modalnych i Klasycznego Rachunku Modalności. Na zakończenie zostają podane procedury rozwiązania obu paradoksów.
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  2. On Some Objections to the Powers-BSA.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    This paper responds to Friend’s (2023) critique of the Powers-BSA, a view according to which laws of nature are efficient descriptions of how modally laden properties (powers) are possibly distributed in spacetime. In the course of this response, the paper discusses the nature of scientific and metaphysical explanation, the aim of science and the structure of modal space.
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  3. On the Necessity of Priority Monism.Stephen Harrop - 2024 - Erkenntnis (2):685-703.
    Priority monism is the doctrine that there is only one basic object: the entire cosmos. Priority monists often take this to be a metaphysically necessary thesis. I explore the consequences of modalizing the priority monist thesis. I argue that, modulo some assumptions, the modalized thesis entails the necessary existence of the actual cosmos. I further argue that, if the modalized thesis is true, and the actual cosmos necessarily exists, then the only possible concrete objects are the actually existing ones.
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  4. Eight Arguments for First‐Person Realism.David Builes - 2024 - Philosophy Compass 19 (1):e12959.
    According to First-Person Realism, one's own first-person perspective on the world is metaphysically privileged in some way. After clarifying First-Person Realism by reference to parallel debates in the metaphysics of modality and time, I survey eight different arguments in favor of First-Person Realism.
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  5. A problem not peculiar to counterfactual sufficiency.Chaoan He - forthcoming - Analysis.
    The Consequence Argument for incompatibilism is beset by two rival interpretations: the counterfactual sufficiency interpretation and the counterfactual might interpretation. Waldrop recently argued that the counterfactual sufficiency interpretation conflicts with certain principles governing the logic of counterfactuals. In this paper, I show that Waldrop’s argument can be adapted to prove that the counterfactual might interpretation also conflicts with the same principles. So the problem Waldrop pointed out is not peculiar to the counterfactual sufficiency interpretation.
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  6. Properties, potentialities and modality.Barbara Vetter - 2024 - In A. R. J. Fisher & Anna-Sofia Maurin (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Properties. London & New York: Routledge. pp. 315-324.
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  7. Dike.Emanuele Severino - 2015 - Milano: Adelphi edizioni.
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  8. A Case for Necessitarianism by Amy Karofsky (Routledge, 2021). ISBN 9781032026169. [REVIEW]Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2024 - Philosophy 99 (1):132-137.
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  9. Dated Truths Without Dated Powers.Giacomo Giannini & Donatella Donati - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-21.
    Dispositionalism is the theory of modality according to which all (metaphysical and natural) modal truths are made true by some actual irreducibly dispositional property. The relationship between Dispositionalism and time is yet to be satisfactorily explored. In this paper we contribute to this task by examining how Dispositionalism deals with ‘dated truths’: propositions involving a specific time, e.g. “It might rain at 12.30”. We examine two possible accounts: the first, 'Dated Manifestations Strategy', is the idea that powers are very fine-grained, (...)
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  10. Agential Possibilities.Christian List - 2023 - Possibility Studies and Society.
    We ordinarily think that we human beings have agency: we have control over our choices and make a difference to our environments. Yet it is not obvious how agency can fit into a physical world that is governed by exceptionless laws of nature. In particular, it is unclear how agency is possible if those laws are deterministic and the universe functions like a mechanical clockwork. In this short paper, I first explain the apparent conflict between agency and physical determinism (referring (...)
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  11. A Metametaphysics of Form.James Dominic Rooney - forthcoming - In Gaven Kerr (ed.), Thomism Revisited. Cambridge University Press.
    A model of metaphysics associated with EJ Lowe and Tuomas Tahko sees metaphysics as involving a priori knowledge of possible essences, or at least modal facts, and delimiting the actual ‘ontological categories,’ the ultimate and essential divisions of what exists, based on the results of a posteriori scientific investigation. Their approach to metaphysics has been criticized by those who argue that such metaphysics is unsuitably a priori, disconnected with empirical research in natural science, and ends up failing to provide meaningful (...)
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  12. Konieczność, przypadek, prawo statystyczne.Władysław Krajewski - 1977 - Warszawa: Państwowe Wydawn, Naukowe.
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  13. Engaging Kripke with Wittgenstein: The Standard Meter, Contingent Apriori, and Beyond.Martin Gustafsson, Oskari Kuusela & Jakub Mácha (eds.) - 2023 - New York: Routledge.
    This volume draws connections between Wittgenstein's philosophy and the work of Saul Kripke, especially his Naming and Necessity. Saul Kripke is regarded as one of the foremost representatives of contemporary analytic philosophy. His most important contributions include the strict distinction between metaphysical and epistemological questions, the introduction of the notions of contingent a priori truth and necessary a posteriori truth and original accounts of names, descriptions, identity, necessity and realism. The chapters in this book elucidate the relevant connections between Kripke's (...)
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  14. Debating Powers: Where the Real Puzzle Lies.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Stephen Mumford and Alexander Bird disagree about which properties are powers and, correspondingly, about the extent of the philosophical work to which powers may be put. Unfortunately, there is an important respect in which these authors are talking past each other and so the reason for their disagreement remains obscured. I highlight what has gone wrong in their recent exchange, attempt to clear up the confusion and pinpoint the true source of their disagreement. My hope is to redirect the efforts (...)
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  15. Are all laws of nature created equal? Meta-laws versus more necessary laws.Salim Hirèche, Niels Linnemann & Robert Michels - 2023 - Erkenntnis:1-19.
    Two approaches to elevating certain laws of nature over others have come to prominence recently. On the one hand, according to the meta-laws approach, there are meta-laws, laws which relate to laws as those laws relate to particular facts. On the other hand, according to the modal, or non-absolutist, approach, some laws are necessary in a stricter sense than others. Both approaches play an important role in current research, questioning the ‘orthodoxy’ represented by the leading philosophical theories of natural laws—Humeanism, (...)
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  16. Sellars on modality: possible worlds and rules of inference.Sybren Heyndels - forthcoming - British Journal for the History of Philosophy:1-26.
    This paper discusses the account of alethic modality as presented by Wilfrid Sellars in his earlier work from 1947 to 1958. Its aim is twofold. First, I discuss Sellars' analysis by exploring its historical relationship to Carnap's account of modality. I argue that Carnap's early syntactic treatment of modality profoundly influenced Sellars' own so-called ‘regulist' account of modality in terms of rules of inference. Furthermore, it is suggested that Sellars' lesser-known possible worlds analysis was influenced by Carnap's later semantic account (...)
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  17. Kanōsei no tetsugaku.Eiichi Kitō - 1964
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  18. Problema vozmozhnosti i deĭstvitelʹnosti.B. A. Chagin (ed.) - 1964 - Leningrad,: Nauka [Leningradskoe otd-nie].
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  19. Neobkhodimost i sluchaĭnost.Nedi︠a︡lka Nikolova Mikhova - 1972
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  20. Svoboda cheloveka i bozhestvennyĭ proizvol.Efim Isaakovich Shekhterman - 1974
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  21. Utilgjengelige verdener.Sverre Sløgedal - 1976 - Trondheim: Universitetsforlaget.
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  22. Dialektika neobkhodimosti i sluchaĭnosti.N. V. Pilipenko - 1980 - Moskva: "Myslʹ".
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  23. Træk af behovsproblematikkens idehistorie med særligt henblik på Marx og Engels: en afhandling, der bl.a. stiller spørgsmålet, om det er meningsfyldt at diskutere naturlige behov, før man har stillet spørgsmålet, om det er naturligt, at menneskene har behov.Hans-Jørgen Schanz - 1981 - Århus: Modtryk.
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  24. Der Möglichkeitsgedanke: systemgeschichtliche Untersuchungen.August Faust - 1931 - New York, N.Y.: Garland.
    1. T. Antike Philosophie -- 2. T. Christliche Philosophie.
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  25. Neobkhodimostʹ i sluchaĭnostʹ.Mikhail Alekseevich Parni︠u︡k (ed.) - 1988 - Kiev: Nauk. dumka.
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  26. Kont︠s︡ept︠s︡ii︠a︡ neobkhodimosti i sluchaĭnosti v uchenii antichnykh i vostochnykh mysliteleĭ.A. A. Bekboev - 1989 - Frunze: "Ilim".
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  27. Eisagōgē se mia phainomenologia tou dynatou.Giōrgos I. Mourelos - 1994 - Athēna: Nephelē.
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  28. Ontologii︠a︡ vozmozhnykh mirov: materialy nauchnoĭ konferent︠s︡ii.B. I. Lipskiĭ (ed.) - 2001 - Sankt-Peterburg: Izd-vo Sankt-Peterburgskogo universiteta.
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  29. Filosofii︠a︡ vozmozhnogo.Mikhail Epstein - 2001 - Sankt-Peterburg: Izd-vo "Aleteĭi︠a︡".
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  30. Grounding, Necessity, and Relevance.Salim Hireche - 2023 - Philosophical Studies:1-22.
    Grounding necessitarianism (GN) is the view that full grounds necessitate what they ground. Although GN has been rather popular among philosophers, it faces important counterexamples: For instance, A=[Socrates died] fully grounds C=[Xanthippe became a widow]. However, A fails to necessitate C: A could have obtained together with B=[Socrates and Xanthippe were never married], without C obtaining. In many cases, the debate essentially reduces to whether A indeed fully grounds C – as the contingentist claims – or if instead C is (...)
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  31. Kosmologie światów możliwych.Janusz Jaskóła & Anna Olejarczyk (eds.) - 2002 - Wrocław: Wydawn. Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego.
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  32. Modal Idealism.David Builes - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind.
    I argue that it is metaphysically necessary that: (i) every fundamental entity is conscious, and (ii) every fundamental property is a phenomenal property.
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  33. Processes and their modal profile.Riccardo Baratella - 2023 - Synthese 201 (3):1-24.
    A widely debated issue in contemporary metaphysics is whether the modal profile of ordinary objects has to be explained in non-modal terms (that is, Thesis 1). However, how to solve such an issue with respect to occurrences – namely, processes and events – is a question that has been largely neglected in the current metaphysical debate. The general goal of this article is to start filling this gap. As a first result of the article, we make it plausible that, if (...)
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  34. Vozmozhnye miry: semantika, ontologii︠a︡, metafizika.E. G. Dragalina-Chernai︠a︡ (ed.) - 2011 - Moskva: ROOI "Reabilitat︠s︡ii︠a︡".
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  35. Unvermögen: die Potentialität der praktischen Vernunft.Dirk Setton - 2012 - Zürich: Diaphanes.
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  36. New Foundations of Dispositionalism - introduction.Andrea Raimondi & Lorenzo Azzano - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-26.
    As Price (2009) famously mused, if a philosopher were to be magically transported, perhaps through means of time travel, from the 1950s to the modern day, they would indeed be shocked by the resurgence of metaphysics in the analytic tradition. Most of all, perhaps, they would be shocked by the popularity of power metaphysics. What a strange item to have in a philosopher’s curriculum, they might think: after all, didn’t David Hume claim that “[t]here are no ideas which can occur (...)
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  37. Weltverhältnis und Weltverlust. Versuch über Skepsis und Metaphysik der Modalität.Mario Schärli - 2021 - Dissertation, Université de Fribourg
    I maintain that substantive metaphysics makes an ineliminable contribution to our mind’s cognitive relation to objects. To account for the precise nature of this metaphysical contribution, I investigate domains of thought in which our cognitive relation to objects appears problematic. In perception, an experience’s metaphysical dependence upon objects and their essences ground its content and, in part, epistemic worth. Regarding metaphysical modality, viewing modality and actuality as equally fundamental is pivotal to understanding our modal knowledge and thought. Relating to the (...)
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  38. 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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  39. A linguistic framework for knowledge, belief, and veridicality judgement.Anastasia Giannakidou & Alda Mari - manuscript
  40. Précis zu: Agents' Abilities.Romy Jaster - 2020 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 74 (3):443-447.
  41. 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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  42. Philosophy Within Its Proper Bounds by Édouard Machery. [REVIEW]Jonathan Lewis - 2018 - Metapsychology 22 (48).
  43. 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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  44. 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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  45. Modal ontologic.Marek Magdziak - 2014 - Studia Philosophica Wratislaviensia 9.
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  46. 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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  47. Comments on Kment's Modality and Explanatory Reasoning.Marc Lange - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (2):508-515.
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  48. 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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  49. Modal Oecumenism.M. Sullivan - 2015 - Analysis 75 (2):271-283.
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  50. 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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