A genuine realist theory of advanced modalizing

Mind 108 (430):217-239 (1999)
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The principle of modal ubiquity - that every truth is necessary or contingent - and the validity of possibility introduction, are principles that any modal theory suffers for failing to accommodate. Advanced modal claims are modal claims about entities other than spatiotemporally unified individuals (perhaps, then, spatiotemporally disunified individuals, sets, numbers, properties, propositions and events). I show that genuine modal realism, as it has thus far been explicitly developed, and in so far as it deals with advanced modal claims, cannot accommodate the principles in question. On behalf of the genuine modal realist I motivate and propose a redundancy interpretation of advanced possibility claims and extend that interpretation to the cognate cases of necessity, impossibility and contingency. I then show that the problematic principles as they apply to advanced modal claims can be derived from these interpretations. I show further how the proposed interpretation enables the genuine modal realist to deal with a number of objections that centre on the alleged inadequacy of the genuine modal realist's expressive resources. I conclude that genuine modal realism emerges the stronger for having been shown capable of dealing with advanced modal claims on the basis of no conceptual and ontological resources beyond those it requires to deal with ordinary modal claims.



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John Divers
Trinity College, Dublin

Citations of this work

Plenitude and Recombination.Alastair Wilson - forthcoming - In Helen Beebee & Anthony Fisher (eds.), Perspectives on the Philosophy of David K. Lewis. Oxford University Press.
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