On some arguments for the necessity of necessity

Mind 108 (429):23-52 (1999)
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Must we believe in logical necessity? I examine an argument for an affirmative answer given by Ian McFetridge in his posthumously published paper 'Logical Necessity: Some Issues', and explain why it fails, as it stands, to establish his conclusion. I contend, however, that McFetridge's argument can be effectively buttressed by drawing upon another argument aimed at establishing that we ought to believe that some propositions are logically necessary, given by Crispin Wright in his paper 'Inventing Logical necessity'. My contention is that Wright's argument, whilst it likewise fails, as it stands, to establish the necessity of necessity, established enough to close off what appears to me to be the only effective-looking sceptical response to McFetridge's original argument. My paper falls into four principal parts. In the first I expound McFetridge's argument and draw attention to the possibility of a certain type of sceptical counter to it. In the second, I begin a response to this sceptical move, taking it as far as I can without reliance upon argument of the kind given by Wright. Turning, then, to Wright's argument, I explain to what extent I think it is successful and seek to rebut some objections to the argument which, were they well-taken, would show that the argument cannot enjoy even the partial success I which to claim for it. Finally, I return to my main theme and try to show, with the assistance of what I take to be solidly established by Wright's argument, that the sceptical response collapses.



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