Ruth Barcan Marcus and quantified modal logic

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 30 (2):353-383 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Analytic philosophy in the mid-twentieth century underwent a major change of direction when a prior consensus in favour of extensionalism and descriptivism made way for approaches using direct reference, the necessity of identity, and modal logic. All three were first defended, in the analytic tradition, by one woman, Ruth Barcan Marcus. But analytic philosophers now tend to credit them to Kripke, or Kripke and Carnap. I argue that seeing Barcan Marcus in her historical context – one dominated by extensionalism and descriptivism – allows us to see how revolutionary she was, in her work and influence on others. I focus on her debate with Quine, who found himself retreating to softened, and more viable, versions of his anti-modal arguments as a result. I make the case that Barcan's formal logic was philosophically well-motivated, connected to her views on reference, and well-matched to her overall views on ontology. Her nominalism led her to reject posits which could not be directly observed and named, such as possibilia. She conceived of modal calculi as facilitating counterfactual discourse about actual existents. I conclude that her contributions ought to be recognized as the first of their kind. Barcan Marcus must be awarded a central place in the canon of analytic philosophy.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 93,098

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Ruth Barcan Marcus and quantified modal logic.Frederique Janssen-Lauret - 2022 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 30 (2):353-383.
Review of Ruth Barcan Marcus: Modalities: Philosophical Essays[REVIEW]Ruth Barcan Marcus & Shaughan Lavine - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (2):267-274.
Ruth Barcan Marcus on the Deduction Theorem in Modal Logic.Roberta Ballarin - forthcoming - History and Philosophy of Logic:1-21.
On modality and reference: Ruth Barcan Marcus (1921-2012).Genoveva Martí - 2012 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 31 (2):203-212.
Modalities: philosophical essays.Ruth Barcan Marcus - 1961 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Contemporary (Analytic Tradition).Robert Michels - 2024 - In Kathrin Koslicki & Michael J. Raven (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Essence in Philosophy. Routledge.
Ruth Barcan Marcus (1921–).M. J. Cresswell - 2001 - In A. P. Martinich & David Sosa (eds.), A Companion to Analytic Philosophy. Malden, Massachusetts, USA: Blackwell. pp. 357–360.
Meta-Ontology, Naturalism, and The Quine-Barcan Marcus Debate.Frederique Janssen-Lauret - 2015 - In Frederique Janssen-Lauret & Gary Kemp (eds.), Quine and His Place in History. Palgrave. pp. 146-167.

Analytics

Added to PP
2022-01-07

Downloads
77 (#221,179)

6 months
22 (#129,165)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Frederique Janssen-Lauret
University of Manchester

References found in this work

Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
The Philosophy of Logical Atomism.Bertrand Russell - 1940 - Open Court. Edited by David Pears.
Semantical Considerations on Modal Logic.Saul Kripke - 1963 - Acta Philosophica Fennica 16:83-94.
Knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description.Bertrand Russell - 1911 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 11:108--28.

View all 58 references / Add more references