Philosophical Studies 177 (7):1971-1997 (2020)

Authors
Christopher Menzel
Texas A&M University
Abstract
In Modal Logic as Metaphysics, Timothy Williamson claims that the possibilism-actualism (P-A) distinction is badly muddled. In its place, he introduces a necessitism-contingentism (N-C) distinction that he claims is free of the confusions that purportedly plague the P-A distinction. In this paper I argue first that the P-A distinction, properly understood, is historically well-grounded and entirely coherent. I then look at the two arguments Williamson levels at the P-A distinction and find them wanting and show, moreover, that, when the N-C distinction is broadened (as per Williamson himself) so as to enable necessitists to fend off contingentist objections, the P-A distinction can be faithfully reconstructed in terms of the N-C distinction. However, Williamson’s critique does point to a genuine shortcoming in the common formulation of the P-A distinction. I propose a new definition of the distinction in terms of essential properties that avoids this shortcoming.
Keywords Actualism  Possibilism  Necessitism  Contingentism
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-019-01294-0
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.
On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Modal Logic as Metaphysics.Timothy Williamson - 2013 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
The Nature of Necessity.Alvin Plantinga - 1974 - Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 1905 - Mind 14 (56):479-493.

View all 82 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Abstract Objects.Gideon Rosen - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Actualism Has Control Issues.Yishai Cohen & Travis Timmerman - 2016 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 10 (3):1-18.
Modal Ontology and Generalized Quantifiers.Peter Fritz - 2013 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 42 (4):643-678.
Můžeme Mluvit o Tom, Co Není?Lukáš Novák - 2014 - Studia Neoaristotelica 11 (3):36-72.
The Uses and Abuses of the Personal/Subpersonal Distinction.Zoe Drayson - 2012 - Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1):1-18.
Where Are Particulars and Universals?Fraser MacBride - 1998 - Dialectica 52 (3):203–227.
Reply to Fine.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):571-583.
The Truth About Sherlock Holmes.Fredrik Haraldsen - 2017 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 24 (3):339-365.
Descartes's Conceptual Distinction and its Ontological Import.Justin Skirry - 2004 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 42 (2):121-144.
The Personal/Subpersonal Distinction.Zoe Drayson - 2014 - Philosophy Compass 9 (5):338-346.
What's New in Ockham's Formal Distinction?Michael Jordan - 1985 - Franciscan Studies 45 (1):97-110.
Contextualism and the Use-Mention Distinction.Štefan Riegelnik - 2011 - Lodz Papers in Pragmatics 7 (2):281-290.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2018-12-23

Total views
669 ( #11,928 of 2,517,893 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
82 ( #9,187 of 2,517,893 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes