Modality and objects

Philosophical Quarterly 60 (238):109-125 (2010)
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A not-unpopular position in the metaphysics of material objects (Ted Sider's, for instance) combines realism about what objects there are and the conditions of objecthood with conventionalism about de re modality. I argue that this is not a coherent combination of views: one must go fully conventionalist, or fully realist. The central argument displays the difficulty for the modal conventionalist/object realist in specifying the object that satisfies de re modal predicates. I argue that if this is a mind-independent object, contradictions arise when we consider the possibility or actuality of non-equivalent conventions both applying to 'the same object'.



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Alan Sidelle
University of Wisconsin, Madison

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