A naturalistic interpretation of the Kripkean modality

Frontiers of Philosophy in China 4 (3):454-470 (2009)


The Kripkean metaphysical modality (i.e. possibility and necessity) is one of the most important concepts in contemporary analytic philosophy and is the basis of many metaphysical speculations. These metaphysical speculations frequently commit to entities that do not belong to this physical universe, such as merely possible entities, abstract entities, mental entities or qualities not realizable by the physical, which seems to contradict naturalism or physicalism. This paper proposes a naturalistic interpretation of the Kripkean modality, as a naturalist’s response to these metaphysical speculations. It will show that naturalism can accommodate the Kripkean metaphysical modality. In particular, it will show that naturalism can help to resolve the puzzles surrounding Kripke’s a posteriori necessary propositions and a priori contingent propositions.

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Feng Ye
Capital Normal University, Beijing, China

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