Reviewed by Penelope Mackie, University of Nottingham In this important new book, Bob Hale presents a distinctive theory of the relations between ontology and modality, and develops an original "essentialist theory" of metaphysical modality. Chapter 1 "Ontological Preliminaries" defends a broadly Fregean approach to ontology, according to which ontological categories such as those of object and property are to be explained in terms of a prior logical categorization of expressions such as singular term and predicate. The next three chapters are concerned with fundamental questions about the status of modality.
Alvin Plantinga, Matthew Davidson ed. Essays in the Metaphysics of Modality Published: The previously published works are presented in the following chronological order: In all these works, Plantinga makes reference to, and relies upon, the entities of the metaphysical theory he has been Essay modality philosophical for more than thirty years.
These include states of affairs, propositions, properties, functions, and sets. Thus, in the very first of these pieces—a work to a large extent concerned with defending the coherence of de re modality against the objections of various philosophers—one finds Plantinga making heavy use of propositions, properties, and functions.
It is in the second of these essays that Plantinga introduces what are to become the basic entities of his metaphysics of modality: Some states of affairs obtain, others do not.
The first of the two phrases I mentioned above supposedly refers to a state of affairs that obtains; the second one supposedly refers to a state of affairs that does not obtain. The concept of state of affairs is used to define what a possible world is. We first define two relations among the states of affairs: Now a state of affairs P is a possible world iff, for every state of affairs S, P either includes S or precludes S.
In this essay, Plantinga uses his newly defined notion of possible world to define the concept of having a property essentiall y and the concept of an essence.
Armed with these fundamental modal notions, Plantinga investigates some important questions in the philosophy of language. This essay clearly illustrates how the modal concepts Plantinga had specified could be fruitfully used in the analysis and refutation of philosophical positions and arguments in a variety of areas of philosophy.
Thus, taking aim at what was widely supposed to be the most convincing case for accepting counterpart theory, namely the argument that counterpart theory provides the best solution to the Problem of Transworld Identity, Plantinga provides his own dissolution of the problem and then argues that the reasoning underlying the problem is simply confused.
This argument proceeds from the following three premises: Plantinga provides a convincing refutation of this argument, again relying upon the metaphysical machinery he had developed earlier.
Along the way, Plantinga provides a useful analysis of fictional names. This essay presents most of the modal concepts of his theory in essentially the form developed in the earlier essays, but now the concepts are presented in a more systematic and perspicuous manner.
The Boethian compromise that Plantinga supports is: The last of the essays is aimed at showing that propositions cannot be concrete and hence that propositions cannot be the sets of possible worlds that David Lewis claims that they are.
It would seem, from the papers in the collection being reviewed, that Plantinga was more concerned about exploiting the tools he had discovered than with putting his ontological theory on a firm foundation.Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews is an electronic, peer-reviewed journal that publishes timely reviews of scholarly philosophy books.
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews is an electronic, peer-reviewed journal that publishes timely reviews of scholarly philosophy books.
Necessary Beings: An Essay on Ontology, Modality, and the Relations Between Them // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame. The problems of modality––the modes of being or modes of truth––have a long history, stretching back at least as far as the Greeks.
One of the first book-length philosophical treatments of modality. An introductory survey essay covering kinds and sources of necessity, possible worlds and modal logic, possible worlds and. One of the first book-length philosophical treatments of modality. Develops an account of possible worlds in terms of states of affairs, identity across possible worlds, de re modality, and names, to accommodate negative existential claims and merely possible objects.
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It is important to note that because the epistemology of modality is a subarea of the philosophy of modality one can get a better grasp on the epistemology by also engaging the metaphysics, semantics, and logic of modality as well as general epistemology.