Chapter

The Necessity of Origin

Penelope Mackie

in How Things Might Have Been

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780199272204
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191604034 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199272204.003.0006
 The Necessity of Origin

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This chapter argues that the intuitive appeal of Kripke’s necessity of origin thesis can be explained by seeing the thesis as the consequence of a temporally asymmetrical ‘branching model’ of de re possibilities, which, in turn, rests on two principles concerning possibility, time, and identity called ‘the assumption of open futures’ and ‘the overlap requirement’. This explanation of the necessity of origin intuition is defended against a standard objection, and compared with two other proposed explanations. It is also argued that the explanation of the intuitive appeal of the necessity of origin thesis does not justify that thesis, principally because the ultimate defensibility of the overlap requirement is doubtful. The chapter concludes by suggesting that the necessity of origin thesis advocated by Kripke and others should be rejected in favour of a weaker thesis called ‘the tenacity of origin’, that does not imply that distinctive features of an individual’s origin are among its essential properties.

Keywords: branching model; Kripke; McGinn; necessity of origin; open future; overlap requirement; sufficiency of origin; tenacity of origin

Chapter.  10201 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Metaphysics

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