Chapter

Relativized Metaphysical Modality<sup>*</sup>

Adam Murray and Jessica Wilson

in Oxford Studies in Metaphysics volume 7

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199659081
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745201 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199659081.003.0007

Series: Oxford Studies in Metaphysics

Relativized Metaphysical Modality*

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It is commonly supposed that metaphysical modal claims are to be evaluated with respect to a single domain of possible worlds: a claim is metaphysically necessary just in case it is true in every possible world, and metaphysically possible just in case it is true in some possible world. This chapter argues that the standard understanding is incorrect; rather, whether a given claim is metaphysically necessary or possible is relative to which world is indicatively actual. We motivate our view by attention to discussions in Salmon 1989 and Fine 2005, in which various data are taken to support rejecting the transitivity of accessibility (Salmon) and modal monism (Fine); we argue that relativized metaphysical modality can accommodate these data compatible with both standard modal logic(s) and modal monism. Noting an analogy with two-dimensional semantics, we argue that metaphysical modality has a complex structure, reflecting what is counterfactually possible, relative to each indicatively actual world.

Keywords: metaphysical modality; modal logic; necessity; possibility; possible worlds; accessibility; indicative actuality; two-dimensional semantics; S4/S5; modal monism

Chapter.  13417 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Metaphysics

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