Article

Modality

Scott A. Shalkowski

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online June 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0077
Modality

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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. Over time, philosophers have distinguished families of modality: logical, metaphysical, natural, temporal, deontic, epistemic, doxastic, and dynamic. Treatments of these modes have been both formal and philosophical. This entry emphasizes the philosophical and the metaphysical, beginning with more “traditional” approaches (Linguistic Theories, Conventionalism, and Non-Cognitive Theories) before moving on to what many see as a definite step forward in understanding modality (Possible Worlds) and the specifics of that framework (Counterpart Theory). In reaction, there have been attempts to join aspects of traditional thought about modality with that advance (Actualism generally and more specific versions with Combinatorialism and Modal Fictionalism). Metaphysical issues are intertwined with issues of expressibility (Modalism, Reference and Modality), which are sometimes thought to track metaphysical issues (Essentialism) and whether there is a well-behaved modality that must be acknowledged or assumed and whether the most fundamental modality is metaphysically innocent (Logical Necessity). Finally, there is notable recent work on the epistemology of modality (Conceivability and Possibility).

Article.  10584 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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