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Modality and Explanatory Reasoning$
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Boris Kment

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199604685

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199604685.001.0001

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The Nature of Modality

The Nature of Modality

(p.20) 2 The Nature of Modality
Modality and Explanatory Reasoning

Boris Kment

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 states the analysis of modality to be developed, provides some initial motivation for it, and highlights a few of its distinctive features. It starts with a discussion of three plausible ideas about what distinguishes necessary truths from contingent ones, namely that their truth is particularly invariable, unconditional, and secure. When developed in the most natural way, each idea suggests that a proposition is necessary iff it holds at all worlds that have at least a certain degree of closeness to actuality. Necessity and possibility come in degrees. Moreover, modality is “holistic”: a scenario’s degree of possibility is determined by features of the maximally specific scenarios (worlds) where it obtains. The view entails that metaphysical necessity and epistemic necessity (a priori truth) are two fundamentally different forms of modality, yet the account isn’t less economical than two-dimensionalism, according to which there is only a single kind of modality.

Keywords:   modality, necessity, worlds, epistemic necessity, a priori, two-dimensionalism

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