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Sandra Visser and Thomas Williams

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195309386

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195309386.001.0001

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(p.149) 10 Modality

Sandra Visser

Thomas Williams

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a systematic account of the theory of modality that Anselm employs in his discussion of the problem of foreknowledge and freedom. It begins by examining his conception of necessity. He identifies two different kinds of necessity: antecedent necessity, when the causal relation holds between concrete individuals, and subsequent necessity, when the causal relation holds between concepts. The discussion then shows how he uses his modal theory in his discussion of the problem of freedom and foreknowledge. It clarifies some of the distinctive features of Anselm's modal theory by examining it in light of contemporary discussions of modality.

Keywords:   Anselm's modality, foreknowledge problem, Anselm's modal theory, antecedent necessity, causal compulsion

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