This chapter offers an epistemic account of necessity: a fact is necessary if it has an a priori mode of presentation, contingent otherwise. The discussion proceeds as follows. Section 1 gives the rationalist definition of the a priori, and propose that the necessary is the a priori. Section 2 discusses which modal logic is correct, on the rationalist conception of necessity. Section 3 discusses ‘Cartesian’ counterexamples, section 4 mathematical counterexamples, and section 5 counterexamples involving singular and plural identity and non-identity. Section 6 discusses descriptive names and Section 7 gives counterexamples involving ‘actually’. Finally, Section 8 discusses how the rationalist theory can use the discourse of possible worlds in philosophical analysis.
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