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Organon F

Volume 26, August 2019, Issue 3, Pages 446–473

ISSN 2585-7150 (online) ISSN 1335-0668 (print)

Research Article | Special issue on Reflecting on the Legacy of C.I. Lewis: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives on Modal Logic

On a Supposed Puzzle Concerning Modality and Existence

Thomas Atkinson Daniel J. Hill Stephen K. McLeod

https://doi.org/10.31577/orgf.2019.26306

Abstract

Kit Fine has proposed a new solution to what he calls ‘a familiar puzzle’ concerning modality and existence. The puzzle concerns the argument from the alleged truths ‘It is necessary that Socrates is a man’ and ‘It is possible that Socrates does not exist’ to the apparent falsehood ‘It is possible that Socrates is a man and does not exist’. We discuss in detail Fine’s setting up of the ‘puzzle’ and his rejection, with which we concur, of two mooted solutions to it. (One of these uses standard, Kripkean, notions, and the other rests on work done by Arthur Prior.) We set out, and reject, the philosophy of modality underlying Fine’s new solution, and we defend an alternative response to the alleged puzzle. Our solution follows the work of David Wiggins in distinguishing between the sentential operator ‘It is necessary that’ and the predicate modifier ‘necessarily’. We briefly provide this distinction with a possible- world semantics on which it is neither a necessary truth, in some sense, that Socrates exists nor true, in some sense, that Socrates necessarily exists.

Keywords

Contingent existents, de re/de dicto distinction, de re modality, existence, Kit Fine, necessity.

Author(s) and affiliation(s)

Author

Thomas Atkinson

Affiliation

University of Liverpool

Address

Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool, Mulberry Court, Mulberry Street, Liverpool, L69 7ZY, United Kingdom

E-mail

thom_atk@me.com

Author

Daniel J. Hill (Corresponding author)

Affiliation

University of Liverpool

Address

Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool, Mulberry Court, Mulberry Street, Liverpool, L69 7ZY, United Kingdom

E-mail

djhill@liverpool.ac.uk 

Author

Stephen K. McLeod

Affiliation

University of Liverpool

Address

Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool, Mulberry Court, Mulberry Street, Liverpool, L69 7ZY, United Kingdom

E-mail

skmcleod@liverpool.ac.uk 

About this article

Received

4 October 2018

Accepted

9 February 2019

Published online

24 August 2019

Publishers

Institute of Philosophy of the Slovak Academy of Sciences

Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Cite as

APA

Atkinson, T., Hill, D.J., and McLeod, S.K. (2019). On a Supposed Puzzle Concerning Modality and Existence. Organon F, 26(3), 446–473. https://doi.org/10.31577/orgf.2019.26306

Chicago

Atkinson, Thomas, Hill, Daniel J., and McLeod, Stephen K. 2019. "On a Supposed Puzzle Concerning Modality and Existence." Organon F 26 (3): 446–473. https://doi.org/10.31577/orgf.2019.26306

Harvard

Atkinson, T., Hill, D.J., and McLeod, S.K. (2019). On a Supposed Puzzle Concerning Modality and Existence. Organon F, 26(3), pp. 446–473. https://doi.org/10.31577/orgf.2019.26306

Copyright information

© Thomas Atkinson, Daniel J. Hill, Stephen K. McLeod

Response page

https://www.sav.sk/index.php?lang=sk&doc=journal-list&part=article_response_page&journal_article_no=17326

The above URL is linked with the article's response page. The response page is a permanent location that is associated with the article's DOI number.


This article is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Contact

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