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The Metaphysics of Knowledge$
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Keith Hossack

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199206728

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199206728.001.0001

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(p.125) 4 Necessity
The Metaphysics of Knowledge

Keith Hossack (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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.

Keywords:   a priori, rationalism, modal logic, Cartesian counterexamples, mathematical counterexamples, rationalist theory, discourse, possible words

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