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Sketch for a Systematic Metaphysics$
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D. M. Armstrong

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199590612

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590612.001.0001

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Possibility, Actuality, Necessity

Possibility, Actuality, Necessity

(p.67) Chapter 9 Possibility, Actuality, Necessity
Sketch for a Systematic Metaphysics

David M. Armstrong

Oxford University Press

It is argued, using the Entailment Principle, that for any contingent truth, the truthmaker for the truth is also a truthmaker for the possibility that it is false. This may be called the Possibility Principle. These possibilities, therefore, come at a very low ontological cost. They supervene. The actual is identical with the existents, with the being. There are no levels of being, and no special link with the present. What exist are contingent states of affairs. There are no necessary beings. The truthmakers for analytic truths are the meanings of the symbols used to assert them. The truthmakers for conceptual truths are mental concepts. But necessary connections in the world between contingent existences are not ruled out, e.g. universals and particulars, and the fundamental logical and mathematical laws. It seems possible that there could have been nothing at all.

Keywords:   possibility, actuality, necessity, analytic truths, laws, contingency

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