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The Actual and the PossibleModality and Metaphysics in Modern Philosophy$
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Mark Sinclair

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786436

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198786436.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 March 2021

Editor’s Introduction

Editor’s Introduction

(p.1) Editor’s Introduction
The Actual and the Possible

Mark Sinclair

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the historical approach of the volume in the context of modal doctrines in contemporary philosophy, and offers a broad survey of the history of modal metaphysics. It discusses how a statistical approach to modality in ancient Greek philosophy was overtaken by a notion of possible worlds admitting unrealized possibilities, a notion that would receive its clearest expression in the philosophy of Leibniz. I discuss how Leibniz’s ideas form the historical background to twentieth-century possible worlds theories of modality, and how those theories have been challenged recently by more Aristotelian approaches. The chapter summarizes and contextualizes the following chapters of the book.

Keywords:   modality, metaphysics, possibility, actuality, necessity

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