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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: 05 March 2021

De Re Modality in the Late Twentieth Century

De Re Modality in the Late Twentieth Century

The Prescient Quine

Chapter:
(p.217) 9 De Re Modality in the Late Twentieth Century
Source:
The Actual and the Possible
Author(s):

John Divers

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198786436.003.0010

Quine’s (in)famous sceptical critique of de re modality is expounded in the pair of 1953 classic papers ‘Reference and Modality’ and ‘Three Grades of Modal Involvement’. Here, I position the salient, and non-sceptical, treatments of de re modality in the later part of the twentieth century—those due to Kripke, Lewis, and Fine—in relation to that prior sceptical critique. My theses are: (a) that that Kripke, Lewis, and Fine all undertake non-sceptical defences of de re modal predication that conform to the Smullyan language-independence strategy; and (b) none does so in a way that falsifies Quine’s prediction of the commitments involved. I emphasize the insights on which Quine’s scepticism was based and commend these as sound and enduring.

Keywords:   Quine, modality, de re, scepticism, Kripke, Lewis, Fine

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