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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

(p.217) 9 De Re Modality in the Late Twentieth Century
The Actual and the Possible

John Divers

Oxford University Press

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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