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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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Hegel’s Expressivist Modal Realism

Hegel’s Expressivist Modal Realism

(p.117) 5 Hegel’s Expressivist Modal Realism
The Actual and the Possible

Christopher Yeomans

Oxford University Press

In attempting to understand Hegel’s basic position on the modalities, the central thing to grasp is the precise nature of his modal realism. Hegel is adamant that possibility be understood as an actuality in its own right, and furthermore endorses a convergence of the modalities in which what is actual is equally possible and necessary. But Hegel gives an interpretation to these apparently realist claims that invokes neither possible worlds nor cognitive faculties, nor the fullness of time in which what is merely possible now is necessarily actual at some other time. His realism is rather an expressivist realism, or a realism of manifestation. The actuality of the world is understood as the process through which the nature of the world is constantly expressing or manifesting itself, and so the modalities are taken to describe aspects of that process.

Keywords:   modality, Hegel, Kant, expressivism, necessity

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