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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16814

Title: Against Modalities: On the Presumed Coherence and Alleged Indispensability of Some Modal Notions
Authors: Lajevardi, Kaveh
Advisor: Chakravartty, Anjan
Department: Philosophy
Keywords: Modalities
Transworld Identity Problem
Natural Kinds
Essentialism
Issue Date: 20-Jan-2009
Abstract: Part I investigates the idea that kinds (as opposed to individuals) have some modal properties. I argue that concerning typical kind-essentialist claims there is a non-trivial question—the transworld identity problem—about what the relevant kind terms are supposed to refer to in non-actual possible worlds. I reject several ideas for solving the problem. The upshot is a worry about the coherence of modal talk concerning kinds. Waiving this worry for the sake of argument, in Part II the target is the use of modal talk in the sciences. I offer a deflationary account of modalities, based on the familiar idea of reducing modalities to logical relationships between non-modal statements and non-modal background theories. I argue that this account is adequate for making sense of modal talk in the sciences. Moreover, I argue that irreducible modal properties of the world, if there are any, cannot be scientifically discovered or inferred. Thus we have a number of arguments against modalities: the threat of incoherence, their epistemic inaccessibility, and the dispensability of modal talk in the sciences.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16814
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Philosophy - Doctoral theses

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