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The possibility of unicorns and modal logic

The possibility of unicorns and modal logic
The possibility of unicorns and modal logic
Michael Dummett argues, against Saul Kripke, that there could have been unicorns. He then claims that this possibility shows that the logic of metaphysical modality is not S5, and, in particular, that the B axiom is false. Dummett’s argument against B, however, is invalid. I show that although there are number of ways to repair Dummett’s argument against B, each requires a controversial metaphysical or semantic commitment, and that, regardless of this, the case against B is undermotivated. Dummett’s case is still of interest, however, as if his assumptions are correct, S5 has to go, with the natural culprit being S4.
2153-9596
295-305
Walters, Lee
6588848d-16fa-41f1-a94b-c339c3428c13
Walters, Lee
6588848d-16fa-41f1-a94b-c339c3428c13

Walters, Lee (2014) The possibility of unicorns and modal logic. Analytic Philosophy, 55, 295-305. (doi:10.1111/phib.12045).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Michael Dummett argues, against Saul Kripke, that there could have been unicorns. He then claims that this possibility shows that the logic of metaphysical modality is not S5, and, in particular, that the B axiom is false. Dummett’s argument against B, however, is invalid. I show that although there are number of ways to repair Dummett’s argument against B, each requires a controversial metaphysical or semantic commitment, and that, regardless of this, the case against B is undermotivated. Dummett’s case is still of interest, however, as if his assumptions are correct, S5 has to go, with the natural culprit being S4.

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Published date: 2014
Organisations: Philosophy

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Local EPrints ID: 360783
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/360783
ISSN: 2153-9596
PURE UUID: d3ac0d5c-c48f-454f-a3c1-213dfde970df

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Date deposited: 06 Jan 2014 11:32
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 03:09

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