Necessity and Counterfactual Discourse

By James Walsh The question “Is water necessarily H2O?” has a more complicated answer than may appear at first blush. To answer the question, one must first distinguish between conceptual and metaphysical necessity. By differentiating between these two types of necessity, it becomes clear that water is not necessarily H2O on a conceptual level. Whether water is necessarily H2O on a metaphysical level depends on the understanding of the word “water” on the part of the person who is judging whether water is metaphysically necessarily H2O. First I will expound upon the notion of conceptual necessity. Then I will evaluate … Continue reading Necessity and Counterfactual Discourse

The Case For Vague Objects

By Jaime Harrell
In this paper, I examine David Lewisʼ treatment of vagueness as a problem of “semantic indecision” and conclude that this position on vagueness is inconsistent with the metaphysics of his theory of modal realism. To reach this, I employ a thought experiment in which an exact counterpart of Lewis is subjected to a series of possible worlds treatments designed to satisfy Lewisʼ criteria for counterparthood and test the limits of semantic treatments of higher-order vagueness. I find that Lewisʼ suggestions for dealing with vagueness fails to pick out counterparts at several points in this series, even when given a satisfactorily precisified set of criteria for the qua relation. Continue reading The Case For Vague Objects