For what really pushespeople towards a narrowly analytical conception of philosophy, I believe, isnot merely the acceptance of the analytic/synthetic distinction, but either, orboth, of the following: a certain kind of paranoia about the extent of thedomain of philosophy, and a foundationalist position in the theory ofknowledge.
Possible worlds are complete alternative realities; they are ways thatthe whole of reality might have been. Philosophers have varioustheories of their nature. (For more about them see the .) With (PWS) in place an a posteriori necessity is a statementthat is true in all possible worlds, and what makes it aposteriori is that it is knowable only by empiricalinvestigation of the actual world. The two most commonlydiscussed examples are the necessity of Hesperus being identical withPhosphorus, and the necessity of water being identical toH2O. The former case concerns the celestial body Venus,which is picked out by both “Hesperus” and“Phosphorus”. The latter example has to do withtheoretical identifications in science, cases in which scientistsprovide a theoretical identification of a natural kind, such as water,gold, light, or heat by capturing its underlying nature or essencethrough scientific investigation.
White's excellent essay "The Analytic and the Synthetic: An Untenable Dualism," in (New York, 1950), says much of what needed to be said on the topic; but in the present paper I touch on some further aspects of the problem.
The necessity of this moral liberty is made clear in the work of many philosophers, in that of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, for example, in whose Social Contract are discussed what Rousseau sees as the centrally important relationships between what he terms the general will, liberty, equality and fraternity....
Aboutness has been studied from any number of angles. Brentano made it the defining feature of the mental. Phenomenologists try to pin down the aboutness-features of particular mental states. Materialists sometimes claim to have grounded aboutness in natural regularities. Attempts have even been made, in library science and information theory, to operationalize the notion. But it has played no real role in philosophical semantics. This is surprising; sentences have aboutness-properties if anything does. is the first book to examine through a philosophical lens the role of subject matter in meaning. A long-standing tradition sees meaning as truth-conditions, to be specified by listing the scenarios in which a sentence is true. Nothing is said about the principle of selection--about what in a scenario gets it onto the list. Subject matter is the missing link here. A sentence is true because of how matters stand where its subject matter is concerned. Stephen Yablo maintains that this is not just a feature of subject matter, but its essence. One indicates what a sentence is about by mapping out logical space according to its changing ways of being true or false. The notion of content that results--directed content--is brought to bear on a range of philosophical topics, including ontology, verisimilitude, knowledge, loose talk, assertive content, and philosophical methodology. Written by one of today's leading philosophers, represents a major advance in semantics and the philosophy of language.
Stephen Yablo maintains that this is not just a feature of subject matter, but its essence. One indicates what a sentence is about by mapping out logical space according to its changing ways of being true or false. The notion of content that results--directed content--is brought to bear on a range of philosophical topics, including ontology, verisimilitude, knowledge, loose talk, assertive content, and philosophical methodology.
There are two main stumbling blocks to the study of Locke's moralphilosophy. The first regards the singular lack of attention thesubject receives in Locke's most important and influential publishedworks; not only did Locke never publish a work devoted to moralphilosophy, but he dedicates little space to its discussion in theworks he did publish. The traditional moral concept of natural lawarises in Locke's Two Treatises of Government (1690) servingas a major plank in his argument regarding the basis for civil law andthe protection of individual liberty, but he does not go into anydetail regarding how we come to know natural law nor how we might beobligated, or even motivated, to obey it. In his Essay ConcerningHuman Understanding (first edition 1690; fourth edition 1700,hereafter referred to as the Essay) Locke spends little timediscussing morality, and what he does provide in the way of a moralepistemology seems underdeveloped, offering, at best, the suggestionof what a moral system might look like rather than a fully-realizedpositive moral position. This brings us to the second major stumblingblock: What Locke does provide us by way of moral theory in theseworks is diffuse, with the air of being what J.B. Schneewind hascharacterized as “brief, scattered and sometimes puzzling”(Schneewind 1994, 200). This is not to suggest that Locke says nothingspecific or concrete about morality. Locke makes references,throughout his works, to morality and moral obligation. However, twoquite distinct positions on morality seem to emerge from Locke's worksand it is this dichotomous aspect of Locke's view that has generatedthe greatest degree of controversy. The first is a naturallaw position, which Locke refers to in the Essay, butwhich finds its clearest articulation in an early work from the 1660s,entitled Essays on the Law of Nature. In this work, we findLocke espousing a fairly traditional rationalistic natural lawposition, which consists broadly in the following three propositions:first, that moral rules are founded on divine, universal and absolutelaws; second, that these divine moral laws are discernible by humanreason; and third, that by dint of their divine authorship these rulesare obligatory and rationally discernible as such. On the other hand,Locke also espouses a hedonistic moral theory, in evidence in hisearly work, but developed most fully in the Essay. Thislatter view holds that all goods and evils reduce to specific kinds ofpleasures and pains. The emphasis here is on sanctions, and howrewards and punishments serve to provide morality with its normativeforce. Both elements find their way into Locke's published works, and,as a result, Locke seems to be holding what seem to be incommensurableviews. The trick for Locke scholars has been to figure out how, oreven if, they can be made to cohere. The question is not easilysettled by looking to Locke's unpublished works, either, since Lockealso seems to hold a natural law view at some times and a hedonisticview at others.
Now a modal argument is one in which either a premise or theconclusion is an ordinary or an extraordinary modal judgment. Thus, inmodal arguments, we reason about what is necessary, possible, orimpossible, or about what might, must, or could not be the case. Modalarguments can therefore be found both inside and outside of philosophy(within philosophy many important philosophical positions are in factmodal positions). Assuming that a modal argument is valid (i.e., thepremises validly imply the conclusion), then the evaluation of a modalargument focuses on whether the premises are justified. The questionthen arises: how does one show that a modal premise of a modalargument is justified?
Most introductions are relatively recent. concerns metaphysics, is compact, and covers more traditional approaches as well as possible worlds; is available electronically and concerns epistemology. and are each introductory texts focused mainly on contemporary possible worlds theories. is somewhat more advanced and narrower in its attention to possible worlds. is a monograph that attempts a general metaphysics of modality to be applied to traditional philosophical problems. provides a somewhat more technical overview of the logical background of much contemporary work as well as defenses of essentialist claims, and breaks with the possible worlds tradition to provide a rather different account of modality.
However, philosophers often, in the course of an argument, formulatewhat might be called extraordinary modal judgements; thesetypically are about some special philosophical concept relevant to thediscussion. Here are some examples: