The 'Modal Extension Principle': A Question About Peacocke's Approach to Modality
Sullivan (Peter M.)
Source: Mind - 107/427 (July 1998)
Paper - Abstract

Paper Summary


Philosophers Index Abstract

    Peacocke has proposed a 'principles-based' elucidation of modal notions, according to which implicitly known principles reflecting the identities of thing, properties, and concepts constrain which among the categorially suitable assignments to an expression or concept are 'admissible', that is, reflect genuine possibilities. Central among those constraining principles is his Modal Extension Principle, which restricts admissible assignments to a concept (or expression) to those that, in some sense, are true to its being the concept it is (or meaning what it does). The paper argues, first, that this principle, as formulated by Peacocke, allows only the actual state of affairs to be possible; and secondly, that revision of the principle to avoid this consequence introduces a circularity to Peacocke's account.

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