|Source: Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, 2000-9|
|Paper - Abstract|
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A modal1 is an expression (like ‘necessarily’ or ‘possibly’) that is used to qualify the truth of a judgement. Modal logic2 is, strictly speaking, the study of the deductive behavior of the expressions ‘it is necessary that’ and ‘it is possible that’. However, the term ‘modal logic’3 may be used more broadly for a family of related systems. These include logics for belief, for tense and other temporal expressions, for the deontic (moral) expressions such as ‘it is obligatory that’ and ‘it is permitted that’, and many others. An understanding of modal logic4 is particularly valuable in the formal analysis of philosophical argument, where expressions from the modal5 family are both common and confusing. Modal logic6 also has important applications in computer science.
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