- Without the use of modal1 discourse to aid us we should be unable to express many of the most fundamental facts - facts that are fundamental to our understanding of science, mathematics and human agency.
- But the best efforts of philosophers to come to a convincing account of modal2 discourse have been bedevilled by a welter of ideological, epistemological and ontological difficulties.
- For this reason many philosophers have endeavoured to provide a ‘reduction’ of modal3 discourse. It is a philosophical problem in itself to establish just what a reduction must achieve in order to be successful (whether in connection with modality4, the nature of the mental or some other subject matter). Nevertheless, it is clear that – in some sense or other – a reduction of modality5 will, if successful, display how facts expressed with the aid of modal6 vocabulary ultimately depend upon facts that need not be expressed in this way.
- A variety of contrasting strategies for executing a modal7 reduction have been proposed.
- Conceptual or analytical reductions seek to show that modal8 concepts may be analysed into concepts that do not rely upon modal9 vocabulary for their expression.
- By contrast ontological reductions forswear the idea that modal10 concepts admit of non-modal11 analyses or translates. They maintain instead that the truth or falsity of modal12 claims depends - in a manner that may be perspicuously presented to the intellect without benefit of conceptual analyses- upon the states of an underlying reality, a reality that may be described with recourse to modal13 vocabulary.
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