- Metaphysics is the part of philosophy that is concerned with the extent and content of reality: with what there is and with the nature of what there is. Matters of modality1 are matters of possibilities, impossibilities and necessities: what can (could, might) be, what cannot (could not, must not) be and what cannot (could not, must not) be otherwise. The salient questions of the metaphysics of modality2, then, are these: whether there is a modal3 reality – whether there is a part of reality in which modal4 facts consist (or which makes modal5 propositions true); whether such a modal6 consists in irreducibly modal7 facts or in nonmodal8 facts; whether modal9 facts consist (partly) in the existence of objects or properties of a special kind and – if so – what the nature and extent of such things is.
- Perhaps these questions give a rather contemporary twist to the characterization of the metaphysics of modality10; perhaps our predecessors would not have articulated their concern with the nature of modality11 in quite this way. But that such a concern is identifiable at many important periods in the history of Western philosophy is not seriously in doubt. It is hardly arguable that Aristotle was a practitioner of modal12 metaphysics nor that, as a result of Aristotle's influence, such concerns figure prominently in medieval philosophy.
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