Necessary Beings: An Essay on Ontology, Modality, and the Relations Between Them

Paperback | November 8, 2015

byBob Hale

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Necessary Beings is concerned with two central areas of metaphysics: modality - the theory of necessity, possibility, and other related notions; and ontology - the general study of what kinds of entities there are. Bob Hale's overarching purpose is to develop and defend two quite generaltheses about what is required for the existence of entities of various kinds: that questions about what kinds of things there are cannot be properly understood or adequately answered without recourse to considerations about possibility and necessity, and that, conversely, questions about the natureand basis of necessity and possibility cannot be satisfactorily tackled without drawing on what might be called the methodology of ontology. Taken together, these two theses claim that ontology and modality are mutually dependent upon one another, neither more fundamental than the other. Hale defends a broadly Fregean approach to metaphysics, according to which ontological distinctions among different kinds of things (objects, properties, and relations) are to be drawn on the basis of prior distinctions between different logical types of expression. The claim that facts about whatkinds of things exist depend upon facts about what is possible makes little sense unless one accepts that at least some modal facts are fundamental, and not reducible to facts of some other, non-modal, sort. He argues that facts about what is absolutely necessary or possible have this character, andthat they have their source or basis, not in meanings or concepts nor in facts about alternative "worlds", but in the natures or essences of things.

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From the Publisher

Necessary Beings is concerned with two central areas of metaphysics: modality - the theory of necessity, possibility, and other related notions; and ontology - the general study of what kinds of entities there are. Bob Hale's overarching purpose is to develop and defend two quite generaltheses about what is required for the existence o...

Bob Hale is affiliated with Sheffield University.

other books by Bob Hale

Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:November 8, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198748035

ISBN - 13:9780198748038

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Table of Contents

Preface and acknowledgementsIntroduction1. Ontological preliminaries2. The necessity of necessity3. Irreducible modality4. Absolute Modality5. The Source of Logical Necessities6. Metaphysical Necessities7. Necessary beings: properties and numbers8. Higher-order logics9. Contingent beings10. Possibilities11. Essential knowledgeBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"the essentialist theory presented in this book constitutes a significant contribution to an exciting research project concerning the relations between modality and essence. In addition, of course, Hale's development of the essentialist theory is only one aspect of the book's importantcontribution to central and fundamental topics concerning the nature of modality." --Penelope Mackie, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews