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June 20 , 2009

Toward Predicate Approaches to Modality


In this volume, the author investigates and argues for, a particular answer to the question: What is the right way to logically analyze modalities from natural language within formal languages? The answer is: by formalizing modal expressions in terms of predicates. But, as in the case of truth, the most intuitive modal principles lead to paradox once the modal notions are conceived as predicates.

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The book discusses the philosophical interpretation of these modal paradoxes and argues that any satisfactory approach to modality will have to face the paradoxes independently of the grammatical category of the modal notion. By systematizing modal principles with respect to their joint consistency and inconsistency, Stern provides an overview of the options and limitations of the predicate approach to modality that may serve as a useful starting point for future work on predicate approaches to modality. Stern also develops a general strategy for constructing philosophically attractive theories of modal notions conceived as predicates. The idea is to characterize the modal predicate by appeal to its interaction with the truth predicate. This strategy is put to use by developing the modal theories Modal Friedman-Sheard and Modal Kripke-Feferman.

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