Necessity first

Alastair Wilson

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My topic in this paper is the relationships of metaphysical priority which might hold between the different alethic modal statuses—necessity, contingency, possi-bility and impossibility. In particular, I am interested in exploring the view that the necessity of necessities is ungrounded while the contingency of contingencies is grounded—a scenario I call ‘necessity first’. I will explicate and scrutinize the contrast between necessity first and its ‘contingency first’ contrary, and then com-pare both views with ‘multimodal’ and ‘amodal’ alternatives, drawing on David Lewis’s modal realism and Barbara Vetter’s potentialism as example cases. I will then defend the necessity-first point of view from a reversed version of Black-burn’s classic dilemma against theories of the source of necessity.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2022


  • Necessity,
  • possibility
  • Contingency
  • grounding
  • Modality


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