Research

MODAL INTENSIONALISM   

Journal of Philosophy (112): 309-334


We sometimes say things like this: “being an animal is part of being a dog.” We associate the part with a precondition for exemplifying the whole. A new semantics for modal logic results when we take this way of speaking seriously. We need not treat necessary truths as truths in all possible worlds. Instead, we may treat them as preconditions for the existence of any world at all. I present this semantics for modal propositional logic and argue that it operates on a more basic level of modal reality than possible world semantics. 
 

MODAL SEMANTICS WITHOUT WORLDS

Philosophy Compass (11): 702-715


Over the last half century, possible worlds have bled into almost every area of philosophy. In the metaphysics of modality, for example, philosophers have used possible worlds almost exclusively to illuminate discourse about metaphysical necessity and possibility. But recently, some have grown dissatisfied with possible worlds. Why are horses necessarily mammals? Because the property of being a horse bears a special relationship to the property of being a mammal, they say. Not because every horse is a mammal in every possible world. Some have recently begun to use properties to develop rivals to possible worlds semantics which may someday compare in formal power and capture the different systems of modal logic. In this paper, I do two things. I first offer a quick primer on possible worlds semantics. Then I discuss three rivals and the work they have left to do.

 

A PAPER ON FIRST-ORDER LOGIC

In progress, PDF available by email

I develop a new semantics for first-order logic without individuals as the values of names or extensions as the values of predicates. Compared to the standard semantics for first-order logic, it better reflects the truly intensional meanings of predicates. It also resolves longstanding problems with Leibniz’s conceptual containment theory.

 

A PAPER ON STANDARD DEONTIC LOGIC

In progress, PDF available by email

I argue that the standard semantics for Standard Deontic Logic is redundant in a certain way. It is as if you opened a clock and found that one of the gears was itself a clock. I then present a new semantics for Standard Deontic Logic without the redundancy.