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Series: Central Problems of Philosophy
Author(s): Joseph Melia  
ISBN: 190268348X
ISBN-13: 9781902683485
Publication Date: 31/03/2003
Pages: 200 (198 x 129mm)
Format: Paperback
Published Price: £16.99
Discount Price: £13.59
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More and more philosophers are using modal notions to solve problems and to analyse concepts. In this introduction to the topic of modality Joseph Melia places his emphasis on a commitment to possible worlds as the best way to understand the nature of necessity. Melia demonstrates how different theories about possible worlds not only influence our more general modal beliefs but illustrate and illuminate various methodological considerations, such as the degree to which any philosophical theory ought to respect common sense.

The book begins by introducing readers to various notions of possibility, the de re/de dicto distinction and the ubiquity of our modal concepts. It then presents an accessible introduction to modal logic and possible worlds semantics. Melia argues that by accepting possible worlds into our metaphysics, we can justify such formal semantics, refute Quine's modal scepticism, and make sense of our ordinary thought and talk about the modal. Various theories of possible worlds are critically examined, including David Lewis's extreme realism, Alvin Plantinga's moderate realism, David Armstrong's combinatorialism and the linguistic theory. The book is accessible and engaging throughout and will be welcomed by students looking for a non-technical introduction to a much discussed and contested area of philosophical inquiry.


"A marvellously presented book: it is lucid, thought-provoking, and meets the highest standards of argument." – Philosophical Quarterly

"A must-read for anyone interested in the metaphysics of modality. It explores fundamental topics with depth and subtlety, yet it is, for the most part, easy to read. The style of presentation is informal, at times irreverent, and always engaging." – Philosophical Books

"Melia succeeds in producing a book that manages to provide an accessible introduction to many key topics in the philosophy of modality; to give a sense of how different topics are connected to each other; and to offer some interesting new contributions to current debates." – Mind

Joseph Melia is a Departmental Lecturer in Philosophy at New College, Oxford.

1. Introduction to modality
2. Modal language and modal logic
3. Quinian scepticism
4. Modalism
5. Extreme realism
6. Quiet moderate realism
7. Possible worlds as sets of sentences
Further reading

Also available in Hardback (1902683471), priced 50.00

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