By Bob Hale
Necessary Beings is anxious with relevant parts of metaphysics: modality--the thought of necessity, risk, and different comparable notions; and ontology--the basic research of what varieties of entities there are. Bob Hale's overarching goal is to increase and shield particularly normal theses approximately what's required for the lifestyles of entities of varied types: that questions on what varieties of issues there are can't be competently understood or thoroughly responded with out recourse to concerns approximately hazard and necessity, and that, conversely, questions about the character and foundation of necessity and chance can't be satisfactorily tackled with out drawing on what will be referred to as the technique of ontology. Taken jointly, those theses declare that ontology and modality are at the same time established upon each other, neither extra primary than the opposite.
Hale defends a generally Fregean method of metaphysics, based on which ontological differences between other forms of items (objects, homes, and family) are to be drawn at the foundation of earlier differences among varied logical forms of expression. The declare that evidence approximately what types of issues exist depend on evidence approximately what's attainable makes little experience until one accepts that at the least a few modal evidence are primary, and never reducible to proof of a few different, non-modal, type. He argues that evidence approximately what's completely precious or attainable have this personality, and they have their resource or foundation, no longer in meanings or suggestions nor in evidence approximately substitute 'worlds', yet within the natures or essences of items.
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Extra resources for Necessary Beings: An Essay on Ontology, Modality, and the Relations Between Them
The object,Venus, cannot be the reference of a predicate, we can see that the additional premise he needs is an analogue for concepts of Objects 2, viz. Concepts 2: If something is a concept it can only be referred to by a predicate We may then reconstruct his inference as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 47–8. Here, and henceforth, I use ‘iff ’ as short for ‘if and only if ’. assumption assumption 2, Concepts 1 obvious ontological preliminaries 5. ‘Venus’ is/can serve as a predicate 6. The referent of ‘Venus’ cannot be the referent of a predicate 25 4, Concepts 2 2–5 reductio If this is right, Frege’s conception of objects and concepts can be more fully articulated as follows: Objects: Concepts: An object is anything which can, and can only, be referred to by a proper name A concept is anything which can, and can only, be referred to by a predicate These suggest a general principle that underpins Frege’s approach to ontology: An entity of a certain type is anything which can, and can only, be referred to by an expression of a certain type.
The problem is that if the pseudo-predicates were genuine predicates at all, they could only be first-level predicates. That is, it would have to be a second-level predicate true of every first-level concept. Having rejected as spurious the general term ‘concept’ and the predicate ‘ξ is a concept’, we should likewise reject as equally spurious such apparent singular terms as ‘the concept horse’ and ‘the concept for which “ξ is a horse” stands’. 46 Dummett’s constructive proposal starts from the observation that an expression such as ‘what “ξ is wise” stands for’ can function as what he calls a ‘predicative expression’, in which it stands for, and can be used to ascribe, a property—in contrast with, say ‘what Eve gave Adam’ in its most likely use, in which it is a singular term, meaning the object Eve gave Adam.
Frege’s view that objects and properties are disjoint is a special case of his view that complete and incomplete (unsaturated) expressions must refer, respectively, to complete and incomplete entities. See Dummett 1973, Chs 3–8, or Noonan 2006. 44. e. We return to this point below. 43. ontological preliminaries 23 is predicated is not Venus but no other than Venus .... We have here a word ‘Venus’ that can never be a proper predicate, although it can form part of a predicate. 36 In drawing his conclusion, Frege passes from a premise about language—for example, that ‘Venus’ can never be used as a predicate—to a conclusion about non-linguistic entities—that the word’s referent,Venus,‘can never occur as a concept, but only as an object’.