Seminar: Modality

This seminar will examine reductive theories of possibility and necessity. Topics: modal realism, ersatzism, reduction to essence or entailment, conventionalism. I'm especially interested in the final topic. In particular, is there a defensible form of the old-fashioned conventionalist (linguistic) theory of necessity?

For the first meeting (9/7), read Saul Kripke's Naming and Necessity (especially lectures 1 and 3) and the first chapter of Plantinga's The Nature of Necessity. I'll probably also start talking about Lewis's theory at the end of the first meeting, so you might want to start the readings in On the Plurality of Worlds by then. See the syllabus for details.