This title was first published in 2001. Modality and Anti-Metaphysics critically examines the most prominent approaches to modality among analytic philosophers in the twentieth century, including essentialism. Defending both the project of metaphysics and the essentialist position that metaphysical modality is conceptually and ontologically primitive, Stephen McLeod argues that the logical positivists did not succeed in banishing metaphysical modality from their own theoretical apparatus and he offers an original defence of metaphysics against their advocacy of its elimination. Seeking to assuage the sceptical worries which underlie modal anti-realism, McLeod provides an original contribution to essentialist epistemology, engaging with current debates about modality and suggesting that standard essentialist approaches to some issues in the philosophies of logic and language require revision. This book offers valuable insights to professional philosophers, postgraduates and advanced undergraduates interested in metaphysics, philosophy of logic or the history of twentieth-century analytic philosophy.
Table of Contents
Contents: The Elimination of Metaphysics: Empiricist anti-metaphysics; Wittgenstein, metaphysics and essentialism; Modal Primitivism: Primitivism, eliminativism and reductionism; Modal epistemology; A defence of modal primitivism; Conclusion; Modal Realism : Anti-realism I: against projectivism; Realism; Anti-realism II: against anti-realist conceptualism; Modality and Anti-Metaphysics: De Re and De Dicto; Empiricism, verifiability, modality; Logical possibility as typically De Dicto; Logical possibility: its nature and value; Closing remark: empiricism and essentialism; Bibliography; Indexes.
’Well-informed, clearly and stylishly written, and including many original insights, McLeod's book makes a significant and valuable contribution to modern analytic metaphysics’. Professor E J Lowe, University of Durham, UK