Article

Erkenntnis

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 383-418

First online:

The ontological foundation of Russell's theory of modality

  • Jan DejnozkaAffiliated withDepartment of the Navy, United States Naval Academy

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Abstract

Prominent thinkers such as Kripke and Rescher hold that Russell has no modal logic, even that Russell was indisposed toward modal logic. In Part I, I show that Russell had a modal logic which he repeatedly described and that Russell repeatedly endorsed Leibniz's multiplicity of possible worlds. In Part II, I describe Russell's theory as having three ontological levels. In Part III, I describe six Parmenidean theories of being Russell held, including: literal in 1903; universal in 1912; timeless in 1914; transcendental in 1918–1948. The transcendental theory underlies the primary level of Russell's modal logic. In Part IV, I examine Rescher's view that Russell and modal logic did not mix.