Philosophical Studies

, Volume 175, Issue 2, pp 411–428 | Cite as

Ability, modality, and genericity

  • John MaierEmail author


Accounts of ability in the philosophical literature have tended to be modal ones: claims about an agent’s abilities are understood in terms of what she does in certain non-actual scenarios. In contrast, a prominent account of ability ascriptions in the recent semantics literature appeals to genericity: claims about an agent’s abilities are understood in terms of what she generally manages to do. The latter account resolves some long-standing problems for modal accounts, but encounters problems of its own. I propose a hybrid view, on which ability involves both a modal and a generic element.


Abilities Genericity Modal logic 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyPeking UniversityBeijingChina

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