The limits of non-standard contingency



Gideon Rosen has recently sketched an argument which aims to establish that the notion of metaphysical modality is systematically ambiguous. His argument contains a crucial sub-argument which has been used to argue for Metaphysical Contingentism, the view that some claims of fundamental metaphysics are metaphysically contingent rather than necessary. In this paper, Rosen’s argument is explicated in detail and it is argued that the most straight-forward reconstruction fails to support its intended conclusion. Two possible ways to save the argument are rebutted and it is furthermore argued that the crucial sub-argument only supports a rather particular variant of Metaphysical Contingentism.


Metaphysical modality Metaphysical necessity Metaphysical contingency Ambiguity Correct conceivability Contingentism Metaphysical contingentism 



I would like to thank Martina Botti, Fabrice Correia, Peter Fritz, Ghislain Guigon, David Mark Kovacs, Matteo Morganti, Kevin Mulligan, Benjamin Neeser, Jan Plate, Magali Roques, Gideon Rosen, Alexander Skiles, Pierre Saint-Germier, Alexander Steinberg, Nathan Wildman and audiences at Issues on the (Im)Possible IV in Bratislava, the Contingentism workshop at the Fifth Italian Conference in Analytic Ontology in Padua and the participants of a session of the eidos-seminar at the University of Neuchâtel. Special thanks to Nathan Wildman for his commentary at Issues on the (Im)Possible IV and to Pierre Saint-Germier for discussion and written comments. I gratefully acknowledge financial support of the Swiss National Science Foundation (Project ‘Indeterminacy and Formal Concepts’, Grant-No. 156554, University of Geneva, principal investigator: Kevin Mulligan).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.eidos and Institut de philosophie, Faculté des lettres et sciences humainesUniversity of NeuchâtelNeuchâtelSwitzerland

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