, Volume 78, Issue 6, pp 1367–1379 | Cite as

Soames’s Deflationism About Modality

  • Tuomas E. Tahko
Original Article


One type of deflationism about metaphysical modality suggests that it can be analysed strictly in terms of linguistic or conceptual content and that there is nothing particularly metaphysical about modality. Scott Soames is explicitly opposed to this trend. However, a detailed study of Soames’s own account of modality reveals that it has striking similarities with the deflationary account. In this paper I will compare Soames’s account of a posteriori necessities concerning natural kinds with the deflationary one, specifically Alan Sidelle’s account, and suggest that Soames’s account is vulnerable to the deflationist’s critique. Furthermore, I conjecture that both the deflationary account and Soames’s account fail to fully explicate the metaphysical content of a posteriori necessities. Although I will focus on Soames, my argument may have more general implications towards the prospects of providing a meaning-based account of metaphysical modality.


Natural Kind Natural Kind Term Metaphysical Possibility Metaphysical Necessity Linguistic Convention 
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I am grateful to the anonymous referees for the journal for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art StudiesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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