The Broadest Necessity



In this paper the logic of broad necessity is explored. Definitions of what it means for one modality to be broader than another are formulated, and it is proven, in the context of higher-order logic, that there is a broadest necessity, settling one of the central questions of this investigation. It is shown, moreover, that it is possible to give a reductive analysis of this necessity in extensional language (using truth functional connectives and quantifiers). This relates more generally to a conjecture that it is not possible to define intensional connectives from extensional notions. This conjecture is formulated precisely in higher-order logic, and concrete cases in which it fails are examined. The paper ends with a discussion of the logic of broad necessity. It is shown that the logic of broad necessity is a normal modal logic between S4 and Triv, and that it is consistent with a natural axiomatic system of higher-order logic that it is exactly S4. Some philosophical reasons to think that the logic of broad necessity does not include the S5 principle are given.


Necessity Higher-order logic S4 Broad necessity Propositional identity Intensionality Modality 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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