Metaphysical necessity

In philosophy, metaphysical necessity, sometimes called broad logical necessity,[1] is one of many different kinds of necessity, which sits between logical necessity and nomological (or physical) necessity, in the sense that logical necessity entails metaphysical necessity, but not vice versa, and metaphysical necessity entails physical necessity, but not vice versa. A proposition is said to be necessary if it could not have failed to be the case. Nomological necessity is necessity according to the laws of physics and logical necessity is necessity according to the laws of logic, while metaphysical necessities are necessary in the sense that the world could not possibly have been otherwise. What facts are metaphysically necessary, and on what basis we might view certain facts as metaphysically but not logically necessary are subjects of substantial discussion in contemporary philosophy.

The concept of a metaphysically necessary being plays an important role in certain arguments for the existence of God, especially the ontological argument, but metaphysical necessity is also one of the central concepts in late 20th century analytic philosophy. Metaphysical necessity has proved a controversial concept, and criticized by David Hume, Immanuel Kant, J. L. Mackie, and Richard Swinburne, among others.

Metaphysical necessity is contrasted with other types of necessity. For example, the philosophers of religion John Hick[2] and William L. Rowe[3] distinguished the following three:

  1. factual necessity (existential necessity): a factually necessary being is not causally dependent on any other being, while any other being is causally dependent on it.
  2. causal necessity (subsumed by Hicks under the former type): a causally necessary being is such that it is logically impossible for it to be causally dependent on any other being, and it is logically impossible for any other being to be causally independent of it.
  3. logical necessity: a logically necessary being is a being whose non-existence is a logical impossibility, and which therefore exists either timeless or eternally in all possible worlds.

While many theologians (e.g. Anselm of Canterbury, René Descartes, and Gottfried Leibniz) considered God to be a logically or metaphysically necessary being, Richard Swinburne argued for factual necessity, and Alvin Plantinga argues that God is a causally necessary being. Because a factually or causally necessary being does not exist by logical necessity, it does not exist in all logically possible worlds.[4] Therefore, Swinburne used the term "ultimate brute fact" for the existence of God.[5]

A priori and necessary truths

In Naming and Necessity,[6] Saul Kripke argued that there were a posteriori truths, such as Hesperus is Phosphoros, or Water is H₂O, that were nonetheless metaphysically necessary.

See also


  1. ^ Brian Leftow, God and Necessity (2012). ISBN 0191654876, 9780191654879
  2. ^ John Hick (1961): Necessary Being. - Scottish Journal of Theology, 1961: 353-369.
  3. ^ William L. Rowe (1998): The Cosmological Argument. Fordham Univ Press, 273 pp.
  4. ^ Ronald H. Nash (1983): The Concept of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, p. 108
  5. ^ Richard Swinburne (2004): The Existence of God. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 96
  6. ^ Kripke, Saul. 1980. Naming and Necessity. Harvard University Press: 22.

External links

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding is a book by the Scottish empiricist philosopher David Hume, published in English in 1748. It was a revision of an earlier effort, Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature, published anonymously in London in 1739–40. Hume was disappointed with the reception of the Treatise, which "fell dead-born from the press," as he put it, and so tried again to disseminate his more developed ideas to the public by writing a shorter and more polemical work.

The end product of his labours was the Enquiry. The Enquiry dispensed with much of the material from the Treatise, in favor of clarifying and emphasizing its most important aspects. For example, Hume's views on personal identity do not appear. However, more vital propositions, such as Hume's argument for the role of habit in a theory of knowledge, are retained.

This book has proven highly influential, both in the years that would immediately follow and today. Immanuel Kant points to it as the book which woke him from his self-described "dogmatic slumber." The Enquiry is widely regarded as a classic in modern philosophical literature.

Best of all possible worlds

The phrase "the best of all possible worlds" (French: le meilleur des mondes possibles; German: Die beste aller möglichen Welten) was coined by the German polymath Gottfried Leibniz in his 1710 work Essais de Théodicée sur la bonté de Dieu, la liberté de l'homme et l'origine du mal (Essays of Theodicy on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil). The claim that the actual world is the best of all possible worlds is the central argument in Leibniz's theodicy, or his attempt to solve the problem of evil.

Conceptual necessity

Conceptual necessity is a property of the certainty with which a state of affairs, as presented by a certain description, occurs: it occurs by conceptual necessity if and only if it occurs just by virtue of the meaning of the description. If someone is a bachelor, for instance, then he is bound to be unmarried by conceptual necessity, because the meaning of the word "bachelor" determines that he is.

Alternatively, there is metaphysical necessity, which is a certainty determined, not by the meaning of a description, but instead by facts in the world described.

Historically, Baruch Spinoza was a subscriber to this belief.

Emergent materialism

In the philosophy of mind, emergent (or emergentist) materialism is a theory which asserts that the mind is an irreducible existent in some sense, albeit not in the sense of being an ontological simple, and that the study of mental phenomena is independent of other sciences. It primarily maintains that the human mind's evolution is a product of material nature and that it cannot exist without material basis.

Epistemic humility

In the philosophy of science, epistemic humility refers to a posture of scientific observation rooted in the recognition that (a) knowledge of the world is always interpreted, structured, and filtered by the observer, and that, as such, (b) scientific pronouncements must be built on the recognition of observation's inability to grasp the world in itself. The concept is frequently attributed to the traditions of German idealism, particularly the work of Immanuel Kant, and to British empiricism, including the writing of David Hume. Other histories of the concept trace its origin to the humility theory of wisdom attributed to Socrates in Plato's Apology. James Van Cleve describes the Kantian version of epistemic humility–i.e. that we have no knowledge of things in their "nonrelational respects or ‘in themselves'"–as a form of causal structuralism. More recently, the term has appeared in scholarship in postcolonial theory and critical theory to describe a subject-position of openness to other ways of 'knowing' beyond epistemologies that derive from the Western tradition.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz (sometimes spelled Leibnitz) (; German: [ˈɡɔtfʁiːt ˈvɪlhɛlm fɔn ˈlaɪbnɪts] or [ˈlaɪpnɪts]; French: Godefroi Guillaume Leibnitz; 1 July 1646 [O.S. 21 June] – 14 November 1716) was a prominent German polymath and philosopher in the history of mathematics and the history of philosophy. His most notable accomplishment was conceiving the ideas of differential and integral calculus, independently of Isaac Newton's contemporaneous developments. Mathematical works have generally favored Leibniz's notation as the conventional expression of calculus. It was only in the 20th century that Leibniz's law of continuity and transcendental law of homogeneity found mathematical implementation (by means of non-standard analysis). He became one of the most prolific inventors in the field of mechanical calculators. While working on adding automatic multiplication and division to Pascal's calculator, he was the first to describe a pinwheel calculator in 1685 and invented the Leibniz wheel, used in the arithmometer, the first mass-produced mechanical calculator. He also refined the binary number system, which is the foundation of all digital computers.

In philosophy, Leibniz is most noted for his optimism, i.e. his conclusion that our universe is, in a restricted sense, the best possible one that God could have created, an idea that was often lampooned by others such as Voltaire. Leibniz, along with René Descartes and Baruch Spinoza, was one of the three great 17th-century advocates of rationalism. The work of Leibniz anticipated modern logic and analytic philosophy, but his philosophy also looks back to the scholastic tradition, in which conclusions are produced by applying reason to first principles or prior definitions rather than to empirical evidence.

Leibniz made major contributions to physics and technology, and anticipated notions that surfaced much later in philosophy, probability theory, biology, medicine, geology, psychology, linguistics, and computer science. He wrote works on philosophy, politics, law, ethics, theology, history, and philology. Leibniz also contributed to the field of library science. While serving as overseer of the Wolfenbüttel library in Germany, he devised a cataloging system that would serve as a guide for many of Europe's largest libraries. Leibniz's contributions to this vast array of subjects were scattered in various learned journals, in tens of thousands of letters, and in unpublished manuscripts. He wrote in several languages, but primarily in Latin, French, and German. There is no complete gathering of the writings of Leibniz translated into English.

He Is There and He Is Not Silent

He Is There and He Is Not Silent is a philosophical work written by American apologist and Christian theologian Francis A. Schaeffer, Wheaton, IL:Tyndale House, first published in 1972. It is Book Three in Volume One of The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer A Christian Worldview. Westchester, IL:Crossway Books, 1982. This is the third book of Francis Schaeffer's "Trilogy."

Leonardo Polo

Leonardo Polo (February 1, 1926 – February 9, 2013) was a renowned Spanish philosopher best known for his philosophical method called abandonment of the mental limit and the profound philosophical implications and results of the application of this method.

This method of detecting the mental limit in conditions such that it can be abandoned, results in a rethinking of classical and modern themes that opens up a wide range of philosophical fields. Principal among these are: (1) the act of being of the physical universe (metaphysics); (2) the quadruple con-causality (or essence) of the physical universe (philosophy of nature); (3) the act of being of the human person (transcendental anthropology); (4) the manifestation of the human person through her essence (anthropology of the human essence).

In addition to this, his works cover a wide range of fields including psychology, neuroscience, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, social ethics, political economy and business theory.

Throughout his more than forty books, Polo engages with both Classical and Medieval thinkers such as Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and William of Ockham, as well as Modern and Contemporary philosophers such as Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger, and Nietzsche.

In dialogue with the great thinkers of the history of philosophy, Polo seeks to further the achievements of traditional philosophy as well as rectify and correct the project of Modern philosophy.

Already during his lifetime, interest in his philosophy has given rise to numerous conferences and study workshops, including two international congresses; the publication of more than twenty books and 200 scholarly articles; dozens of doctoral dissertations; and two philosophical Journals dedicated specially to his thought.

Martha Kneale

Martha Kneale (née Hurst; 14 August 1909 – 2 December 2001) was a British philosopher.

Modal logic

Modal logic is a type of formal logic primarily developed in the 1960s that extends classical propositional and predicate logic to include operators expressing modality. A modal—a word that expresses a modality—qualifies a statement. For example, the statement "John is happy" might be qualified by saying that John is usually happy, in which case the term "usually" is functioning as a modal. The traditional alethic modalities, or modalities of truth, include possibility ("Possibly, p", "It is possible that p"), necessity ("Necessarily, p", "It is necessary that p"), and impossibility ("Impossibly, p", "It is impossible that p"). Other modalities that have been formalized in modal logic include temporal modalities, or modalities of time (notably, "It was the case that p", "It has always been that p", "It will be that p", "It will always be that p"), deontic modalities (notably, "It is obligatory that p", and "It is permissible that p"), epistemic modalities, or modalities of knowledge ("It is known that p") and doxastic modalities, or modalities of belief ("It is believed that p").

A formal modal logic represents modalities using modal operators. For example, "It might rain today" and "It is possible that rain will fall today" both contain the notion of possibility. In a modal logic this is represented as an operator, "Possibly", attached to the sentence "It will rain today".

It is fallacious to confuse necessity and possibility. In particular, this is known as the modal fallacy.

The basic unary (1-place) modal operators are usually written "□" for "Necessarily" and "◇" for "Possibly". Following the example above, if is to represent the statement of "it will rain today", the possibility of rain would be represented by . This reads: It is possible that it will rain today. Similarly reads: It is necessary that it will rain today, expressing certainty regarding the statement.

In a classical modal logic, each can be expressed by the other with negation.

In natural language, this reads: it is possible that it will rain today if and only if it is not necessary that it will not rain today. Similarly, necessity can be expressed in terms of possibility in the following negation:

which states it is necessary that it will rain today if and only if it is not possible that it will not rain today. Alternative symbols used for the modal operators are "L" for "Necessarily" and "M" for "Possibly".

Mou Zongsan

Mou Zongsan (Chinese: 牟宗三; pinyin: Móu Zōngsān; Wade–Giles: Mou Tsung-san, 1909–1995) was a Chinese New Confucian philosopher. He was born in Shandong province and graduated from Peking University. In 1949 he moved to Taiwan and later to Hong Kong, and he remained outside of mainland China for the rest of his life. His thought was heavily influenced by Immanuel Kant, whose three Critiques he translated, possibly first, into Chinese, and above all by Tiantai Buddhist philosophy.

Over the last 40 years of his life, Mou wrote histories of "Neo-Daoist," Confucian, and Buddhist philosophy (totaling six volumes) a group of constructive philosophic treatises, culminating in his 1985 work, On the Summum Bonum (Chinese: 圓善論; pinyin: yuanshan lun), in which he attempts to rectify the problems in Kant's system through a Confucian-based philosophy reworked with a set of concepts appropriated from Tiantai Buddhism.

In the People's Republic of China, Mou is especially famous for his cultural traditionalism and his defense of democracy as a traditional Chinese value.

Naming and Necessity

Naming and Necessity is a 1980 book with the transcript of three lectures, given by the philosopher Saul Kripke, at Princeton University in 1970, in which he dealt with the debates of proper names in the philosophy of language. The transcript was brought out originally in 1972 in Semantics of Natural Language, edited by Donald Davidson and Gilbert Harman. Among analytic philosophers, Naming and Necessity is widely considered one of the most important philosophical works of the twentieth century.


Necessary or necessity may refer to:


An action somebody may feel they must do

An important task or essential thing to do at a particular time or by a particular moment

Necessary and sufficient condition, in logic, something that is a required condition for something else to be the case

Necessary proposition, in logic, a statement about facts that is either unassailably true (tautology) or obviously false (contradiction)

Metaphysical necessity, in philosophy, a truth which is true in all possible worlds

Necessity in modal logicLawDoctrine of necessity, a concept in constitutional law

Military necessity, a concept in international law

Necessity (criminal law), a defence in criminal law

Necessity (tort), a concept in the law of tort

A necessity in contract lawOtherA bathroom or toilet, in some languages (in English this is an archaic usage)

An economic need enunciated by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1944 Second Bill of Rights

Necessity (novel), of 2016 by Jo Walton

Necessary Records, UK record label

New Confucianism

New Confucianism (Chinese: 新儒家; pinyin: xīn rú jiā; literally: 'new Confucianism') is an intellectual movement of Confucianism that began in the early 20th century in Republican China, and further developed in post-Mao era contemporary China. It is deeply influenced by, but not identical with, the neo-Confucianism of the Song and Ming dynasties. It is a neo-conservative movement of various Chinese traditions and has been regarded as containing religious overtones; it advocates for certain Confucianist elements of society – such social, ecological, and political harmony – to be applied in a contemporary context in synthesis with Western philosophies such as rationalism and humanism. Its philosophies have emerged as a focal point of discussion between Confucian scholars in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United States.

Personal identity

In philosophy, the matter of personal identity deals with such questions as, "What makes it true that a person at one time is the same thing as a person at another time?" or "What kinds of things are we persons?" Generally, personal identity is the unique numerical identity of a person in the course of time. That is, the necessary and sufficient conditions under which a person at one time and a person at another time can be said to be the same person, persisting through time.In contemporary metaphysics, the matter of personal identity is referred to as the diachronic problem of personal identity. The synchronic problem concerns the question of what features and traits characterize a person at a given time. In continental philosophy and in analytic philosophy, enquiry to the nature of Identity is common. Continental philosophy deals with conceptually maintaining identity when confronted by different philosophic propositions, postulates, and presuppositions about the world and its nature.


Ulay (real name Frank Uwe Laysiepen German: [fʁaŋk ˈuːvə laɪˈziːpn̩]; born November 30, 1943) is an artist based in Amsterdam and Ljubljana, Slovenia. Since 1971, he is known in artistic circles as Ulay, a pseudonym that combines the initial of his name with the first syllable of his surname. Ulay received international recognition through his radical actions and Polaroid works from the early seventies, followed by the collaborative performances with Marina Abramović (Relation Works 1976-1988) and his photographic experiments from the 1990s until today. His artistic trajectory amounts to a radical and historically unique oeuvre, situated at the intersection of photography and the conceptually oriented approaches towards performance and body art.

Unmoved mover

The unmoved mover (Ancient Greek: ὃ οὐ κινούμενον κινεῖ, romanized: ho ou kinoúmenon kineî, lit. 'that which moves without being moved') or prime mover (Latin: primum movens) is a concept advanced by Aristotle as a primary cause (or first uncaused cause) or "mover" of all the motion in the universe. As is implicit in the name, the "unmoved mover" moves other things, but is not itself moved by any prior action. In Book 12 (Greek: Λ) of his Metaphysics, Aristotle describes the unmoved mover as being perfectly beautiful, indivisible, and contemplating only the perfect contemplation: self-contemplation. He equates this concept also with the active intellect. This Aristotelian concept had its roots in cosmological speculations of the earliest Greek pre-Socratic philosophers and became highly influential and widely drawn upon in medieval philosophy and theology. St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, elaborated on the unmoved mover in the Quinque viae.

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