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Tópicos (México)

Print version ISSN 0188-6649

Abstract

GONZALEZ VARELA, José Edgar. El nihilismo modal frente al argumento de McFetridge a favor de la necesidad de la creencia en la necesidad. Tópicos (México) [online]. 2013, n.45, pp.269-298. ISSN 0188-6649.

In this paper I examine McFetridge's (1990) argument for the necessity of the belief in necessity. The argument purports to establish a fatal dilemma for the modal "nihilist", he who does not believe that at least some proposition is necessary. My main aim is to show that the dilemma that McFetridge's argument poses is not sound, since it has an important limitation, concerning specifically its second horn, which is the more interesting. The second horn poses a kind of transcendental argument: it is necessary to believe in necessity if we are going to be able to reason from counterfactual suppositions. Nevertheless, this argument assumes that counterfactual supposition is an essential activity in our lives, which signals, I claim, a central point around which the modal nihilist would try to reassert her position. Thus, I purport to show that the second horn of McFetridge's argument reveals that the focus of the debate between modal believers and nihilists should move properly from the question about the role of belief in necessity to the question about the role of counterfactual supposition.

Keywords : counterfactual supposition; logical necessity; modal belief; modal nihilism.

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