Single Idea 14645

[catalogued under 10. Modality / A. Necessity / 4. De re / De dicto modality]

Full Idea

To be necessarily greater than 7 is not a trait of a number, but depends on the manner of referring to the number.

Gist of Idea

To be necessarily greater than 7 is not a trait of 7, but depends on how 7 is referred to

Source

Willard Quine (Reference and Modality [1953], 2)

Book Reference

Plantinga,Alvin: 'Essays in the Metaphysics of Modality' [OUP 2003], p.148


A Reaction

The most concise quotation of Quine's objection to 'de re' modality. The point is whether the number might have been referred to as 'the number of planets'. So many of these problems are solved by fixing unambiguous propositions first.