Ideas from 'Reference and Modality' by Willard Quine [1953], by Theme Structure

[found in 'From a Logical Point of View' by Quine,Willard [Harper and Row 1963,0-06-130566-9]].

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4. Formal Logic / D. Modal Logic ML / 1. Modal Logic
Maybe we can quantify modally if the objects are intensional, but it seems unlikely
                        Full Idea: Perhaps there is no objection to quantifying into modal contexts as long as the values of any variables thus quantified are limited to intensional objects, but they also lead to disturbing examples.
                        From: Willard Quine (Reference and Modality [1953], 3)
                        A reaction: [Quine goes on to give his examples] I take it that possibilities are features of actual reality, not merely objects of thought. The problem is that they are harder to know than actual objects.
5. Theory of Logic / F. Referring in Logic / 1. Naming / b. Names as descriptive
Failure of substitutivity shows that a personal name is not purely referential
                        Full Idea: Failure of substitutivity shows that the occurrence of a personal name is not purely referential.
                        From: Willard Quine (Reference and Modality [1953], 1)
                        A reaction: I don't think I understand the notion of a name being 'purely' referential, as if it somehow ceased to be a word, and was completely transparent to the named object.
5. Theory of Logic / G. Quantification / 1. Quantification
Quantifying into referentially opaque contexts often produces nonsense
                        Full Idea: If to a referentially opaque context of a variable we apply a quantifier, with the intention that it govern that variable from outside the referentially opaque context, then what we commonly end up with is unintended sense or nonsense.
                        From: Willard Quine (Reference and Modality [1953], 2)
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 15. Against Essentialism
Quantification into modal contexts requires objects to have an essence
                        Full Idea: A reversion to Aristotelian essentialism is required if quantification into modal contexts is to be insisted on. An object must be seen as having some of its traits necessarily.
                        From: Willard Quine (Reference and Modality [1953], 3)
                        A reaction: This thought leads directly to Kripke's proposal of rigid designation of objects (and Lewis response of counterparts), which really gets modal logic off the ground. Quine's challenge remains - the modal logic entails a huge metaphysical commitment.
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 4. De re / De dicto modality
To be necessarily greater than 7 is not a trait of 7, but depends on how 7 is referred to
                        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.
                        From: Willard Quine (Reference and Modality [1953], 2)
                        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.
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 11. Denial of Necessity
Whether 9 is necessarily greater than 7 depends on how '9' is described
                        Full Idea: Quine's metaphysical argument is that if 9 is 7+2 the number 9 will be necessarily greater than 7, but when 9 is described as the number of planets, the number will not be necessarily greater than 7. The necessity depends on how it is described.
                        From: report of Willard Quine (Reference and Modality [1953]) by Kit Fine - Intro to 'Modality and Tense' p. 3
                        A reaction: Thus necessity would be entirely 'de dicto' and not 'de re'. It sounds like a feeble argument. If I describe the law of identity (a=a) as 'my least favourite logical principle', that won't make it contingent. Describe 9, or refer to it? See Idea 9203.
Necessity only applies to objects if they are distinctively specified
                        Full Idea: Necessity does not properly apply to the fulfilment of conditions by objects (such as the number which numbers the planets), apart from special ways of specifying them.
                        From: Willard Quine (Reference and Modality [1953], 3)
                        A reaction: This appears to say that the only necessity is 'de dicto', and that there is no such thing as 'de re' necessity (of the thing in itself). How can Quine deny that there might be de re necessities? His point is epistemological - how can we know them?
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 3. Transworld Objects / a. Transworld identity
We can't quantify in modal contexts, because the modality depends on descriptions, not objects
                        Full Idea: 'Necessarily 9>7' may be true while the sentence 'necessarily the number of planets < 7' is false, even though it is obtained by substituting a coreferential term. So quantification in these contexts is unintelligible, without a clear object.
                        From: report of Willard Quine (Reference and Modality [1953]) by Kit Fine - Intro to 'Modality and Tense' p. 4
                        A reaction: This is Quine's second argument against modality. See Idea 9201 for his first. Fine attempts to refute it. The standard reply seems to be to insist that 9 must therefore be an object, which pushes materialist philosophers into reluctant platonism.
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / e. Anti scientific essentialism
We can't say 'necessarily if x is in water then x dissolves' if we can't quantify modally
                        Full Idea: To say an object is soluble in water is to say that it would dissolve if it were in water,..which implies that 'necessarily if x is in water then x dissolves'. Yet we do not know if there is a suitable sense of 'necessarily' into which we can so quantify.
                        From: Willard Quine (Reference and Modality [1953], 4)
                        A reaction: This is why there has been a huge revival of scientific essentialism - because Krike seems to offer exacty the account which Quine said was missing. So can you have modal logic without rigid designation?