Welcome to the website of the DFG Research Group “Sources of Necessity”. The group is based at Tübingen University and led by Tobias Wilsch and Thomas Sattig. Feel free to peruse our website for information about the goals of the project and its members. We advertise activities on our news & events page.

Sources of Necessity

Why yet another project on the metaphysics of modality and the hyper-intensional?

In the wake of analytic metaphysics, modal phenomena like necessity and supervenience were absolutely central to metaphysics. Then came the recent hyper-intensional revolution, which reintroduced ground and essence and effectlively degraded necessity to an epiphenomenal symptom. 

We think it's time to move on. Our big idea is to treat modal and hyper-intensionsal phenomena with equal metaphysical seriousness: there are both modal and hyper-intensional joints in nature, and neither one is merely a symptom of the other.

Our proposal raises new questions about the relationship between necessity and its sources: What does it take to be a source of necessity? What is the purpose of being a source? Which phenomena are sources?

These questions are only the tip of the philosophical ice berg. We think that understanding the different ways in which sources exert necessity on facts might help us understand other important phenomena like explanation, the variety of necessity, and even the distinciton between descriptive and normative necessity. 

So yes, although much work has been done on necessity and its sources, we think that there is much more work to do. You can take a look at some specific issues our group is devoted to in the section on Project Goals.