This site details questions that fall within the scope of the project, and it also outlines some of the directions that we are aiming to take. Let us know if you'd like to share your work about any of the issues below. If we disuss your work in our reading group, we will be glad to tell you what we think.
We explore the view that necessity features in the nature of hyperintensional phenomena and is therefore not defined in terms of them. We also wonder whether defining necessity deflates it.
Why do hyperintensional phenomena explain necessity truths? We are developing a view on the sourcehood relation that answers this 'explanation challenge'.
We question the assumption that there are one absolute and various relative kinds of necessity. We explore the alternative view, on which several kinds of necessity are definitionally isolated from one another.
We wonder whether modal pluralists must appeal to several primitive notions of necessity, or whether different kinds of necessity can be derived from a single generic kind of necessity.
If two kinds of necessity are definitionally isolated from one another, in what sense can one kind of necessity be said to be stronger than the other?
Sources as Explanatory Phenomena
We think that the point of necessity exertion is to establish explanations. But is every source of necessity a ground of explanation, and are kinds of explanation individuated by their sources?
Grounds of Explanation
How does necessity exertion yield explanations of individual facts? We ask whether necessity exertion suffices for explanation, or requires additional structure.
Laws of Nature
Laws of nature govern the facts and establish productive explanations. We investigate whether governance and production can be understood as distinctive ways of exerting necessity.
Essences don't seem to share the dynamic governing aspect of the laws. But how do essences interact with facts to generate explanations, and what explanations are they fit to support?
Is logical consequence a source of necessity? Is it fundamentally descriptive or normative? We approach these questions from the theory of necessity exertion.
Physical laws are sources of natural necessity, establish causal reasons, and confer the status of inevitablity. This modal-explanatory structure <source, necessity, reason, status> is mirrored in the deontic domain, where normative laws establish normative necessity ('oughts') and normative reasons, and confer the status of rightness.
To exploit these commonalities, we think of normative laws as soures of normative necessity. We investigate how normative sources, thus construed, exert necessity. Our guiding question is that of what constitutively distinguishes descriptive from normative sources. This is the question of what deontic normativity consists in.
Different sources might modify a single generic kind of necessity: essence and laws of nature exert generic necessity, which thereby becomes metaphysical or natural necessity in the respective cases. The same strategy might apply to the normative case: oughts might also be understood as modified generic necessity.