Theory and History of Ontology ( Raul Corazzon | e-mail:

Kit Fine: annotated bibliography. Papers 2012-2022

Contents of this Section

Papers 2012-2022

  1. Fine, Kit. 2012. "What is Metaphysics?" In Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics , edited by Tahko, Tuomas E., 8-25. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "There are, I believe, five main features that serve to distinguish traditional metaphysics from other forms of enquiry. These are: the aprioricity of its methods; the generality of its subject-matter; the transparency or `non-opacity' of its concepts; its eidicity or concern with the nature of things; and its role as a foundation for what there is. In claiming that these are distinguishing features, I do not mean to suggest that no other forms of enquiry possess any of them. Rather, in metaphysics these features come together in a single package and it is the package as a whole rather than any of the individual features that serves to distinguish metaphysics from other forms of enquiry.

    It is the aim of this chapter to give an account of these individual features and to explain how they might come together to form a single reasonably unified form of enquiry. I shall begin by giving a rough and ready description of the various features and then go into more detail about what they are and how they are related." (p. 8).

  2. ———. 2012. "Guide to Ground." In Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality edited by Correia, Fabrice and Schnieder, Benjamin, 37-80. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "A number of philosophers have recently become receptive to the idea that, in addition to scientific or causal explanation, there may be a distinctive kind of metaphysical explanation, in which explanans and explanandum are connected, not through some sort of causal mechanism, but through some constitutive form of determination. I myself have long been sympathetic to this idea of constitutive determination or “ontological ground”; and it is the aim of the present chapter to help put the idea on a firmer footing – to explain how it is to be understood, how it relates to other ideas, and how it might be of use in philosophy. (1)" (p. 37)

    (1) A number of other philosophers (they include Audi [forthcoming], Batchelor [2010], Schaffer [2009b], Correia [2005, 2010], Raven [2009], Rosen [2010], Schnieder [2011]) have done related work in defense of the notion; and I have not attempted to make a detailed comparison between their ideas and my own.

    I am grateful to the participants at the Boulder conference on dependence and to Neil Tennant for many helpful comments on an earlier draft of the chapter. I should add that, for reasons of space, some of the material in the chapter originally submitted to the volume had been abridged.


    Audi, P. forthcoming. Grounding: Toward a Theory of the In-Virtue-Of Relation’, Journal of Philosophy [109, 2012, pp. 685-711.]

    Batchelor, R. 2010. ‘Grounds and Consequences’, Grazer Philosophische Studien 80: 65–77

    Correia, F. 2005. Existential Dependence and Cognate Notions. Munich: Philosophia Verlag

    ___ 2010. ‘Grounding and Truth-Functions’, Logique et Analyse 53: 251–79

    Raven M. 2009. Ontology, From a Fundamentalist Point of View. Ph.D., New York University

    Rosen, G. 2010. ‘Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction’, in Hale and Hoffman 2010, (eds.), 2010. Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. New York: Oxford University Press 109–36

    Schaffer, J. 2009b. ‘On What Grounds What’, in Chalmers, Manley, and Wasserman 2009 (eds.), 2009. Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press 347–83

    Schnieder, B. 2011. ‘A Logic for “Because”’, The Review of Symbolic Logic 4: 445–65

  3. ———. 2012. "A Difficulty for the Possible Worlds Analysis of Counterfactuals." Synthese no. 189:29-57.

    "A number of different accounts of counterfactual statements have been proposed in the literature. It has been thought that they should be understood in terms of the closeness of possible worlds, for example, with the counterfactual from A to C being true if all sufficiently close worlds in which A is true are worlds in which C is true or that they should be understood in terms of some notion of cotenability, with the counterfactual from A to B being true if A in conjunction with truths cotenable with A entails C. But a common presupposition of almost all of these accounts is that counterfactual claims should be intensional. If the sentences A and AN or C and CN are necessarily equivalent then the substitution of AN for A or CN for C in the antecedent or consequent of a counterfactual should preserve its truth-value. Thus, under the usual form of the possible worlds account, the truth-value of a counterfactual will simply turn on the possible worlds in which the antecedent and the consequent are true and so the account will be unable to distinguish between the truth-values of counterfactuals whose antecedents or consequents are true in the same possible worlds and hence are necessarily equivalent while, under the entailment-based accounts, the entailments will remain the same under the substitution of necessary equivalents and so the truth-values of the counterfactuals will also remain the same. (1)

    It is the aim of this paper to show that no plausible account of counterfactuals should take them to be intensional and that if we are to describe the different kinds of counterfactual scenarios in the way we want and to reason about them in the way we would like, then the assumption of intensionality should be abandoned. Indeed, it is not merely the assumption of ‘modal’ intensionality that will fail but also the weaker assumption of‘logical’ or ‘classical’ intensionality. For the cases we shall consider are ones in which the substitution of AN for A or CN for C should not be permitted, even though they are logical and not merely necessary equivalents." (pp. 29-30)

    (1) The present paper expands on material in the first part of Fine, ‘Counterfactuals without Possible Worlds’, to appear in Journal of Philosophy [2012].

  4. ———. 2012. "Counterfactuals Without Possible Worlds." Journal of Philosophy no. 109:221-246.

    "Ever since the pioneering work of Stalnaker and Lewis (1), it has been customary to provide a semantics for counterfactuals statements in terms of possible worlds. Roughly speaking, the idea is that the counterfactual from A to C should be taken to be true just in case all of the closest worlds in which A is true are worlds in which C is true. Such a semantics is subject to some familiar difficulties - counterfactuals involving impossible antecedents, for example, or counterfactuals involving big changes consequential upon small changes. But it is not clear how seriously to take these difficulties - either because they might be met through some modification in the notion of closeness or because the intuitions on which the cases depend might be challenged or because the cases themselves might be dismissed as peripheral to the central use of the counterfactual construction; and nor has it been clear what a more satisfactory alternative to the possible world semantics might be put in its place." (p. 221)


    (1) Stalnaker, ‘A Theory of Conditionals’ in N. Rescher (ed.) Studies in Logical Theory , American Philosophical Quarterly Monograph Series , No. 2' (Oxford: Blackwell, 1968), 98-112 and Lewis, Counterfactuals (Oxford: Blackwell, 1973).

  5. ———. 2012. "Modal Logic and its Applications to the Philosophy of Language." In The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Language , edited by Russell, Gilliam and Graff Fara, Delia 609-623. New York: Routledge.

    "Modal logic is the logic of possibility and necessity and of other such notions. It began, as did logic in general, with Aristotle, in his theory of the ‘modal syllogism’; and various notions and principles of modal logic were extensively discussed in the middle ages.

    But the subject only came into its own at the beginning of the twentieth century (see Goldblatt 2005 for an account of its recent history).

    I begin by presenting some basic material on the possible worlds’ approach to modal logic and then show how it relates to certain key topics in the philosophy of language.

    For reasons of space, I have had to be very selective and, inevitably, a great deal of interesting material has not been covered." (p. 609)


    "7.6 Limitations

    The possible worlds approach to meaning is subject to some well-known limitations. It cannot distinguish, for example, between knowing one necessary truth from knowing another. Or again, it may be permitted that I post the letter but not permitted that I post the letter or post the letter and burn down the post office, even though the two embedded clauses are true in the same possible worlds.

    There is a question of how seriously to take these difficulties. My own view is that they cannot properly be overcome or ignored and that the possible worlds approach, for all of its success, can only be regarded as the first step towards a more adequate account of meaning." (p. 622)


    Goldblatt R. (2005) ‘Mathematical Modal Logic: A View of its Evolution’ in Handbook of the History of Logic : VII (eds. D. M. Gabbay and J. Woods), Amsterdam: Elsevier.

  6. ———. 2012. "The Pure Logic of Ground." The Review of Symbolic Logic no. 5:1-25.

    "Ground is the relation of one truth holding in virtue of others. This relation is like that of consequence in that a necessary connection must hold between the relata if the relation is to obtain but it differs from consequence in so far as it required that there should also be an explanatory connection between the relata. The grounds must account for what is grounded. Thus even though P is a consequence of P & P, P & P is not a ground for P, since it does not account for the truth of P.

    It is the aim of this paper to develop a semantics and proof theory for the pure logic of ground. The pure logic of ground stands to ground as Gentzen’s structural rules stand to consequence. One prescinds from the internal structure of the propositions under consideration and simply asks what follows from what in virtue of the formal features of the underlying relation. Thus the claim that ground is transitive, that if P is a ground for Q and Q a ground for R then P should be a ground for R, is plausibly regarded as part of the pure logic of ground; but the claim that P is a ground for P & P will be part of the applied as opposed to the pure logic of ground, since it turns on the logical properties of &." (p. 1)

  7. ———. 2012. "Mathematics: Discovery or Invention." Think no. 11:11-27.

    Abstract: "Mathematics has been the most successful and is the most mature of the sciences. Its first great master work – Euclid's ‘Elements’ – which helped to establish the field and demonstrate the power of its methods, was written about 2400 years ago; and it served as a standard text in the mathematics curriculum well into the twentieth century. By contrast, the first comparable master work of physics – Newton's Principia – was written 300 odd years ago. And the juvenile science of biology only got its first master work – Darwin's ‘On the Origin of Species’ – a mere 150 years ago. The development of the subject has also been extraordinarily fertile, particularly in the last three centuries, and it is perhaps only in the last century that the other sciences have begun to approach mathematics in the steady accumulation of knowledge that it has been able to offer. There has, moreover, been almost universal agreement on its methods and how they are to be applied. What we require is proof; and, in practice, there is very little disagreement over whether or not we have it. The other sciences, by contrast, tend to get mired in controversy over the significance of this or that experimental finding or over whether one theory is to be preferred to another."

  8. ———. 2013. "A Note on Partial Content." Analysis no. 73:413-419.

    "Some philosophers have looked for a notion of partial content for which the content of A is in general part of the content of A & B but the content of A v B is not in general part of the content of A. (1) But they have realized that these two requirements are in tension with one another. For A is logically equivalent to (A _ B) & A and so, if the content of (A _ B) is part of the content of (A v B) & A, it should also be part of the content of A.

    There is a related difficulty for allied notions. Thus, one might want A & B to be partially true via A being true though not want A to be partially true via A v B being true (since A v B might be true through B being true, which has nothing to do with A). Or one might want A & B to have at least much truth in it as A even though A does not in general have at least much truth in it as A v B. Or one might want A to confirm A & B but not want A v B to confirm A (since A v B might in its turn be confirmed by B).

    In this note, I show that this difficulty is of a quite general nature and does not simply arise from the desire to have the content of A be part of the content of A & B but not have the content of A v B be part of the content of A." (p. 413)

    (1) As in Angell 1977, Gemes 1994 and Yablo 2013, for example.


    Angell, R.E. 1977. Three systems of first degree entailment. Journal of Symbolic Logic 42: 147.

    Gemes, K. 1994. A new theory of content. Journal of Philosophical Logic 23: 596–620.

    Yablo, S. 2013. Aboutness. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  9. ———. 2013. "Fundamental Truth and Fundamental Terms." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research no. 87:725-732.

    Comments on Siders’ ‘Writing the Book

    of the World’ [*]

    "Ted Sider’s ‘Writing the Book of the World’ is a bold and ambitious work, offering original and provocative answers to a wide range of questions within metaphysics and meta-metaphysics. The book is focused on the topic of fundamentality—of what is fundamental and of what it is to be fundamental and, although Sider is largely concerned to develop his own positive views on the topic, he does devote a couple of sections (§§8.1-2) to my views, as laid out in the paper, ‘The Question of Realism’. (1) I hope I may therefore be forgiven for devoting my attention to some of the more critical points that he makes in these sections." (p. 725)

    [*] New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

    (1) Imprint, vol. 1, no. 1, 2001, reprinted in ‘ Individuals, Essence and Identity: Themes of Analytic Philosophy ’ (ed. A. Bottani, M Carrara, P. Giaretta), Dordrecht: Kluwer 2002, 3-41.

  10. ———. 2014. "Truth-Maker Semantics for Intuitionistic Logic." Journal of Philosophical Logic no. 43:549-577.

    Abstract "I propose a new semantics for intuitionistic logic, which is a cross between the construction-oriented semantics of Brouwer-Heyting-Kolmogorov and the condition-oriented semantics of Kripke. The new semantics shows how there might be a common semantical underpinning for intuitionistic and classical logic and how intuitionistic logic might thereby be tied to a realist conception of the relationship between language and the world."

    "I wish to propose a new semantics for intuitionistic logic, which is in some ways a cross between the construction-oriented semantics of Brouwer-Heyting-Kolmogorov (as expounded in [8], for example) and the condition-oriented semantics of Kripke [6]. The new semantics is of some philosophical interest, because it shows how there might be a common semantical underpinning for intuitionistic and classical logic and how intuitionistic logic might thereby be tied to a realist conception of the relationship between language and the world. The new semantics is also of some technical interest; it gives rise to a framework, intermediate between the frameworks of the two other approaches, within which several novel questions and approaches may be pursued.

    I begin with a philosophical discussion and conclude with a long technical appendix. In principle, the two can be read independently of one another but it is preferable if the reader first gains a formal and informal understanding of the semantics and then goes back and forth between the philosophical and technical exposition. (1)" (pp. 549-550)

    (1) An earlier version of this paper was presented at a conference on truthmakers in Paris, 2011, and at a conference on the philosophy of mathematics in Bucharest, 2012. I should like to thank the participants of these two conferences for helpful comments and also an anonymous referee for the journal. After completing the paper, I learned that Ciardelli’s thesis [1] on inquisitive logic contains some related work.

    In particular, the system HH of the appendix is similar to the system for inquisitive logic while lemma 22 corresponds to the disjunctive-negative normal form theorem for inquisitive logic. It would be worthwhile to explore the connections between the two approaches in more detail. I should like to thank Ivano Ciardelli for bringing his thesis to my attention and for helpful correspondence.


    1. Ciaredelli, I. (2009). ‘Inquisitive semantics and intermediate logics’, M Sc. Thesis, University of Amsterdam.

    6. Kripke, S. (1965). ‘Semantical analysis of intuitionistic logic’. In J. Crossley and M. A. E. Dummett (Eds.), [ Formal Systems and Recursive Functions , Amsterdam: North Holland, 1965], 92–130.

    8. Troelstra, A., & van Dalen, D. (1988). ‘Constructivism in mathematics’ (volumes 1 & 2). Amsterdam: North Holland.

  11. ———. 2014. "A New Theory of Vagueness (Abstract)." In Formal Ontology in Information Systems , edited by Garbacz, Pawel and Kutz, Oliver, 4. Amsterdam: IOS Press.

    "I propose a new theory of vagueness. It differs from previous theories in two main respects. First, it treats vagueness as a global rather than local phenomenon, i.e. vagueness always relates to a number of cases rather than a single case. Second, it treats vagueness as a logical rather than a material matter, i.e. vagueness can be expressed by logical means alone without the help of additional vagueness-theoretic primitives. I shall criticize alternative views, develop a logic and semantics for my own view, and explain how it deals with the sorites."

  12. ———. 2014. "Recurrence: A Rejoinder." Philosophical Studies no. 169:425-428.

    "I am grateful to Nathan Salmon (in Salmon [2012]) for being willing to spill so much ink over my monograph on semantic relationism [2007], even if what he has to say is not altogether complimentary. There is a great deal in his criticisms to which I take exception but I wish to focus on one point, what he calls my ‘formal disproof’ of standard Millianism. He believes that ‘the alleged hard result is nearly demonstrably false’ (p. 420) and that the disproof contains a ‘serious error’ (p. 407). Neither claim is correct; and it is the aim of this short note to explain why." (p. 425)


    Fine K., [2007] ‘ Semantic Relationism ’, Oxford: Blackwell

    Salmon N., [2012] ‘Recurrence’, Philosophical Studies 159, 407- 411.

  13. ———. 2014. "Permission and Possible Worlds." Dialectica no. 68:317-336.

    "It is often taken for granted, by philosophers and linguists alike, that one can give an account of the truth-conditions of statements of permission in terms of possible worlds, that it will be permissible to see to it that p just in case p is true in some permissible or ‘deontically accessible’ world. In this paper, I shall argue that if statements of permission are to serve their purpose as a guide to action then no possible worlds account of their truth-conditions can possibly be correct. In a previous paper, I presented a simple argument against the possible worlds account of counterfactuals (The author [2012a], p. 45); and the present paper arose from my seeing that a similar form of argument applied with even greater force against the possible worlds account of statements of permission.

    The objection may be briefly and loosely stated as follows. Suppose God has placed infinitely many apples a1, a2, a3, ... in Alternative Eden and tells Eve (for some reason, this is not mentioned in the Bible) :

    You may eat infinitely many of the apples a1, a2, a3, ....

    What then is Eve permitted to do?

    She might initially have thought that she is permitted to eat all of the apples, say, or all but one, or every other apple, and so on. But whatever her other failings, she is not lacking in logical acumen. She realizes that eating infinitely many of the apples a1, a2, a3, ... is logically equivalent to eating infinitely many of the apples a0, a1, a2, a3,..., where a0 happens to be the apple from the Tree of Knowledge in Original Eden and so, she reasons, if the truth of permission claims is preserved under the substitution of logical equivalents, as it should be under a possible worlds account, then God might just as well have said:

    You may eat infinitely many of the applies a0, a1, a2, a3, ....

    But if God has said this she would have been permitted to eat the Forbidden Fruit in combination with an infinite selection of the other apples; and so she goes ahead and eats the Forbidden Fruit.

    Yet clearly, there is nothing in God’s initial statement of permission that actually justifies Eve in eating the Forbidden Fruit, as she soon discovers to her dismay." (pp. 317-318)


    Fine, Kit 2012a. "Counterfactuals Without Possible Worlds", Journal of Philosophy 109, 221-246.

  14. ———. 2015. "Unified Foundations for Essence and Ground." Journal of the American Philosophical Association no. 1:296-315.

    "There are, I believe, two different kinds of explanation or determination to be found in metaphysics - one of identity, or of what something is, and the other of truth, or of why something is so. One may explain what singleton Socrates is, for example, by saying that it is the set whose sole member is Socrates and one may explain why, or that in virtue of which, singleton Socrates exists by appeal to the existence of Socrates. One might talk, in connection with the first, of essence, of what singleton Socrates essentially is and, in connection with the second, of ground, of what grounds the existence of singleton Socrates. (1)

    Of course, explanations of identity and of truth also occur outside of metaphysics, but what is characteristic of their occurrence within metaphysics is the especially tight connection between explanandum and explanans. Being a set whose sole member is Socrates is somehow constitutive of what Socrates is; and Socrates’ existing is somehow constitutive of the existence of singleton Socrates. It is perhaps hard to say in general what constitutes a constitutive explanation but it is at least required, in any case of a constitutive explanation, that there should be metaphysically necessary connection between explanandum and explanans. Given that singleton Socrates is essentially a set whose sole member is Socrates, then it is metaphysically necessary that the set is one whose sole member is Socrates; and given that Socrates existence grounds the existence of singleton Socrates, it will be metaphysically necessary if Socrates exists that his singleton exists." (p. 296)


    "My present view is that the relationship between the two kinds of explanation is much closer than I had originally taken it to be. The decisive step towards achieving the desired rapprochement is to see both kinds of explanation as having a generic, as well as a specific, bearing on the objects with which they deal; they must be allowed to have application to an arbitrary individual of a given kind and not just to specific individuals of that kind. Once this step is taken, the initial disparities between essence and ground disappear and we are able to provide a unified and uniform account of the two notions. I had previously referred to essence and ground as the pillars upon which the edifice of metaphysics rests (Fine [2012], p. 80], but we can now see more clearly how the two notions complement one another in providing support for the very same structure." (p. 297)

    (1) I should like to thank the members of audiences at Birmingham, Oxford and Oslo for many helpful comments. The present paper is a companion to my paper ‘Identity Criteria and Ground’ and the reader may find it helpful, if not essential, to have the other paper at hand. I should note that Correia [2014] attempts to provide unified foundations, of a very different sort, in terms of an underlying notion of factual identity.

    There has been a growing literature on essence and ground in the recent philosophical literature. My own work on essence dates back to Fine [1994]; and a useful reference on ground is the anthology of Correia & Schnieder [2012].


    Correia F. & Schnieder B. (eds.), [2012] ‘ Metaphysical Grounding ’, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Correia F. [2014] ‘Identity, Essence and Ground’, slides for a talk.

    Fine K., [1994] ‘Essence and Modality’, in Philosophical Perspectives 8 (ed. J. Tomberlin) as the Nous Casteneda Memorial Lecture, pp. 1-16, (1994); reprinted in ‘ The Philosopher’s Annual' for 1994, volume 16, (ed. P. Grim), Stanford: CSLI; and reprinted in ‘ Metaphysics: An Anthology ’ (2nd edition), eds. J. Kim, D. Korman, E. Sosa, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell (2011).

    Fine K., [2012] ‘Guide to Ground’ in ‘ Metaphysical Grounding ’ (eds. B. Schnieder & F. Correia), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 8-25 pp.; reprinted online in ‘ Philosophers Annual ’ for 2012 (eds. P. Grim, C. Armstrong, P. Shirreff, N-H Stear).

    Fine K., [2014] ‘Identity Criteria and Ground’, to appear in Philosophical Studies. [vol. 173, 2016, pp. 1-19]

  15. ———. 2016. "Angellic Content." Journal of Philosophical Logic no. 45:199-226.

    "In a number of publications dating from 1977, Angell developed various systems of analytic entailment. The intended interpretation of a statement A → B of analytic entailment is that the content of B should be part of the content of A, and a guiding principle behind the understanding of partial content is that the content of A and of B should each be part of the content of A ∧ B but that the content of A ∨ B should not in general be part of the content of either A or B. Thus partial content cannot be understood as classical consequence or even as relevant consequence under its more usual interpretation.

    Quite independently of Angell’s work, I had attempted to develop a semantics for partial content in terms of truthmakers. It was taken to be an intuitive requirement on a truthmaker, or verifier, for a given statement that the verifier should be relevant to the truth of the statement and I had thought that one might take the analytic entailment A → B to hold if every verifier for A contained a verifier for B and if every verifier for B was contained in a verifier for A.

    I was naturally interested in the resulting logic of entailment.

    Much to my surprise, I discovered that the resulting logic coincided with the first degree fragment of Angell’s system. Under the proposed account of partial content, his system exactly captures the logic of partial content, once the content of a statement is identified with a suitable set of verifiers."


    "The paper has 10 sections in all. I detail the systems of analytic entailment to be considered (§1). I provide an outline of the truthmaker semantics (§2), give a definition of containment as a relation between contents (§3), and relate containment to the notion of subject-matter (§4). I establish soundness (§5) and then establish completeness by means of disjunctive normal forms (§§6-7). I consider two alternative semantics for the system, one in terms of falsifiers as well as verifiers (§8), and the other in terms of a many-valued logic (§9). I conclude by briefly considering some of the ways in which the system might be extended (§10)."


    Angell R. B., [1977] ‘Three Systems of First Degree Entailment’, Journal of Symbolic Logic , v. 47, p. 147.

    Angell R. B. [1989] ‘Deducibility, Entailment and Analytic Containment’, chapter 8 of Norman and Sylvan [1989], pp. 119 - 144.

    Angell R. B. [2002] A-Logic , University Press of America.

    Norman J., Sylvan R. (eds) [1989] ‘ Directions in Relevant Logic ’, Dordrecht: Kluwer.

  16. ———. 2016. "Identity Criteria and Ground." Philosophical Studies no. 173:1-19.

    "Philosophers often look for criteria of identity or think they are not to be found. They may ask for a criterion of identity for sets, for example, or for propositions, or for persons across time, or for individuals across possible worlds. And in response to such requests, they have said such things as: a criterion of identity for sets is their having the same members; or a criterion of identity for persons across time is their psychological continuity. (1)

    But what are these philosophers asking for when they ask for such criteria? I shall argue that the usual way of construing these questions is seriously misguided. I shall also propose an alternative - and, I hope, preferable - way of construing these questions and shall briefly indicate its significance for our more general understanding of metaphysical explanation. In what follows, I shall often use the criteria of identity for sets and for persons as examples. But it is important to bear in mind that they are just that, examples, and that the points I make concerning them are meant to apply, across the board, to all identity criteria." (p. 1)

    (1) 1I should like to thank Ted Sider, Fatema Amijee and Martin Glazier for their very helpful written comments and members of the audiences at Austin, Birmingham, CUNY, Oberlin, Oxford and Oslo for many helpful oral comments.

  17. ———. 2016. "Williamson on Fine on Prior on the reduction of Possibilist Discourse." Canadian Journal of Philosophy no. 46:548-570.

    "Timothy Williamson’s Modal Logic as Metaphysics (2013; MLM) is a tour de force — comprehensive in its scope, brilliant in its argumentation, and startling in its conclusions. It merits discussion on a wide range of different fronts, but I hope I can be forgiven for focusing on chapter 7 of the book, in which Williamson criticizes my attempt to carry out Prior’s project of reducing possibilist discourse to actualist discourse.

    My response is in three main parts. I begin by discussing what the reductive project should be. Williamson and I disagree on this question and, although it is not important for the evaluation of my own reductive proposal, it is important for a broader understanding of the metaphysical issues at stake. I then discuss and evaluate Williamson’s criticisms of my original reductive proposal. Although I believe that these criticisms can to some extent be met, they point to the need for a more satisfactory and less contentious form of reduction. Finally, I lay out the new proposed reduction; it is based on the idea of finding a general way of extending a reduction of first-order discourse to higher order discourse." (p. 548)

  18. ———. 2017. "The Possibility of Vagueness." Synthese no. 194:3699-3725.

    "I wish in this paper to propose a new approach to the topic of vagueness. It is different from the supervaluational approach, which I had previously advocated in Fine (1975), and from almost all other approaches in the literature of which I am aware.(1) There are two principal respects in which it differs from previous approaches: one concerns the global character of vagueness, of how vagueness relates to a whole range of cases and not merely to a single case; the other concerns the logical character of vagueness, of how it is capable of being conveyed by logical means alone. And so let me say a little more about these two features of the view before proceeding to the account itself." (p. 3699)

    (1) The one exception appears to be Zardini (2014), although his view appears to be very different from mine in a number of fundamental respects.


    Fine, K. (1975). Vagueness, truth and logic. Synthese 30, 265–300. Reprinted in Keefe & Smith (eds.). (1996). Vagueness: A reader. Boston: MIT University Press.

    Zardini E. (2014). First-order tolerant logics. Review of Symbolic Logic (forthcoming).

  19. ———. 2017. "A Theory of Truthmaker Content I: Conjunction, Disjunction and Negation." Journal of Philosophical Logic no. 46:625-674.

    Abstract: "I develop a basic theory of content within the framework of truthmaker semantics and, in the second part, consider some of the applications to subject matter, common content, logical subtraction and ground."

    "The paper is in two parts - the present part dealing with the familiar concepts of conjunction, disjunction and negation and the subsequent part dealing with the less familiar concepts of subject-matter, common content, logical remainder and ground.

    We shall provide an account of the quasi-structural notions of conjunctive and disjunctive part in the present part, but it is only in the second part that the approach will come into its own and its distinctive contribution to the theory of content become most apparent. Each of the two parts begins with an informal exposition of the material and concludes with a technical addendum. In principle, the exposition and addendum could be read independently of the other, though the reader may find it helpful to go back and forth between them." (p. 626)

  20. ———. 2017. "A Theory of Truthmaker Content II: Subject-matter, Common Content, Remainder and Ground." Journal of Philosophical Logic no. 46:675-702.

    "We continue with the development of the theory of truthmaker content begun in part I, dealing with such ‘non-standard’ topics as subject matter, common content, logical remainder and ground. This is by no means an exhaustive list of topics that might have been considered but it does provide an indication of the nature and scope of the theory. As before, the paper is divided into an informal exposition and a technical addendum. Both can be read independently of the other but it would be helpful, in either case, to have the first part of the paper at hand." (p. 675)

  21. ———. 2017. "Naive Metaphysiscs." Philosophical Issues. A Supplement to NOÛS no. 27:98-113.

    "Metaphysics has two central concerns. One is with the nature of things, with what they are like; and the other is with reality, with what there is.


    We therefore arrive at a traditional distinction within metaphysics between ontology , which is concerned with what there is, and what one might call metaphysics proper , which is concerned with the nature of what there is.(2) I wish, in this paper, to argue that this traditional division in the subject-matter of metaphysics is misguided and the connection between its two branches misconceived and that it should be replaced by a different division of the subject matter — into what I call naive and foundational metaphysics — and by a different conception of how the two branches are related. If I am right, then a good deal of metaphysical enquiry has labored under a false or unduly limited view of what the questions of metaphysics are and of how they are to be answered and it is only by reconfiguring the metaphysical landscape that we can obtain a proper view of how the subject should be pursued." (p. 98)

    (2) I have in mind here a recent tradition within analytic philosophy, perhaps derived from Quine, and not the more historical tradition deriving from Aristotle.

  22. ———. 2017. "Truthmaker Semantics." In A Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Second Edition. Vol. II , edited by Hale, Bob, Wright, Crispin and Miller, Alexander, 556-577. Malden: Wiley Blackwell.

    "My aim in the present chapter is to explain the basic framework of truthmaker or ‘exact’ semantics, an approach to semantics that has recently received a growing amount of interest, and then to discuss a number of different applications within philosophy and linguistics." (p. 556)

  23. ———. 2017. "Form." Journal of Philosophy no. 114:509-535.

    "This paper is a belated sequel to my paper on Cantorian abstraction.(1) In that paper, I attempted to defend Cantor’s account of cardinal numbers as sets of units, using a theory of arbitrary objects that I had previously developed to explain what the units were.(2) Of course, no one now adopts Cantor’s own account of cardinal number, preferring instead von Neumann’s elegant treatment of cardinal numbers as initial ordinals; this may have led some readers—or potential readers—of my earlier paper to dismiss it as being of purely scholarly interest. But as I had already mentioned in the paper on Cantorian abstraction, “the Cantorian theory can be extended to provide a more general theory of types—covering not merely the abstract formal types of mathematics but also the more concrete types of ordinary and scientific discourse” [p. 602]; in the present paper, I wish to consider the extension of the account to these other kinds of types (or what I now also wish to call forms )." (p. 509)

    (1) Kit Fine, “Cantorian Abstraction: A Reconstruction and Defense,” this journal, xcv, 12 (December 1998): 599–634.

    (2) Kit Fine, Reasoning with Arbitrary Objects (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986).

  24. ———. 2018. "Compliance and Command I, Categorical imperative." The Review of Symbolic Logic :1-25.

    "The main aim of this series of papers is to develop a truthmaker semantics for the logic of imperative and deontic sentences. The first part deals with categorical imperative sentences, the second with deontic sentences and their interplay with categorical imperative sentences, and the third part with the interplay between indicative, imperative and deontic sentences and with conditional imperative and deontic sentences in particular. It would be helpful, though not strictly necessary, to have some standard exposition of truthmaker semantics at hand (such as Fine [2015]). I have for the most part been content with informal exposition but the reader may consult the appendix for some technical detail." (p. 1)


    Fine K. [2015] ‘Angellic Content’, to appear in Journal of Philosophical Logic , I-28 (2015).

  25. ———. 2018. "Compliance and Command II, Imperatives and deontics." The Review of Symbolic Logic :1-25.

    "In this part of the paper, I am interested in providing a semantics and logic for deontic sentences and working out their connection with the previous semantics and logic for imperatives.


    The plan of the paper is as follows. I begin by making some distinctions and stipulations which will be useful in the rest of the paper (§1); I introduce and explain the key notion of a code of conduct, relative to which deontic formulas are to be be interpreted (§2); I give the clauses for when a deontic formula is true or false relative to a code of conduct (§3) and spell out some of the consequences of these clauses, especially in regard to the contrast with the standard possible worlds semantics for deontic logic (§4); I consider various ways of reformulating the criterion of validity for deontic formulas and point, in particular, to a very close connection between this criterion and the criterion of validity for imperative inference proposed in part I (§5); I consider some of the characteristic inferences that are or fail to be valid (§6) and outline a system of deontic logic within the truthmaker approach (§7); I show how one might deal with the problem of deontic updating within the truthmaker framework (§8); and I conclude with a brief formal appendix.

    I assume the reader is familiar with the basic material from part I, including the truthmaker semantics for imperatives and the definition of validity for imperative inference; and it would also be helpful for her to have some knowledge of the standard possible worlds semantics for deontic logic." (p. 1)

  26. ———. 2018. "The World of Truthmakers." In Being Necessary: Themes of Ontology and Modality from the Work of Bob Hale , edited by Fred-Rivera, Ivette and Leech, Jessica, 36-59. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

    "It is a common idea that the full resources of possible worlds semantics are not required to provide an intensional semantics for classical logic. For these purposes, one need only appeal to partial possibilities, or what I shall call ‘states’, as long as one is willing to modify the usual clauses for the connectives or the definition of validity or perhaps both.

    Humberstone (1981), Hale (2013), Rumfitt (2015), and Holliday (2015) are among those who have attempted to develop a semantics of this sort; and manifestations of the same idea are to be found within situation semantics and in the more recent work on inquisitive semantics. It is an approach to semantics to which I myself have been attracted, both in earlier unpublished work and in some recent work on ‘exact’ truthmaking; and, indeed, it was from the attempt to relate ‘exact’ truth-maker semantics to the other semantical approaches that the present work arose." (p. 36, notes omitted)


    Hale, B. (2013) Necessary Beings: An Essay on Modality and Ontology and the Relations between Them , Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Holliday, W. (2015) ‘Possibility Frames and Forcing for Modal Logic’, Working paper series at escholarship - University of California

    Humberstone, L. (1981) ‘From Worlds to Possibilities’, Journal of Philosophical Logic 10, 313–39.

    Rumfitt, I. (2015) ‘The Boundary Stones of Thought: An Essay in the Philosophy of Logic’, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  27. ———. 2018. "Ignorance of Ignorance." Synthese no. 19:4031-4045.

    Abstract: "I discuss the question of when knowledge of higher order ignorance is possible and show in particular that, under quite plausible assumptions, knowledge of second order ignorance is impossible."

  28. ———. 2019. "Verisimilitude and Truthmaking." Erkenntnis no. 86:1239-1276.

    Abstract: "I provide and defend a hyper-intensional account of verisimilitude within the truthmaker framework."

    "The main aim of this paper is to apply the recently developed framework of truthmaker semantics to the problem of verisimilitude, or likeness to the truth. Some important initial steps in this direction were taken by Gemes (2007); and some further steps have been taken by Yablo (2014, §6.7). My own thinking on the topic is somewhat different from theirs, however, both in its general conception of truthmaker semantics and in the specific application of the semantics to the concept of verisimilitude; and my hope is that these various accounts, when taken together, will go some way towards demonstrating the general fruitfulness of the approach." (p. 1239, a note omitted)


    Gemes, K. (2007). Verisimilitude and content. Synthese, 154(2), 293–306.

    Yablo, S. (2014). Aboutness. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

  29. Fine, Kit, and Jago, Mark. 2019. "Logic for Exact Entailment." The Review of Symbolic Logic no. 12:536-556.

    Abstract: "An exact truthmaker for A is a state which, as well as guaranteeing A ’s truth, is wholly relevant to it. States with parts irrelevant to whether A is true do not count as exact truthmakers for A.

    Giving semantics in this way produces a very unusual consequence relation, on which conjunctions do not entail their conjuncts. This feature makes the resulting logic highly unusual. In this paper, we set out formal semantics for exact truthmaking and characterise the resulting notion of entailment, showing that it is compact and decidable. We then investigate the effect of various restrictions on the semantics. We also formulate a sequent-style proof system for exact entailment and give soundness and completeness results."

  30. Fine, Kit. 2020. "The Identity of Social Groups." Metaphysics no. 3:81-91.

    "I am of the opinion, along with a number of other philosophers, that social groups and organizations are of the same general nature as material things: the differences, insofar as they exist, are intra- rather than extra-categorical. Thus if we wish to understand what it is to be a member of a group, or to understand how a group can change its members while remaining the same, or to understand how two groups can have the very same members, then the answers we should give will be essentially the same as the answers we should give to the questions as to what it is to be a constituent of a material thing, or how a material thing can change its constitution over time, or how two material things can have the very same material constitution.

    I have attempted to answer these questions in the case of material things in an earlier paper (Fine 1999). My view, roughly speaking, is that there are three basic operations by which material things may be formed from some underlying matter. One of these is the familiar operation of compounding or fusion, whereby two or more things may combine to form a sum. The other two operations are less familiar and their admission constitutes a fundamental departure from standard mereological doctrine. I call them rigid and variable embodiment. Rigid embodiment is an operation whereby various objects are combined into a whole whose component parts bear certain properties or stand in certain relations to one another. Thus the component parts are not merely fused but integrated into some kind of structured whole. Variable embodiment, on the other hand, is an operation whereby we may form an object that is manifested as different, more particular, objects at different times or in different counterfactual circumstances. The one operation accounts for the constitution of the object at a time, while the other accounts for the actual or possible changes in its constitution." (p. 81, notes omitted)

  31. ———. 2020. "Semantics." In The Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding , edited by Raven, Michael J., 501-509. New York: Routledge.

    "It has often been supposed that there need only be a modal connection between a truth-maker and the sentence it makes true or that the truth-maker need only be partially relevant to the sentence it makes true, so that the fact that it is raining and windy, for example, would then be a truth-maker for the sentence ‘it is raining or snowing’. It is therefore important to note that the notion of ground gives rise to a quite distinctive notion of truth-making, which requires not merely a modal connection but also a very strong relevant connection.

    Truth-making has been used for two quite distinct ends, one metaphysical and the other semantical. By attempting to discern the truth-makers of sentences, it has been thought that we might achieve a better understanding of the world via an understanding of what makes the sentences true and also that we might achieve a better understanding of language via an understanding of how the sentences are made true." (p. 502, note omitted)

  32. ———. 2020. "Yablo on subject-matter." Philosophical Studies no. 177:129-171.

    Abstract: "I discuss Yablo’s approach to truthmaker semantics and compare it with my own, with special focus on the idea of a proposition being true of or being restricted to some subject-matter, the idea of propositional containment, and the development of an ‘incremental’ semantics for the conditional. I conclude with some remarks on the relationship between truth-maker approach and the standard possible worlds approach to semantics."


    Yablo, S. (2014). Aboutness. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Yablo, S. (2016). Ifs, ands, and buts: An incremental truthmaker semantics for indicative conditionals. Analytic Philosophy , 57(1), 175–213.

    Yablo, S. (2018). Reply to Fine on aboutness. Philosophical Studies , 175(6), 1495–1512.

  33. ———. 2020. "Indeterminate Identity, Personal Identity and Fission." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 141-163. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "I have recently developed a new approach to vagueness and, in this chapter, I wish to show how this approach applies to ontic indeterminacy—or vagueness in the world.

    Although the supervaluational approach, which I previously endorsed in Fine (1975), is often associated with a representational conception of indeterminacy—vagueness in language or in thought, it is worth noting that I have always been sympathetic to the idea of ontic indeterminacy. Thus in footnote 10 of the earlier paper, I write “Philosophers have been unduly dismissive over intrinsically vague entities.” I am therefore especially pleased that the present approach is not only able to rehabilitate the ontic conception of indeterminacy but to rehabilitate it in such a way as to make it continuous with the more usual representational conception of indeterminacy.(1)" (p. 141)

    (1) For recent discussion of the general topic, the reader might like to consult the collection of essays in Akiba and Abasnezhad (2014).


    Akiba, K. and Abasnezhad A. (2014) “Vague Objects and Vague Identity,” Springer.

    Fine, K. (1975) “Vagueness, Truth and Logic,” Synthese 30 (April–May 1975): 265-300; reprinted in Vagueness: A Reader, ed. Keefe and Smith, 1997.

  34. ———. 2020. "Introduction." In Essence and Existence: Selected Essays by Bob Hale , edited by Leech, Jessica, 1-8. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "It is, of course, impossible in a brief introduction to do justice to the full range of his work.What I would like to do instead is to discuss the two papers in the volume that are on truthmaking—chapter 6 on truthmakers for universal statements and chapter 7 on truthmakers for modal statements—which continue a line of work he began in chapter 10 of Hale (2013a). Bob’s treatment of this topic is tentative and exploratory in character yet well worthy, in my opinion, of further study; and, even though the topic is one of many that I might have profitably discussed, I hope my discussion of it will help bring out the extraordinary combination of flair and level-headedness that runs through everything he writes." (p. 1)


    Chapter 6. What Makes True Universal Statements True? , pp. 104-123. (originally published as Bob Hale, ‘What makes true universal statements true?’ in: The Logica Yearbook 2017 , edited by Pavel Arazim and Tomáš

    Lávička, published by College Publications, 2018).

    Chapter 7. Exact Truthmakers, Modality, and Essence , pp. 124-140. (first edition in thiv volume).

    Hale, Bob. 2013a. Necessary Beings: An Essay on Ontology, Modality, and the Relations between them. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  35. ———. 2020. "Comments on Fred Kroon and Jonathan McKeown-Green’s “Ontology: What’s the (Real) Question?”." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 397-402. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "Kroon and McKeown-Green’s (K/M) chapter is a careful and thoughtful discussion of my views on a number of issues concerning the nature of ontology. These include: the connection between what I say on the topic in three different, though related, papers—“What is Metaphysics?” (WM), “The Question of Ontology” (QO), and “The Question of Realism” (QR); my objection that standard quantificational accounts are unable to do justice to full ontological commitment; and the concerns I have against skeptical forms of anti-realism which run counter to received nonphilosophical opinion. In what follows, I shall, for reasons of space, focus on the first two of these issues, although the third is of great interest and importance in its own right." (p. 397)

  36. ———. 2020. "Comment’s on Philip Percival’s “Beyond Reality?”." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 403-411. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "Percival is interested in what Kierland and Monton (2007: 487) call the “Reality Principle”:

    (RP) Reality consists, and only consists, in things and how things are.

    He is interested in two different ways in which the all-encompassing conception of reality suggested by this principle may be challenged. We may, on the one hand, wish to restrict reality to only some of the things or to only some of the ways in which things are. This is how my reality predicate from QO and my reality operator from QR work; they effect a division within things or within how things are. We may, on the other hand, wish to allow for something beyond the things or how things are and hence beyond reality itself if reality only consists in things and how things are. Percival considers a number of different ways in which each of these two restrictive conceptions of reality might play out and he considers a striking application of the second conception to the case of time: for under a certain restrictive version of presentism, one may wish to claim both that reality consists in present things or how things presently are and that the past is somehow beyond reality as so conceived.

    In what follows, I shall simply focus on the application of the second restrictive conception of reality to the case of time, since I think the framework suggested by my RT and TR may help in providing a proper formulation of the view." (p. 403)


    Kierland, B. and Monton, B. (2007) “Presentism and the Objection from Being-Supervenience,” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85(3): 485-97.


    QO = Question of Ontology

    QR = Question of Realism

    RT = The Reality of Tense

    TR = Tense and Reality (Chapter 8 of Modality and Tense )

  37. ———. 2020. "Comments on Joseph Almog’s “One Absolutely Infinite Universe to Rule Them All: Reverse Reflection, Reverse Metaphysics”." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 412-417. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "Joseph Almog’s chapter is a daring and dazzling investigation into the nature of the universe, situated within the grand tradition of absolutist metaphysics, but motivated more by the comparison of the absolute with the set-theoretic universe than with God. It is impossible for me to deal adequately with the deep and difficult issues which his chapter raises and so I hope I may be forgiven if I focus on a few remarks he makes in his Appendix on “the Nature versus Concept/Essence of BO and {BO}.”

    Some of my comments are relatively minor and serve simply to clear up possible misunderstandings of my position, but others raise substantive and neglected issues concerning the possible “absolutist” source of necessary truth." (p. 412)

  38. ———. 2020. "Comments on Alasdair Urquhart’s “Fine on Arbitrary Objects”." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 418-422. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "Alasdair Urquhart’s chapter is a wonderful mix of observations on the theory of arbitrary objects, ranging over a number of historical, logical, and philosophical aspects of the theory. I was especially interested in what he had to say about the evolving conception of variables in the history of mathematics and, in the light of my own previous somewhat casual remarks on the topic, I would now like to follow up on his discussion." (p. 418)

  39. ———. 2020. "Comments on Gabriel Sandu’s “Indefinites, Skolem Functions, and Arbitrary Objects." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 423-428. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "The main focus of my monograph Reasoning with Arbitrary Objects (Fine 1985) was on the application of arbitrary objects to systems of natural deduction. But as Sandu points out, I also thought that appeal to arbitrary objects “would be useful for the semantic analysis of both mathematical and ordinary language.” Although I spent a great deal of effort at the time in working on these further applications, I did not write up my work. I therefore hope it may be helpful if I say a little more on how I intended these applications to proceed. However, I should warn the reader that my thoughts on the topic are still somewhat tentative and underdeveloped and that I have here made no attempt to defend the position or to compare it with any of the many other competing views on the topic." (p. 423)

  40. ———. 2020. "Comments on Kathrin Koslicki’s “Essence and Identity”." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 429-434. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "Kathrin Koslicki’s chapter is a wonderfully bold and innovative attack on the question of crossworld-identity: Quine thought Aristotelian essentialism was the problem; and she takes Aristotelian hylomorphism to be the solution." (p. 429)

  41. ———. 2020. "Comments on Graeme Forbes’s “Fine’s New Semantics of Vagueness”." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 435-443. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "Graeme Forbes is well known for his advocacy of a degree-theoretic approach to vagueness, especially in application to questions of identity; and I am grateful to him for casting his expert and critical eye over my own, very different, approach." (p. 435)

  42. ———. 2020. "Comments on Steven T. Kuhn’s “Necessary, Transcendental, and Universal Truth”." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 444-449. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "I should begin with an apology. In my paper “Necessity and Non-existence” (NN), I made no reference to the importantly related work of Prior in appendix C of Prior 1957 and to the importantly related work of Steven Kuhn in his superb thesis (Kuhn 1977). The oversight was doubly unfortunate in that Prior was my mentor and Kuhn my student; and my only excuse is that, in the haste to prepare my own paper for publication, I failed to take proper heed to the previous literature, even when it was already known to me.

    In NN, I attempted to argue for a distinction between worldly and unworldly sentences, analogous to the distinction between tensed and tenseless sentences. Kuhn is willing to accept the distinction, but he does not like my argument for the distinction and thinks that I mischaracterize the connection between the necessary and the unworldly." (p. 444)


    Kuhn, Steven. 1977. Many-sorted Modal Logics (Vols I and II). Uppsala, Sweden: Filosofiska föreningen.

    Prior, Arthur. 1957. Time and Modality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  43. ———. 2020. "Comments on Gideon Rosen’s “What is Normative Necessity?”." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 450-455. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "Gideon Rosen supports the central theses of “Varieties of Necessity” (VN) concerning the distinction between metaphysical and normative necessity and the proper formulation of moral supervenience; and he takes the defense of these theses much further than I did in my own paper and makes the case for them especially vivid and compelling. I was especially impressed by his attempt to find out what might lie behind the distinction between metaphysical and normative necessity and the doctrine of supervenience and to show how the resulting metaphysical view might have significant implications for the epistemology of moral belief.

    In what follows, I would like to draw a further distinction and to work through some of the consequences of this distinction for various of the issues that Rosen raises. Some of the points I make in this regard may be familiar, though not the general context in which they are made." (p. 450)

  44. ———. 2020. "Comments on Bob Hale’s “The Problem of de re Modality”." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 456-460. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "There is a great deal in Hale’s chapter which I admire and with which I agree. In particular, I would go along with him in drawing a distinction between the syntactic and semantic de re , in finding no reasonable basis for modality de re within a linguistic conception of modality, and in diagnosing where Quines’s argument (or what I would call his “logical” argument) goes wrong. However, in typical philosophical fashion, I shall focus on two points of disagreement, one concerning the problem of accounting for the de re form of modality within the linguistic conception, and the other concerning whether Quine should be regarded as having one or two arguments against quantifying into modal contexts." (p. 456)

  45. ———. 2020. "Comments on Penelope Mackie’s “Can Metaphysical Modality Be Based on Essence?”." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 461-465. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "Penelope Mackie’s chapter raises a serious challenge to the essentialist account of modality." (p. 461)

    "I would like to think that in a properly systematic account of first-order metaphysical enquiry we could simply take the notion of necessitist essence as primitive and that nothing would be thereby lost, and something even gained, by defining the other notions in terms of it in the way I have explained. But I have to admit that, for certain—perhaps quite limited—purposes, this point of view may be unduly restrictive and that we should therefore be open to there being independently given notions of neutral essence or metaphysical necessity." (p. 465)

  46. ———. 2020. "Comments on Fabrice Correia’s “More on the Reduction of Necessity to Essence”." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 466-470. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "I have long admired Fabrice Correia’s work on the conceptual foundations of metaphysics and his present chapter is a characteristically judicious and original contribution to the subject.

    He is principally concerned with certain reductive theses that I propounded in “Essence and Modality” (EM; 1994). These are that a metaphysical necessity is a proposition true in virtue of the nature of all objects, that a conceptual necessity is a proposition true in virtue of the nature of all concepts, and that a logical necessity is a proposition true in virtue of the nature of all logical concepts. Given that there are different notions of what it is for a proposition to be true in virtue of the nature of some objects, Correia’s interest is in what notion or notions of this sort might underwrite these various reductive claims and, to this end, he is prepared in principle to relinquish any other desiderata one might wish to impose upon these notions." (p. 466)

  47. ———. 2020. "Comments on Jessica Wilson’s “Essence and Dependence”." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 471-475. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "Jessica Wilson’s paper is a wonderfully sympathetic account of my general approach to metaphysics; and there is a special satisfaction to be had in being, not merely understood, but understood so well.


    But her paper is not all praise. For she wishes to criticize my account of ontological dependence in terms of essence - perhaps as part of a larger critique of the use of a general notion of dependence in etaphysics (§ 4). In a number of papers, I have suggested that an object x will depend upon an object y if and only y figures in the essence of x, i.e., if and only if, in giving an account of what x is, reference must be made

    y. But she thinks that this equivalencemay fail in the right to left direction, that an object y may figure in the essence of x without x depending upon y (she may be perfectly happy with the left to right direction, though this is not something that she discusses)." (p. 471)

  48. ———. 2020. "Comments on Scott Shalkowski’s “Essence and Nominalism”." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 476-481. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "Scott Shalkowski and I share a distaste for the ontological extravagance of modal realism and it is a delight to read him write with such eloquence and passion on the need for “sober metaphysics.”

    However, there is a point on which we appear to disagree and this has to do with the formulation and defense of nominalism; and it will perhaps help to illuminate the general doctrines of QR and QO by drawing out the contrast between our different views in this particular case." (p. 476)


    QR = Question of Realism

    QU = Question of Ontology

  49. ———. 2020. "Comments on Robert Goldblatt’s “Fine’s Theorem on First-Order Complete Modal Logics”." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 482-484. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "I am grateful to Robert Goldblatt for his lucid and masterly chapter on “canonicity” in modal logic.


    I have nothing of a technical interest to add to what Goldblatt writes, but I did think that it might be helpful to say something more about the context in which I pursued some of these early enquiries into the mathematical foundations of modal logic. There is no doubt that the Lemmon Scott notes served as a great stimulus to those of us who were working in the area. Kripke’s original completeness proofs in terms of semantic tableaux were inelegant and unwieldy (as pointed out by Kaplan in his review; 1966), and the Lemmon Scott method of canonical models held out the hope of providing a simple and uniform method of proving completeness for a wide range of modal logics." (p. 482)


    Kaplan,David (1966). “Review: Saul A. Kripke, Semantical Analysis of Modal Logic I. Normal Modal Propositional Calculi”. In: The Journal of Symbolic Logic 31.1, pp. 120–122.

  50. ———. 2020. "Comments on Gary Ostertag’s “Fine on Frege’s Puzzle”." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 485-490. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "Gary Ostertag’s chapter is an intriguing and probing investigation into the concept of coordination, or de jure co-reference, in which he is concerned not only to criticize the views on coordination which I presented in “Semantic Relationism” (SR) but also to develop a view of his own, one in which coordination is not a feature of what we say, but of how we say it.

    There are perhaps two main points on which Ostertag takes us to disagree: one concerns whether coordination is syntactic in nature; and the other concerns whether a coordinated sentence expresses a oordinated, as opposed to an uncoordinated, proposition. However, as I read through his chapter, it was hard for me to get a firm sense of where our disagreement lay; and I was inclined to think, at the end of the day, that there was perhaps no real disagreement between us at all." (p. 485)

  51. ———. 2020. "Comments on Paolo Bonardi’s “Coordination, Understanding, and Semantic Requirements”." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 491-495. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "Paolo Bonardi has written extensively and illuminatingly on direct reference theory, and I am grateful for his present comments on the conceptual foundations of semantic relationism.

    Central to the doctrine of semantic relationism is the relation of coordination.


    As I mention in Semantic Relationism (p. 40), “other philosophers can acknowledge the phenomenon [of coordination]”; and, indeed, I think that any reasonable view should recognize the distinction between the two kinds of co-reference. What is distinctive about semantic relationism is that the phenomenon of coordination is taken to be both semantic (as opposed to syntactic) and essentially relational (as opposed to supervening on the intrinsic meanings of the individual terms)." (p. 491)

  52. ———. 2020. "Comments on Friederike Moltmann’s “Variable Objects and Truth-Making”." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine , edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 496-502. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "The present paper is a characteristically rich, original and thought-provoking contribution to the subject; and I am afraid that I can do no more than pick my way through one or two of the many interesting issues that she raises. However, any criticisms I make on this score should not be seen to detract from my broad agreement with much of what she says." (p. 496, a note omitted)

  53. ———. 2021. "Constructing the Impossible." In Conditionals, Paradox, and Probability: Themes from the Philosophy of Dorothy Edgington , edited by Walters, Lee and Hawthorne, John, 141-163. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "In recent years, I have been working on a version of situation semantics - one might call it ‘truthmaker semantics’—which is meant to provide an alternative to possible worlds semantics. One of the things that has struck me about this alternative semantics is how easily it is able to accommodate the impossible. Rather than being an artificial addition to the possibilist semantics, the impossible emerges as a natural —one might almost say inevitable — extension of the possible, in much the same way in which the system of real numbers emerges as a natural extension of the rational number system or the system of complex numbers emerges as a natural extension of the real number system. It is the aim of this paper to show how this is so; and, if I am successful, then this will constitute an argument for the admission of the impossible into semantics—something which I myself have been slow to appreciate — but also for truthmaker semantics itself as a viable and valuable alternative to the possible worlds approach.

    I begin with an exposition of a standard approach to truthmaker semantics, using possible states in place of possible worlds (Section 9.1). I go on to describe a key construction, analogous to the extension of the rationals to the reals, for extending a space of possible states to one that also contains impossible states (Section 9.2). This has a number of advantages — mathematically and in theory and application — over the more usual approaches (Section 9.3-9.4). I then describe another construction, somewhat analogous to the extension of the reals to the complex numbers, which provides further resources for countenancing the impossible and further applications (Section 9.5).

    I conclude with a lengthy formal appendix." (pp. 143-144)

  54. ———. 2021. "Truthmaking and the is–ought gap." Synthese no. 198:887–914.

    Abstract: "This paper is an attempt to apply the truthmaker approach, recently developed by a number of authors, to the problem of providing an adequate formulation of the is–ought gap. I begin by setting up the problem and criticizing some other accounts of how the problem should be stated; I then introduce the basic apparatus of truth-making and show how it may be extended to include both descriptive and normative truth-makers; I next consider how the gap principle should be formulated, attempting to deal as systematically as possible with the ‘harmless’ counter-examples; I also consider the relationship between the gap principle and various other doctrines concerning the separation between the normative and descriptive realms; and I conclude this part of the paper with some general remarks in favor of adopting the truth-maker approach over some of the alternative approaches. The paper concludes with a formal appendix, which gives precise expression to some of claims made in the previous informal part of the paper."

  55. ———. 2021. "Some Remarks on the Role of Essence in Kripke's “Naming and Necessity”." Theoria :1-3.

    First on line.

    Abstract: discuss the use Kripke makes of the concept of essence in "Naming and Necessity"."

    "So much has already been written about Naming and Necessity; and all that I would like to do in what follows is to make a few brief remarks about the relationship between the notions of essence and de re necessity in that work. Now, it might be thought that these remarks could be very brief indeed." (p. 1)

  56. ———. 2021. "Critical Notice. The Metaphysics and Mathematics of Arbitrary Objects, by Leon Horsten. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019." Mind :1-16.

    First online.

    "This book is an attempt to develop a metaphysical and mathematical account of arbitrary objects. It is focused on two main applications: structuralism in the philosophy of mathematics; and the concept of a random variable in probability theory. However, the book deals with a host of other topics along the way.


    "Clearly, I cannot deal with all of these topics in a single review.(1)

    But what I would like to do is to focus on certain central issues over which there is room for reasonable disagreement, even for those of us who are already willing to accept arbitrary objects." (pp. 1-2)

    (1) hope to deal with some of these topics, and especially the issue of how the theory of arbitrary objects should be axiomatized, in a new introduction to the re-issue of ‘Reasoning with Arbitrary Objects’ (Fine (1985)), to be published by OUP.

  57. Fine, Kit, Boghossian, Paul, and Peacocke, Christopher. 2021. "The Live Concert Experience: Its Nature and Value." In Classical Music , 7-13. Open Edition Books.

    "Virgil Thomson, the composer and music critic, wrote thatwe never enjoy a recorded performance in the same way aswe enjoy a live performance (2014: 251). The same applies to live performance in the theatre and to attendance at a sports event, as opposed to seeing a performance or game on DVD or a TV recording. This difference is of great value to us. But why?" (p. 8)


    Thomson, Virgil. 2014. “Processed Music”, in Music Chronicles 1940-1954 , ed. by T. Page (New York: Library of America, Penguin Random House), pp. 249–252.

  58. Fine, Kit. 2022. "Some Remarks on Bolzano on Ground." In Bolzano's Philosophy of Grounding: Translations and Studies , edited by Roski, Stefan and Schnieder, Benjamin, 276-300. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "When I developed my own ideas on ground in the 1990s I was oblivious to Bolzano's work on the topic in his Theory of Science (henceforth WL ). It was almost a couple of decades later that I became aware of his work and I was then astonished both by its level of sophistication and by the extent to which he had anticipated many of our contemporary concerns. Although the topic has had a long history, going all the way back to the ancients, there is little doubt in my mind that Bolzano deserves a special place as the first person to embark upon a systematic study of the topic; and I believe his contributions in this area to be as great an intellectual achievement, in their own way, as his contributions to logic or real analysis." (p. 276, a note omitted)

  59. ———. 2022. "Some Remarks on Poppers’ Qualitative Account of Verisimilitude." Erkenntnis no. 87:213-236.

    Abstract: "The paper sets up a general framework for defining the notion of verisimilitude.

    Popper’s own account of verisimilitude is then located within this framework; and his account is defended on the grounds that it can be seen to provide a reasonable structural or Pareto criterion, rather than a substantive criterion, of verisimilitude.

    Some other criteria of verisimilitude that may be located within the framework are also considered and their relative merits compared."