Volume 4, Issue 2, 2012
What is more puzzling, real essences or the world of undifferentiated stuff?
Conventionalists about modality deny that the world has a modal structure. Metaphysical necessity is not a real feature of the world, but a linguistic necessity grounded in conventions governing our use of words. In this paper, I focus on Allan Sidelle’s conventionalist account and especially on his claim that the idea of real necessity should be abandoned since it is puzzling. My strategy for the defense of the realist notion of modality is twofold. First, the ontology of undifferentiated stuff, which underlies his conventionalist account, is itself very puzzling and in need of further defense. Second, the alleged problems of the realist interpretation are based on an empiricist view of the world.