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Stern, Johannes (2014): Montague’s Theorem and Modal Logic. In: Erkenntnis, Vol. 79, No. 3: pp. 551-570
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In the present piece we defend predicate approaches to modality, that is approaches that conceive of modal notions as predicates applicable to names of sentences or propositions, against the challenges raised by Montague’s theorem. Montague’s theorem is often taken to show that the most intuitive modal principles lead to paradox if we conceive of the modal notion as a predicate. Following Schweizer (J Philos Logic 21:1–31, 1992) and others we show this interpretation of Montague’s theorem to be unwarranted unless a further non trivial assumption is made—an assumption which should not be taken as a given. We then move on to showing, elaborating on work of Gupta (J Philos Logic 11:1–60, 1982), Asher and Kamp (Properties, types, and meaning. Vol. I: foundational issues, Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 85−158, 1989), and Schweizer (J Philos Logic 21:1–31, 1992), that the unrestricted modal principles can be upheld within the predicate approach and that the predicate approach is an adequate approach to modality from the perspective of modal operator logic. To this end we develop a possible world semantics for multiple modal predicates and show that for a wide class of multimodal operator logics we may find a suitable class of models of the predicate approach which satisfies, modulo translation, precisely the theorems of the modal operator logic at stake.