Start reading The Nature of Necessity on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

The Nature of Necessity (Clarendon Library of Logic & Philosophy) [Kindle Edition]

Alvin Plantinga
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $49.99 What's this?
Print List Price: $50.00
Kindle Price: $39.99
You Save: $10.01 (20%)

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $37.49  
Kindle Edition, March 15, 1979 $39.99  
Hardcover --  
Paperback $43.09  
Unknown Binding --  

Book Description

This book, one of the first full-length studies of the modalities to emerge from the debate to which Saul Kripke, David Lewis, Ruth Marcus, and others are contributing, is an exploration and defense of the notion of modality de re, the idea that objects have both essential and accidental properties. Plantinga develops his argument by means of the notion of possible worlds and ranges over such key problems as the nature of essence, transworld identity, negative existential propositions, and the existence of unactual objects in other possible worlds. He also applies his logical theories to the elucidation of two problems in the philosophy of religion: the problem of evil and the ontological argument.

Editorial Reviews


"Interesting and original."--Times Higher Education Supplement

About the Author

Alvin Plantinga is at University of Notre Dame.

Product Details

  • File Size: 476 KB
  • Print Length: 266 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0198244142
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; Reissue edition (March 15, 1979)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0041OTAGG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,162,896 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enduring classic January 30, 2001
Plantinga's Nature of Necessity is a philosophical masterpiece. Although there are a number of good books in analytic philosophy dealing with modality (the concepts of necessity and possibility), this one is of sufficient clarity and breadth that even non-philosophers will benefit from it.
Modal logic may seem like a fairly arcane subject to outsiders, but this book exhibits both its intrinsic interest and its general importance. If you think there are good and bad arguments, conclusions that follow from some premises but not others, then you ought to be concerned with modal logic. If you're interested in the problem of evil and the ontological argument for the existence of God, you should read this book.
The Nature of Necessity has the added virtue that it maps most peoples' modal intuitions quite well (unlike some modal theories). Perhaps it is for this reason that certain philosophers treat the book a bit snippishly. I've read the book a half a dozen times; and I'll probably read it a few more times before it's all said and done.
Was this review helpful to you?
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The classic work on the metaphysics of modality. July 19, 1997
By A Customer
Perhaps Peter van Inwagen put it best when he called this book a "treasure trove." Plantinga's _The Nature of Necessity_ contains deep and sophisticated work on some of most important and interesting issues in metaphysics: de re modality, the nature of essences and possible worlds, nonexistent objects, and the Ontological Argument. As far as this reviewer is concerned, Plantinga's work stands as one of the greatest works of metaphysics of *all time*. I cannot recommend it highly enough
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Alvin Plantinga employs Quantified Modal Logic to provide insights into the Ontological Argument, the Problem of Evil and other problems in contemporary philosophical theology. A difficult book, but written with enormous clarity, power and wit. This is one of the best books I've ever read on any subject whatever
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece in Modal Logic January 6, 2012
By Cornell
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is STILL Alvin Plantinga's most impressive book to date.

A philosophical masterpiece that excels in modal logic.

Plantinga does a great job with his version of the Ontological Argument. In perfect being theology, God is defined as "A Maximally Great Being" which means that God possesses all great-making, properties such as love, knowledge, and power, and possesses each in a maximal way.

Alvin Plantinga swings around Kant's object by showing how necessity is a property, and that Existence is not. Necessity does not entail existence. Necessity just means that if something exists, it exists in all possible worlds. Numbers have this property.

It is perfectly within the laws of modal logic for a property (which is not a perfection) to entail its negation.

While the Ontological Argument from Anselm has been restored by the likes of Stephen T Davis, now it clearly shows that the Ontological Argument is indeed the most powerful argument for God's existence. While the layman will have a lot of trouble understanding why, this does nothing to the argument itself.

Robert Maydole speaks about this book a lot in his writings of the Modal Perfection Argument, and rightly so. This book should is NECESSARY for everyone who is into philosophical theology.
Was this review helpful to you?
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars valuable and not at all wrong, but importantly incomplete September 27, 2006
Plantinga's aim at the outset of this book is to defend the notion of de re (of objects) necessity against those (most notably Quine) who contend that all necessity is de dicto (of words). His strategy is not unlike that of his apologetics-style work in philosophy of religion such as _Warranted Christian Belief_ (25 years later!) in that he takes the more limited tack of meeting opposing arguments rather than positively establishing his own considered position. As in _WCB_, in _NN_ it is the de jure question of "is this not on all fours" rather than the de facto "is it true".

In the matter of Christian faith, this is a more or less fruitful and appropriate _philosophical_ route to take (since the de facto question in this case would be one that properly goes beyond human reason and philosophy), but in the case of this book it makes for an incomplete study, to my mind, of a topic that is philosophically important through-and-through. Plantinga gives no clue as to how we would actually _find out_ what the essential and what the accidental properties of a thing are, and the ongoing implicit assumption at work seems to be that our untutored intuitions are entirely reliable in this capacity. Plantinga's own approach does nothing to stave off any suspicions that his own procedure for picking out some properties as essential and other as accidental is any less "invidious" than Quine thought. For example, the favored example of an accidental property is Socrates as "snubnosed," but how is this to be played out? Assuming Socrates' snubnosedness is hereditary and not the result of an unfortunate encounter with a wall, it must be taken to be possible that Socrates' genetic makeup be different than it was.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category