Customer Reviews


9 Reviews
5 star:
 (7)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enduring classic
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...
Published on January 30, 2001 by Jay W. Richards

versus
24 of 127 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing
I am always amazed at how overwhelmingly positive the reception of Alvin's book has been. When sycophantic readers describe this book as one of the greatest works of metaphysics of 'all time' (see above), I take personal effront. Granted, Alvin is a kind and witty man, but his treatment of de re modality and possible worlds theory leaves much to be desired--however...
Published on June 9, 1999


Most Helpful First | Newest First

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enduring classic, January 30, 2001
This review is from: The Nature of Necessity (Clarendon Library of Logic & Philosophy) (Paperback)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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
This review is from: The Nature of Necessity (Clarendon Library of Logic & Philosophy) (Paperback)
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
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern classic by an exceptionally gifted philosopher., June 6, 1996
By A Customer
This review is from: The Nature of Necessity (Clarendon Library of Logic & Philosophy) (Paperback)
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
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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
By 
Micah Newman (Stephenville, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Nature of Necessity (Clarendon Library of Logic & Philosophy) (Paperback)
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. If that is granted (instead of saying, as I would, that counterfactual genetic difference in Socrates would have made for a person other than Socrates himself), then there's no bar to almost any feature of Socrates one would care to name coming out accidental, except the stipulation that he be "Socrates" (the referent of the proper name, in actual fact). Indeed, Plantinga actually takes seriously and even countenances the possibility of a reptilian Socrates! (Presumably, Plantinga would take the "conceivability" of Socrates as an alligator to be an argument for dualism--to anyone who thinks that, I direct you straight to Mark Johnston's "Human Beings"--but I'm getting off topic.)

That said, there is a lot of valuable work done here on the structure of modality de dicto and de re, from Plantinga's "kernel function" of expressing de re modal ascriptions in terms of the de dicto, through the nature of essence, worlds, "books," and so forth. One interesting quirk is that Plantinga seems to think the accessibility relation has some heuristic value for describing epistemic relations, but has no objective reality. This is a bit contentious, really, and he does not acknowledge other views on the subject. For that matter, this book is not at all a treatise on modal logic per se: you'll get no explorations of the various systems, S4, S5, etc., and their metaphysical implications to the system presented here. There are a lot of good points made about David Lewis's counterpart theory (the one rival to the "received" modal metaphysics Plantinga expounds on here), though, and some devastating criticisms of it on semantic grounds, especially.

The last few chapters see an application of the foregoing to some important topics in philosophical theology, and the results are a valuable resource for students of these topics. Plantinga's exploration of versions of the Ontological Argument I found especially interesting. The appendix examines, in somewhat greater detail than in the body of the book, various views on de re modality, and it's helpful to those who may want to look at the issue carefully.

This is one of the more difficult and technical philosophy works that I've read, but I found it (yes, you guessed it) valuable and helpful.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece in Modal Logic, January 6, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Nature of Necessity (Clarendon Library of Logic & Philosophy) (Paperback)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent application of Modal Logic to traditional problems, June 20, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: The Nature of Necessity (Clarendon Library of Logic & Philosophy) (Paperback)
Plantinga always amazes me with both the subtlety and clarity of his thought. His application of abstract logical theory to traditional philisophical problems is inspired and inspiring, opening up some new avenues of thought in places we believed too travel-worn to bother with
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Admirable Exploration., February 11, 2013
By 
James Hawkins (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Nature of Necessity (Clarendon Library of Logic & Philosophy) (Paperback)
Powerfully defends the case for synthetic necessary truths. And yet another analysis of the perennial ontological argument is exceptionally refined and convincingly demonstrates that most standard "refutations" simplistically miss the point. Though dense at places these discussions are never deliberately obscure. The reasoning, in fact, is unusually naked for philosophic writing, by which I mean that I sense no attempt to conceal difficulties or sidetrack potential objections. Whether sympathetic with the conclusions or not one should admire this sort of intellectual honesty.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Study, July 17, 2012
By 
Charles E. Greer (Temple, Texas, US) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Nature of Necessity (Clarendon Library of Logic & Philosophy) (Paperback)
Alvin Plantinga does his work as usual - clear, indepth and concise writting. Much in argument form. Plantinga is tops when it comes to Philosophy. He has set the direction for thinking for man - His argument on free-will is outstanding.EG
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


24 of 127 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, June 9, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Nature of Necessity (Clarendon Library of Logic & Philosophy) (Paperback)
I am always amazed at how overwhelmingly positive the reception of Alvin's book has been. When sycophantic readers describe this book as one of the greatest works of metaphysics of 'all time' (see above), I take personal effront. Granted, Alvin is a kind and witty man, but his treatment of de re modality and possible worlds theory leaves much to be desired--however 'funny' that treatment may be. Alvin is clear, to be sure--clearly wrong. Nevertheless, as a colleague and friend, I am both professionally and personally obliged to recommend this book unreservedly. I would strongly advise you spend your time reading 'counterfactuals' instead, but, alas, this book is now out of print. Then again, if we are to believe Al, this is just a modal accident.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Nature of Necessity (Clarendon Library of Logic & Philosophy)
The Nature of Necessity (Clarendon Library of Logic & Philosophy) by Alvin Plantinga (Paperback - March 15, 1979)
$50.00 $42.03
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.