ABSTRACT. Although it’s widely recognized that our concepts can differ in grainedness, the corollary question of whether objects can differ in grainedness has been little discussed. My focus in this paper will be on the modal grainedness of physical objects. Intuitively, the more fine-grained something is, the more detail it contains. My objective in this paper is to explore the feasibility of modally coarse-grained objects, i.e. of objects which are such that, for each modal property M, the object neither has nor lacks the property. In section I, I examine whether nonmodal objects are ruled out by logic. In section II, I examine the connection between nonmodal objects and indeterminacy. In section III, I note that the default position in the ordinary object literature is that ordinary objects are modally fine-grained and I examine some difficulties this gives rise to. In section IV, I argue that nonmodal objects can do all the philosophical work standardly attributed to modally fine-grained objects. I conclude, in section V, by noting that, despite the preference of most metaphysicians for modally fine-grained objects, there is some precedence for taking us to inhabit a world of nonmodal objects.

Keywords: ordinary objects; modality; fine-grained v. course-grained; indeterminacy; empiricism; modal logic

How to cite: Goswick, Dana (2018). “Ordinary Objects Are Nonmodal Objects,” Analysis and Metaphysics 17: 22–37.

Received 19 August 2017 • Received in revised form 26 October 2017
Accepted 27 October 2017 • Available online 19 November 2017


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