Kit Fine has since the 1970s been one of the leading contributors to work at the intersection of logic and metaphysics. This is his eagerly-awaited first book in the area. It draws together a series of essays, three of them previously unpublished, on possibility, necessity, and tense. These puzzling aspects of the way the world is have been the focus of considerable philosophical attention in recent decades. Fine gives here the definitive exposition and defence of certain positions for which he is well known: the intelligibility of modality de re; the primitiveness of the modal; and the primacy of the actual over the possible. But the book also argues for several positions that are not so familiar: the existence of distinctive forms of natural and normative necessity, not reducible to any form of metaphysical necessity; the need to make a distinction between the worldly and the unworldly, analogous to the distinction between the tensed and the tenseless; and the viability of a non-standard form of realism about tense, which recognizes the tensed character of reality without conceding that there is any privileged standpoint from which it is to be viewed.
Modality and Tense covers a wide range of topics from many different areas: the possible-worlds analysis of counterfactuals; the compatibility of special relativity with presentism; the implications of ethical naturalism; and the nature of first-personal experience. A helpful introduction orients the reader and offers a way into some of the most original work in contemporary philosophy.