only one factual premise: that there exists a contingent fact. For example, suppose there is an odd number of molecules in my pencil at the present moment: surely there could have been an even number.
A contingent fact is one that is actual but could have been non-actual, where the relevant notion of possibility is that of broadly metaphysical possibility.
By axiom 2, it follows that if there are any wholly contingent facts, then any fact overlaps C if, and only if, that fact overlaps some wholly contingent fact.
A proposition is a picture of reality, and the reality depicted by meaningful propositions is a realm of contingent facts. The doctrine that "there is no compulsion making one thing happen because another has happened" has, for Wittgenstein, important implications for ethics.(6)
Wittgenstein's point would seem to be that viewing the world as a limited totality is analogous to viewing it as an aesthetic object, in that contingent facts acquire a meaning, and a kind of necessity, relative to the whole.
Given this, it seems perfectly natural to wonder what it is about how things are, or were, that explains these contingent facts
Even if both types of nonexistence are equally bad, certain contingent facts
about our postmortem nonexistence provide reason for the badness of early deaths to be more frequently salient than the badness of late conceptions.
Holism will be established on the basis of whether it is successful in accounting for other contingent facts
, not if it can be proven as a metaphysical necessity or by a priori argument (pace pp.
Here O'Connor argues, essentially following Aquinas, that the only answer to such questions, the only complete answer, is to be found in an ultimate necessity, indeed a necessary being, whose essence is to be: "If there is to be an ultimate, or complete, explanation, it will have to ground in some way the most fundamental, contingent facts
of the universe in a necessary being, something which has the reason for its existence within its own nature." Thus, guided by the heuristic question of contingency, following O'Connor as a kind of philosophical Virgil, we are led from modal logic to metaphysics to natural theology, which is the subject of the second part of the book.
Interpretations, however, are never true--at least in this sense--because they merely express the values of the interpreter, which depend on contingent facts
about him, such as his personal history and the attitudes of his community.
It is argued that, ironically, contingent facts
about the temporal properties of consciousness are very difficult to square with presentism unless some form of mind--body dualism is embraced.
In other words, if one were to list all the intrinsic denominations of simple substances (contained in their complete individual concepts), there would be no other contingent facts
about the relations between the simple substances beyond what would follow from those intrinsic denominations.