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  1. There is no actual problem of other minds.Benjamin Nelson - manuscript
    I shall argue that you can substantially refute the most persuasive variety of solipsism by taking its most plausible version seriously, and then showing that it is not rational to hold, once one understands the nature of actualist metaphysical commitments.1 In the first section, I argue that the only viable form of solipsism involves de dicto self-reference. In the second, I argue that this position involves a claim of contingent identity, for which some actual worlds are those where solipsism is (...)
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  2. Serious Actualism, Typography, and Incompossible Sentences.Christopher James Masterman - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-18.
    Serious actualists take it that all properties are existence entailing. I present a simple puzzle about sentence tokens which seems to show that serious actualism is false. I then consider the most promising response to the puzzle. This is the idea that the serious actualist should take ordinary property-talk to contain an implicit existential presupposition. I argue that this approach does not work: it fails to generalise appropriately to all sentence types and tokens. In particular, it fails to capture the (...)
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  3. The once and always possible.Kory Matteoli - 2024 - Synthese 203 (28):1-32.
    In Death and Nonexistence, Palle Yourgrau defends what he calls the principle of Prior Possibility: nothing comes to exist unless it was previously possible that it exists. While this seems like a plausible principle, it’s not strong enough; it allows the impossible to come to exist. I argue for a stronger principle: nothing exists unless its existence has always been possible. Further, I argue that we then have reason to accept a surprising result: nothing exists unless its existence is always (...)
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  4. Metaphysics of Ersatzism about Possible Worlds.Lenart Karol - 2023 - Dissertation, Jagiellonian University
    According to actualism about possible worlds everything that exists is actual. Possible worlds and individuals are actually existing abstract parts of the actual world. Aristotelian actualism is a view that there are only actual individuals but no possible ones, nor their individual abstract representatives. Because of that, our actualist account of modality should differ depending on whether it concerns actual individuals or possible ones. The main goal of the dissertation is to develop a metaphysical framework for Aristotelian actualism. Chapter 1 (...)
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  5. Possibility Precedes Actuality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (8):3583-3603.
    This paper is inspired by and develops on E. J. Lowe’s work, who writes in his book The Possibility of Metaphysics that ‘metaphysical possibility is an inescapable determinant of actuality’ (1998: 9). Metaphysics deals with possibilities – metaphysical possibilities – but is not able to determine what is actual without the help of empirical research. Accordingly, a delimitation of the space of possibilities is required. The resulting – controversial – picture is that we generally need to know whether something is (...)
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  6. Whence deep realism for Everettian quantum mechanics?Raoni Wohnrath Arroyo & Jonas R. Becker Arenhart - 2022 - Foundations of Physics 52 (6):121.
    ‘Shallow’ and ‘deep’ versions of scientific realism may be distinguished as follows: the shallow realist is satisfied with belief in the existence of the posits of our best scientific theories; by contrast, deep realists claim that realism can be legitimate only if such entities are described in metaphysical terms. We argue that this methodological discussion can be fruitfully applied in Everettian quantum mechanics, specifically on the debate concerning the existence of worlds and the recent dispute between Everettian actualism and quantum (...)
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  7. Ontological Pluralism and the Generic Conception of Being.Byron Simmons - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (3):1275-1293.
    Ontological pluralism is the view that there are different fundamental ways of being. Trenton Merricks has recently raised three objections to combining pluralism with a generic way of being enjoyed by absolutely everything there is: first, that the resulting view contradicts the pluralist’s core intuition; second, that it is especially vulnerable to the charge—due to Peter van Inwagen—that it posits a difference in being where there is simply a difference in kind; and, third, that it is in tension with various (...)
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  8. Level theory, part 2: Axiomatizing the bare idea of a potential hierarchy.Tim Button - 2021 - Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 27 (4):461-484.
    Potentialists think that the concept of set is importantly modal. Using tensed language as an heuristic, the following bar-bones story introduces the idea of a potential hierarchy of sets: 'Always: for any sets that existed, there is a set whose members are exactly those sets; there are no other sets.' Surprisingly, this story already guarantees well-foundedness and persistence. Moreover, if we assume that time is linear, the ensuing modal set theory is almost definitionally equivalent with non-modal set theories; specifically, with (...)
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  9. Can Hardcore Actualism Validate S5?Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (2):342-358.
    Hardcore actualism (HA) grounds all modal truths in the concrete constituents of the actual world (see, e.g., Borghini and Williams (2008), Jacobs (2010), Vetter (2015)). I bolster HA, and elucidate the very nature of possibility (and necessity) according to HA, by considering if it can validate S5 modal logic. Interestingly, different considerations pull in different directions on this issue. To resolve the tension, we are forced to think hard about the nature of the hardcore actualist's modal reality and how radically (...)
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  10. Ostrich Actualism.Craig Warmke - 2021 - In Sara Bernstein & Tyron Goldschmidt (eds.), Non-being: New Essays on the Metaphysics of Nonexistence. pp. 205-225.
    In On What Matters, Derek Parfit enters the debate between actualists and possibilists. This debate concerns mere possibilia, possible but non-actual things such as golden mountains and talking donkeys. Roughly, possibilism says that there are such things, and actualism says that there are not. Parfit not only argues for possibilism but also argues that some self-proclaimed actualists are, in fact, unwitting possibilists. -/- I argue that although Parfit’s arguments do not fully succeed, they do highlight a tension within the frameworks (...)
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  11. Modal Fragmentalism.Samuele Iaquinto - 2020 - The Philosophical Quarterly 70:570-587.
    In this paper, I will argue that there is a version of possibilism—inspired by the modal analogue of Kit Fine’s fragmentalism—that can be combined with a weakening of actualism. The reasons for analysing this view, which I call Modal Fragmentalism, are twofold. Firstly, it can enrich our understanding of the actualism/possibilism divide, by showing that, at least in principle, the adoption of possibilia does not correspond to an outright rejection of the actualist intuitions. Secondly, and more specifically, it can enrich (...)
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  12. In Defense of the Possibilism–Actualism Distinction.Christopher Menzel - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):1971-1997.
    In Modal Logic as Metaphysics, Timothy Williamson claims that the possibilism-actualism (P-A) distinction is badly muddled. In its place, he introduces a necessitism-contingentism (N-C) distinction that he claims is free of the confusions that purportedly plague the P-A distinction. In this paper I argue first that the P-A distinction, properly understood, is historically well-grounded and entirely coherent. I then look at the two arguments Williamson levels at the P-A distinction and find them wanting and show, moreover, that, when the N-C (...)
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  13. Hardcore Actualism and Possible Non‐Existence.Samuel Kimpton-Nye - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):122-131.
    According to hardcore actualism (HA), all modal truths are grounded in the concrete constituents of the actual world. In this paper, I discuss some problems faced by HA when it comes to accounting for certain alleged possibilities of non‐existence. I focus particular attention on Leech (2017)'s dilemma for HA, according to which HA must either sacrifice extensional correctness or admit mere possibilia. I propose a solution to Leech's dilemma, which relies on a distinction between weak and strong possibility. It remains (...)
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  14. Logicism, Possibilism, and the Logic of Kantian Actualism.Andrew Stephenson - 2017 - Critique.
    In this extended critical discussion of 'Kant's Modal Metaphysics' by Nicholas Stang (OUP 2016), I focus on one central issue from the first chapter of the book: Stang’s account of Kant’s doctrine that existence is not a real predicate. In §2 I outline some background. In §§3-4 I present and then elaborate on Stang’s interpretation of Kant’s view that existence is not a real predicate. For Stang, the question of whether existence is a real predicate amounts to the question: ‘could (...)
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  15. Review of Bob Hale's Necessary Beings. [REVIEW]Nils Kürbis - 2015 - Disputatio (40):92-100.
    Review of Bob Hale's "Necessary Beings: An Essay on Ontology, Modality, and the Relations Between Them". Oxford: Oxford University Press 2013, ISBN 9780199669578.
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  16. Logic, Essence, and Modality — Review of Bob Hale's Necessary Beings. [REVIEW]Christopher Menzel - 2015 - Philosophia Mathematica 23 (3):407-428.
    Bob Hale’s distinguished record of research places him among the most important and influential contemporary analytic metaphysicians. In his deep, wide ranging, yet highly readable book Necessary Beings, Hale draws upon, but substantially integrates and extends, a good deal his past research to produce a sustained and richly textured essay on — as promised in the subtitle — ontology, modality, and the relations between them. I’ve set myself two tasks in this review: first, to provide a reasonably thorough (if not (...)
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  17. Possible Worlds for Modal Primitivists.Louis deRosset - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (1):109-131.
    Among the most remarkable developments in metaphysics since the 1950’s is the explosion of philosophical interest in possible worlds. This paper proposes an explanation of what possible worlds are, and argues that this proposal, the interpreted models conception, should be attractive to anyone who thinks that modal facts are primitive, and so not to be explained in terms of some non-modal notion of “possible world.” I articulate three constraints on any acceptable primitivist explanation of the nature of possible worlds, and (...)
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  18. Modal validity and the dispensability of the actuality operator.Vittorio Morato - 2014 - In Michal Dancak & Vit Punochar (eds.), The Logica Yearbook 2013. London, UK:
    In this paper, I claim that two ways of defining validity for modal languages (“real-world” and “general” validity), corresponding to distinction between a correct and an incorrect way of defining modal valid- ity, correspond instead to two substantive ways of conceiving modal truth. At the same time, I claim that the major logical manifestation of the real- world/general validity distinction in modal propositional languages with the actuality operator should not be taken seriously, but simply as a by-product of the way (...)
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  19. Phenomenological Actualism. A Husserlian Metaphysics of Modality?Michael Wallner - 2014 - In Sonja Rinofner-Kreidl & Harald A. Wiltsche (eds.), Analytical and Continental Philosophy: Methods and Perspectives. Papers of the 37th International Wittgenstein Symposium. pp. 283-285.
    Considering the importance of possible-world semantics for modal logic and for current debates in the philosophy of modality, a phenomenologist may want to ask whether it makes sense to speak of “possible worlds” in phenomenology. The answer will depend on how "possible worlds" are to be interpreted. As that latter question is the subject of the debate about possibilism and actualism in contemporary modal metaphysics, my aim in this paper is to get a better grip on the former question by (...)
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  20. Quantificational Logic and Empty Names.Andrew Bacon - 2013 - Philosophers' Imprint 13.
    The result of combining classical quantificational logic with modal logic proves necessitism – the claim that necessarily everything is necessarily identical to something. This problem is reflected in the purely quantificational theory by theorems such as ∃x t=x; it is a theorem, for example, that something is identical to Timothy Williamson. The standard way to avoid these consequences is to weaken the theory of quantification to a certain kind of free logic. However, it has often been noted that in order (...)
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  21. Time, Modality, and the Unbearable Lightness of Being.Akiko M. Frischhut & Alexander Skiles - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):264-273.
    We develop a theory about the metaphysics of time and modality that combines the conceptual resources devised in recent sympathetic work on ontological pluralism (the thesis that there are fundamentally distinct kinds of being) with the thought that what is past, future, and merely possible is less real than what is present and actual (albeit real enough to serve as truthmakers for statements about the past, future, and merely possible). However, we also show that despite being a coherent, distinctive, and (...)
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  22. Modal Ontology and Generalized Quantifiers.Peter Fritz - 2013 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 42 (4):643-678.
    Timothy Williamson has argued that in the debate on modal ontology, the familiar distinction between actualism and possibilism should be replaced by a distinction between positions he calls contingentism and necessitism. He has also argued in favor of necessitism, using results on quantified modal logic with plurally interpreted second-order quantifiers showing that necessitists can draw distinctions contingentists cannot draw. Some of these results are similar to well-known results on the relative expressivity of quantified modal logics with so-called inner and outer (...)
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  23. Impossible Worlds.Mark Jago - 2013 - Noûs 47 (3):713-728.
    Impossible worlds are representations of impossible things and impossible happenings. They earn their keep in a semantic or metaphysical theory if they do the right theoretical work for us. As it happens, a worlds-based account provides the best philosophical story about semantic content, knowledge and belief states, cognitive significance and cognitive information, and informative deductive reasoning. A worlds-based story may also provide the best semantics for counterfactuals. But to function well, all these accounts need use of impossible and as well (...)
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  24. Unnecessary existents.Joshua Spencer - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5-6):766-775.
    Timothy Williamson has argued for the radical conclusion that everything necessarily exists. In this paper, I assume that the conclusion of Williamson’s argument is more incredible than the denial of his premises. Under the assumption that Williamson is mistaken, I argue for the claim that there are some structured propositions which have constituents that might not have existed. If those constituents had not existed, then the propositions would have had an unfilled role; they would have been gappy. This gappy propositions (...)
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  25. Duas teorias realistas para a interpretação da semântica dos mundos possíveis.Renato Mendes Rocha - 2010 - Inquietude 1 (1):72-79.
    O discurso a respeito dos Mundos Possíveis pode ser uma ferramenta bastante útil para a filosofia. Pode ser útil, por exemplo, para a compreensão das modalidades, da necessidade e da possibilidade. No entanto, para utilizar o discurso dos Mundos Possíveis devemos ter uma explicação satisfatória do caráter ontológico da Semântica dos Mundos Possíveis. Para isso, precisamos responder a questões do tipo: O que é um Mundo Possível? De que forma eles existem? Em quantos Mundos Possíveis podemos falar? Há diversas formas (...)
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  26. Causal structuralism, dispositional actualism, and counterfactual conditionals.Antony Eagle - 2009 - In Toby Handfield (ed.), Dispositions and Causes. Oxford University Press. pp. 65--99.
    Dispositional essentialists are typically committed to two claims: that properties are individuated by their causal role (‘causal structuralism’), and that natural necessity is to be explained by appeal to these causal roles (‘dispositional actualism’). I argue that these two claims cannot be simultaneously maintained; and that the correct response is to deny dispositional actualism. Causal structuralism remains an attractive position, but doesn’t in fact provide much support for dispositional essentialism.
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  27. Proxy “Actualism”.Karen Bennett - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 129 (2):263-294.
    Bernard Linsky and Edward Zalta have recently proposed a new form of actualism. I characterize the general form of their view and the motivations behind it. I argue that it is not quite new – it bears interesting similarities to Alvin Plantinga’s view – and that it definitely isn’t actualist.
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  28. Functionalism about possible worlds.Dominic Gregory - 2006 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (1):95 – 115.
    Various writers have proposed that the notion of a possible world is a functional concept, yet very little has been done to develop that proposal. This paper explores a particular functionalist account of possible worlds, according to which pluralities of possible worlds are the bases for structures which provide occupants for the roles which analyse our ordinary modal concepts. It argues that the resulting position meets some of the stringent constraints which philosophers have placed upon accounts of possible worlds, while (...)
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  29. Introduction to Alvin Plantinga, Essays in the Metaphysics of Modality.Matthew Davidson - 2003 - In Essays in the Metaphysics of Modality. New York: Oxford University Press.
    For the past 30 years, Alvin Plantinga's work in the metaphysics of modality has been both insightful and innovative; it is high time that his papers in this area be collected together in a single volume. This book contains 11 pieces of Plantinga's work in modal metaphysics, arranged in chronological order so one can trace the development of his thought on matters modal. In what follows I will lay out the principal concepts and arguments in these papers.
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  30. Essays in the metaphysics of modality.Alvin Plantinga & Matthew Davidson - 2003 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Matthew Davidson.
    Perhaps no one has done more in the last 30 years to advance thinking in the metaphysics of modality than has Alvin Plantinga. Collected here are some of his most important essays on this influential subject. Dating back from the late 1960's to the present, they chronicle the development of Plantinga's thoughts about some of the most fundamental issues in metaphysics: what is the nature of abstract objects like possible worlds, properties, propositions, and such phenomena? Are there possible but non-actual (...)
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  31. Worldlessness, Determinism and Free Will.Ari Maunu - 1999 - Dissertation, University of Turku (Finland)
    I have three main objectives in this essay. First, in chapter 2, I shall put forward and justify what I call worldlessness, by which I mean the following: All truths (as well as falsehoods) are wholly independent of any circumstances, not only time and place but also possible worlds. It follows from this view that whatever is actually true must be taken as true with respect to every possible world, which means that all truths are (in a sense) necessary. However, (...)
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  32. In Defence of the Barcan Formula.Max Cresswell - 1991 - Logique Et Analyse 34 (135-136):271-282.
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  33. Leibniz on Creation, Contingency and Pe-Se Modality.Paul McNamara - 1990 - Studia Leibnitiana 22 (1):29-47.
    Leibniz' first problem with contingency stems from his doctrine of divine creation (not his later doctrine of truth) and is solved via his concepts of necessity per se, etc. (not via his later concept of infinite analysis). I scrutinize some of the earliest texts in which the first problem and its solution occur. I compare his "per se modal concepts" with his concept of analysis and with the traditional concept of metaphysical necessity. I then identify and remove the main obstacle (...)
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  34. Actualism, Ontological Commitment, and Possible World Semantics.Christopher Menzel - 1990 - Synthese 85 (3):355-389.
    Actualism is the doctrine that the only things there are, that have being in any sense, are the things that actually exist. In particular, actualism eschews possibilism, the doctrine that there are merely possible objects. It is widely held that one cannot both be an actualist and at the same time take possible world semantics seriously — that is, take it as the basis for a genuine theory of truth for modal languages, or look to it for insight into the (...)
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  35. The possible in the actual.Adam Morton - 1973 - Noûs 7 (4):394-407.
    I give models for modal languages in which all individuals are actual.
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  36. Might I have been non-actual?Josh Parsons - unknown
    Analytic philosophers usually think about modality in terms of possible worlds. According to the possible worlds framework, a proposition is necessary if it is true according to all possible worlds; it is possible if it is true according to some possible world. There are as many possible worlds as there are ways the actual world might be. Only one world is actual.
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