Possible Worlds

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  1. Quiddytyzm i quidditas w metafizyce analitycznej.Karol Lenart - 2020 - Filozofia Nauki 28 (1):61-84.
    The paper is a survey of contemporary quidditism, understood as two interrelated metaphysicalpositions — recombinatorial quidditism, which is an account of the nature of possibilities, andindividuation quidditism, which is concerned with the problem of how to individuate properties.I have three aims: to examine the commitments and consequences of both views, to investigatethe relationships between them, and to sketch the logic of the dispute between structuralism andquidditism. I explain how these views relate to Ramseyan humility, according to which we cannotknow the (...)
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  2. Quine's Monism and Modal Eliminativism in the Realm of Superveniences.Atilla Akalın - 2019 - International Journal of Social Humanities Sciences Research (JSHRS) 6 (34):795-800.
    This study asserts that W.V.O. Quine’s eliminative philosophical gaze into mereological composition affects inevitably his interpretations of composition theories of ontology. To investigate Quine’s property monism from the account of modal eliminativism, I applied to his solution for the paradoxes of de re modalities’ . Because of its vital role to figure out how dispositions are encountered by Quine, it was significantly noted that the realm of de re modalities doesn’t include contingent and impossible inferences about things. Therefore, for him, (...)
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  3. The Possible World Defense: Why Our Current Legal Thinking About Entrapment is Philosophically Suspect.Luke William Hunt - 2019 - American Philosophical Association Blog.
    Essay on philosophical problems with police sting operations and the legal doctrine of entrapment.
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  4. Gunk Mountains: A Puzzle.Sharon E. Berry - 2019 - Analysis 79 (1):3-10.
    This note points out a conflict between some common intuitions about metaphysical possibility. On the one hand, it is appealing to deny that there are robust counterfactuals about how various physically impossible substances would interact with the matter that exists at our world. On the other hand, our intuitions about how concepts like MOUNTAIN apply at other metaphysically possible worlds seem to presuppose facts about ‘solidity’ which cash out in terms of these counterfactuals. I consider several simple attempts to resolve (...)
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  5. Agents’ Abilities.Romy Jaster - 2020 - Berlin, New York: De Gruyter.
    In the book, I provide an account of what it is for an agent to have an ability. According to the Success View, abilities are all about success across possible situations. In developing and applying the view, the book elucidates the relation between abilities on the one hand and possibility, counterfactuals, and dispositions on the other; it sheds light on the distinction between general and specific abilities; it offers an understanding of degrees of abilities; it explains which role intentions and (...)
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  6. 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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  7. Clauses as Semantic Predicates: Difficulties for Possible-Worlds Semantics.Friederike Moltmann - 2018 - Festschrift for Angelika Kratzer.
    The standard view of clauses embedded under attitude verbs or modal predicates is that they act as terms standing for propositions, a view that faces a range of philosophical and linguistic difficulties. Recently an alternative has been explored according to which embedded clauses act semantically as predicates of content-bearing objects. This paper argues that this approach faces serious problems when it is based on possible worlds-semantics. It outlines a development of the approach in terms of truthmaker theory instead.
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  8. Dicing with Saul Kripke.Andrea Bianchi - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (2):237 - 249.
    Everyone knows what David Lewis' possible worlds are, what role they play in his account of possibility and necessity, and Saul Kripke's criticisms. But what, instead, are Kripke's possible worlds, and what role do they play in his account of possibility and necessity? The answers are not so obvious. Recently, it has even been claimed that, contrary to what is standardly assumed, Kripke's approach to modality has not always been consistently metaphysical. In particular, an interpretation of the famous passage in (...)
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Modal Ersatizism
  1. Dualism About Possible Worlds.Michael Tze-Sung Longenecker - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-17.
    Dualism about possible worlds says that merely possible worlds aren’t concrete objects, but the actual world is concrete. This view seems to be the natural one for ersatzers about merely possible worlds to take; yet one is hard-pressed to find any defenders of it in contemporary modal metaphysics. The main reason is that Dualism struggles with the issue of how merely possible worlds could have been actual. I explain that there are two different Dualist strategies that can be taken to (...)
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  2. On Lewis Against Magic: A Study of Method in Metaphysics.A. Fisher - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2335-2353.
    David Lewis objected to theories that posit necessary connections between distinct entities and to theories that involve a magical grasping of their primitives. In On the Plurality of Worlds, Lewis objected to nondescript ersatzism on these grounds. The literature contains several reconstructions of Lewis’ critique of nondescript ersatzism but none of these interpretations adequately address his main argument because they fail to see that Lewis’ critique is based on broader methodological considerations. I argue that a closer look at his methodology (...)
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  3. Alethic Modalities, Temporal Modalities, and Representation.Jiri Benovsky - 2015 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 29 (1):19-36.
    In this article, I am interested in four versions of what is often referred to as "the Humphrey objection". This objection was initially raised by Kripke against Lewis's modal counterpart theory, so this is where I will start the discussion. As we will see, there is a perfectly good answer to the objection. I will then examine other places where a similar objection can be raised: it can arise in the case of temporal counterpart theory (in fact, it can arise (...)
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  4. 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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  5. Are Impossible Worlds Trivial?Mark Jago - 2013 - In Vit Puncochar & Petr Svarny (eds.), The Logica Yearbook 2012. College Publications.
    Theories of content are at the centre of philosophical semantics. The most successful general theory of content takes contents to be sets of possible worlds. But such contents are very coarse-grained, for they cannot distinguish between logically equivalent contents. They draw intensional but not hyperintensional distinctions. This is often remedied by including impossible as well as possible worlds in the theory of content. Yet it is often claimed that impossible worlds are metaphysically obscure; and it is sometimes claimed that their (...)
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  6. 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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  7. Constructing Worlds.Mark Jago - 2012 - Synthese 189 (1):59-74.
    You and I can differ in what we say, or believe, even though the things we say, or believe, are logically equivalent. Discussing what is said, or believed, requires notions of content which are finer-grained than sets of (metaphysically or logically) possible worlds. In this paper, I develop the approach to fine-grained content in terms of a space of possible and impossible worlds. I give a method for constructing ersatz worlds based on theory of substantial facts. I show how this (...)
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  8. Impossible Worlds and Propositions: Against the Parity Thesis.Francesco Berto - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (240):471-486.
    Accounts of propositions as sets of possible worlds have been criticized for conflating distinct impossible propositions. In response to this problem, some have proposed to introduce impossible worlds to represent distinct impossibilities, endorsing the thesis that impossible worlds must be of the same kind; this has been called the parity thesis. I show that this thesis faces problems, and propose a hybrid account which rejects it: possible worlds are taken as concrete Lewisian worlds, and impossibilities are represented as set-theoretic constructions (...)
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  9. In Defence of Magical Ersatzism.David A. Denby - 2006 - In Philosophical Quarterly. pp. 161-74.
    David Lewis' objection to a generic theory of modality which he calls ‘magical ersatzism’ is that its linchpin, a relation he calls ‘selection’, must be either an internal or an external relation, and that this is unintelligible either way. But the problem he points out with classifying selection as internal is really just an instance of the general problem of how we manage to grasp underdetermined predicates, is not peculiar to magical ersatzism, and is amenable to some familiar solutions. He (...)
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Modal Fictionalism
  1. I Do Not Believe in Meigas, but There Are Such. A Meinongian Empirical Case Based on Galician ‘Meigas’.Olga Ramirez Calle - forthcoming - E-Logos Electronic Journal for Philosophy.
    This paper aspires to meet a philosophical challenge posed to the author to give treatment to what was seen as a particularly nice Meinongian case1; namely the case of Galician Meigas. However, through the playful footpaths of enchanted Galician Meigas, I rehabilitate some relevant discussion on the justification of belief formation and come to some poignant philosophical insights regarding the understanding of possibilities. I hope both the leading promoter of the challenge and, of course, other philosophical readers are satisfied with (...)
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  2. Interview with Francesco Berto.Luca Moretti - 2016 - The Reasoner 10 (5):36-38.
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  3. In Defence of the Letter of Fictionalism.Harold Noonan - 1994 - Analysis 54 (3):133-39.
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  4. Modal Fictionalism Fixed.Gideon Rosen - 1995 - Analysis 55 (2):67-73.
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  5. A Desperate Fix.Bob Hale - 1995 - Analysis 55 (2):74-81.
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  6. Fiction's Ontological Commitments.Christopher Mole - 2009 - Philosophical Forum 40 (4):473-488.
    This article examines one way in which a fiction can carry ontological commitments. The ontological commitments that the article examines arise in cases where there are norms governing discourse about items in a fiction that cannot be accounted for by reference to the contents of the sentences that constitute a canonical telling of that fiction. In such cases, a fiction may depend for its contents on the real-world properties of real-world items, and the fiction may, in that sense, be ontologically (...)
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  7. How in the World?Stephen Yablo - 1996 - In Christopher Hill (ed.), Philosophical Topics. University of Arkansas Press. pp. 255--86.
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  8. Modal Fictionalism and Possible-Worlds Discourse.David Liggins - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (2):151-60.
    The Brock-Rosen problem has been one of the most thoroughly discussed objections to the modal fictionalism bruited in Gideon Rosen’s ‘Modal Fictionalism’. But there is a more fundamental problem with modal fictionalism, at least as it is normally explained: the position does not resolve the tension that motivated it. I argue that if we pay attention to a neglected aspect of modal fictionalism, we will see how to resolve this tension—and we will also find a persuasive reply to the Brock-Rosen (...)
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Modal Realism
  1. Modal Truth : Integrating the Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Semantics of the Necessary and the Possible.Lars Enden - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Washington
    The integration challenge for modality states that metaphysical theories of modality tend to fail in one of two ways: either they render the meanings of modal sentences mysterious, or they render modal knowledge mysterious. I argue that there are specific semantic and epistemic constraints on metaphysics implied by the integration challenge and that a plausible metaphysical theory of modality will satisfy both of them. I further argue that no popular metaphysical theory of modality simultaneously satisfies both of the constraints. Therefore, (...)
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  2. On the Probability of Plenitude.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    I examine what the mathematical theory of random structures can teach us about the probability of Plenitude, a thesis closely related to David Lewis's modal realism. Given some natural assumptions, Plenitude is reasonably probable a priori, but in principle it can be (and plausibly it has been) empirically disconfirmed—not by any general qualitative evidence, but rather by our de re evidence.
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  3. Materiality, Parthood, and Possibility.Samuele Iaquinto & Giuliano Torrengo - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-7.
    This paper offers an argument in favour of a Lewisian version of concretism that maintains both the principle of material inheritance (according to which, if all the parts of an object x are material, then x is material) and the materiality-modality link (that is, the principle that, for every x, if x is material, then x is possible).
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  4. Is Metaphysics Immune to Moral Refutation?Alex Barber - unknown - Acta Analytica:1-24.
    When a novel scientific theory conflicts with otherwise plausible moral assumptions, we do not treat that as evidence against the theory. We may scrutinize the empirical data more keenly and take extra care over its interpretation, but science is in some core sense immune to moral refutation. Can the same be said of philosophical theories? If a position in the philosophy of mind, for example, is discovered to have eye-widening moral import, does that count against it at all? Actual responses (...)
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  5. Dualism About Possible Worlds.Michael Tze-Sung Longenecker - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-17.
    Dualism about possible worlds says that merely possible worlds aren’t concrete objects, but the actual world is concrete. This view seems to be the natural one for ersatzers about merely possible worlds to take; yet one is hard-pressed to find any defenders of it in contemporary modal metaphysics. The main reason is that Dualism struggles with the issue of how merely possible worlds could have been actual. I explain that there are two different Dualist strategies that can be taken to (...)
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  6. Modal Fragmentalism.Samuele Iaquinto - 2020 - The Philosophical Quarterly 70 (280):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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  7. Problems for Modal Reductionism: Concrete Possible Worlds as a Test Case.Jonathan Nassim - 2015 - Dissertation, Birkbeck College
    This thesis is an argument for the view that there are problems for Modal Reductionism, the thesis that modality can satisfactorily be defined in non-modal terms. -/- I proceed via a case study of David Lewis’s theory of concrete possible worlds. This theory is commonly regarded as the best and most influential candidate reductive theory of modality. Based on a detailed examination of its ontology, analysis and justification, I conclude that it does badly with respect to the following four minimal (...)
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  8. Cross-World Comparatives for Modal Realists.Robert Michels - 2018 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 25 (3):368-391.
    Divers (2014) argues that a Lewisian theory of modality which includes both counterpart theory and modal realism cannot account for the truth of certain intuitively true modal sentences involving cross-world comparatives. The main purpose of this paper is to defend the Lewisian theory against Divers’s challenge by developing a response strategy based on a degree-theoretic treatment of comparatives and by showing that this treatment is compatible with the theory.
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  9. Natural Properties, Supervenience, and Mereology.Andrea Borghini & Giorgio Lando - 2011 - Humana Mente 4 (19):79-104.
    The interpretation of Lewis‘s doctrine of natural properties is difficult and controversial, especially when it comes to the bearers of natural properties. According to the prevailing reading – the minimalist view – perfectly natural properties pertain to the micro-physical realm and are instantiated by entities without proper parts or point-like. This paper argues that there are reasons internal to a broadly Lewisian kind of metaphysics to think that the minimalist view is fundamentally flawed and that a liberal view, according to (...)
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  10. On the Humphrey Objection to Modal Realism.Michael De - 2018 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 95 (2):159-179.
    An intuitive objection to modal realism is that merely possible worlds and their inhabitants seem to be irrelevant to an analysis of modality. Kripke originally phrased the objection in terms of being concerned about one’s modal properties without being concerned about the properties one’s other-worldly counterparts have. The author assesses this objection in a variety of forms, and then provides his own formulation that does not beg the question against the modal realist. Finally, the author considers two potential answers to (...)
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  11. On Lewis Against Magic: A Study of Method in Metaphysics.A. Fisher - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2335-2353.
    David Lewis objected to theories that posit necessary connections between distinct entities and to theories that involve a magical grasping of their primitives. In On the Plurality of Worlds, Lewis objected to nondescript ersatzism on these grounds. The literature contains several reconstructions of Lewis’ critique of nondescript ersatzism but none of these interpretations adequately address his main argument because they fail to see that Lewis’ critique is based on broader methodological considerations. I argue that a closer look at his methodology (...)
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  12. Propriedades Naturais e Mundos Possíveis.Renato Mendes Rocha - 2015 - Coleção XVI Encontro ANPOF.
    O objetivo geral da pesquisa da qual esse artigo faz parte é investigar o sistema metafísico que emerge dos trabalhos de David Lewis. Esse sistema pode ser decomposto em pelo menos duas teorias. A primeira nomeada como realismo modal genuíno (RMG) e a segunda como mosaico neo-humeano. O RMG é, sem dúvida, mais popular e defende a hipótese metafísica da existência de uma pluralidade de mundos possíveis. A principal razão em favor dessa hipótese é a sua aplicabilidade na discussão de (...)
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  13. Mundos possíveis, propriedades naturais e mereologia.Renato Rocha - 2017 - Dissertation, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
    I argue in this dissertation that natural properties play a central role in David Lewis' modal realism. To argue in favor of this thesis I present: a bottom-up explanation of a top-down possible world metaphysics; a new definition of natural properties and natural fusion, a new mereological operation. To achieve these aims, in the first chapter, I contextualize the discussion, in the second I resume the discussion about universals in contemporary philosophy and argue that, considering the distinct formulations of the (...)
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  14. Modal Realism, Still at Your Convenience.Harold Noonan & Mark Jago - 2017 - Analysis 77 (2):299-303.
    Divers presents a set of de re modal truths which, he claims, are inconvenient for Lewisean modal realism. We argue that there is no inconvenience for Lewis.
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  15. Extended Modal Dimensionalism.Martin Vacek - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (1):13-28.
    Modal dimensionalism is realism about spaces, times and worlds—metaphysical indices that make objects spatial, temporal and modal, respectively, and that play the role of alethic relativizers, i.e. items to which matters of truth are relativized. This paper examines several arguments against MD and shows that MD offers a feasible way to understand modal discourse.
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  16. The Modal Dimension.Giuliano Torrengo - 2011 - Humana Mente 4 (19):105-120.
    Space and time are two obvious candidates as dimensions of reality. Yet, are they the only two dimensions of reality? Famously, David Lewis maintained the doctrine of.
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  17. Modal Realism, Still At Your Convenience.Mark Jago & Harold Noonan - 2016 - Analysis:anx037.
    Divers (2014) presents a set of de re modal truths which, he claims, are inconvenient for Lewisean modal realism. We argue that there is no inconvenience for Lewis.
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  18. David Lewis (1941-2001).Tim Crane - 2001 - The Independent 1.
    The death of David Lewis at the age of 60 has deprived philosophy of one of its most original and brilliant thinkers. Lewis was a systematic philosopher in a traditional sense, who created a system of thought (or metaphysical system) which attempts to reconcile the insights of modern science with pervasive elements of commonsense belief. Lewis was not a populariser and he had little to do with the more concrete and practical areas of philosophy. His work is forbiddingly abstract, and (...)
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  19. Advanced Modalizing Problems.Mark Jago - 2016 - Mind 125 (499):627-642.
    I present an internal problem for David Lewis’s genuine modal realism. My aim is to show that his analysis of modality is inconsistent with his metaphysics. I consider several ways of modifying the Lewisian analysis of modality, but argue that none are successful. I argue that the problem also affects theories related to genuine modal realism, including the stage theory of persistence and modal fictionalism.
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  20. David Lewis, Donald C. Williams, and the History of Metaphysics in the Twentieth Century.A. R. J. Fisher - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (1):3--22.
    The revival of analytic metaphysics in the latter half of the twentieth century is typically understood as a consequence of the critiques of logical positivism, Quine’s naturalization of ontology, Kripke’s Naming and Necessity, clarifications of modal notions in logic, and the theoretical exploitation of possible worlds. However, this explanation overlooks the work of metaphysicians at the height of positivism and linguisticism that affected metaphysics of the late twentieth century. Donald C. Williams is one such philosopher. In this paper I explain (...)
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  21. Our Reliability is in Principle Explainable.Dan Baras - 2017 - Episteme 14 (2):197-211.
    Non-skeptical robust realists about normativity, mathematics, or any other domain of non- causal truths are committed to a correlation between their beliefs and non- causal, mind-independent facts. Hartry Field and others have argued that if realists cannot explain this striking correlation, that is a strong reason to reject their theory. Some consider this argument, known as the Benacerraf–Field argument, as the strongest challenge to robust realism about mathematics, normativity, and even logic. In this article I offer two closely related accounts (...)
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  22. The Applicability of Mathematics to Physical Modality.Nora Berenstain - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3361-3377.
    This paper argues that scientific realism commits us to a metaphysical determination relation between the mathematical entities that are indispensible to scientific explanation and the modal structure of the empirical phenomena those entities explain. The argument presupposes that scientific realism commits us to the indispensability argument. The viewpresented here is that the indispensability of mathematics commits us not only to the existence of mathematical structures and entities but to a metaphysical determination relation between those entities and the modal structure of (...)
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  23. Strict Identity with No Overlap.Achille C. Varzi - 2006 - Studia Logica 82 (3):371-378.
    It is common lore that standard, Kripke-style semantics for quantified modal logic is incompatible with the view that no individual may belong to more than one possible world, a view that seems to require a counterpart-theoretic semantics instead. Strictly speaking, however, this thought is wrong-headed. This note explains why.
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  24. Genuine Modal Realism and the Empty World.David Efird & Tom Stoneham - 2005 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 1 (1):21-37.
    We argue that genuine modal realism can be extended, rather than modified, so as to allow for the possibility of nothing concrete, a possibility we term ‘metaphysical nihilism’. The issue should be important to the genuine modal realist because, not only is metaphysical nihilism itself intuitively plausible, but also it is supported by an argument with pre-theoretically credible premises, namely, the subtraction argument. Given the soundness of the subtraction argument, we show that there are two ways that the genuine modal (...)
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  25. Alethic Modalities, Temporal Modalities, and Representation.Jiri Benovsky - 2015 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 29 (1):19-36.
    In this article, I am interested in four versions of what is often referred to as "the Humphrey objection". This objection was initially raised by Kripke against Lewis's modal counterpart theory, so this is where I will start the discussion. As we will see, there is a perfectly good answer to the objection. I will then examine other places where a similar objection can be raised: it can arise in the case of temporal counterpart theory (in fact, it can arise (...)
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