Alethic modalities, temporal modalities, and representation

Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 29 (1):19-36 (2015)
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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 in the case of all kinds of counterpart theories, independently on modal realism), and a very similar worry can also arise against modal realism itself or against an ersatzist theory of possible worlds itself. For similar reasons, in similar situations, a similar objection will arise. What is interesting is that it is not the case that a similar response can be given in all of these similar cases. So, in the end, we will see what dissimilarities there are and how and why they are relevant. In particular, we will see the differences there are between alethic modalities and temporal modalities. In the case of alethic modalities (metaphysical necessity and possibility), the objection can be answered by appealing to the notion of representation, while this does not work very well in the case of temporal modalities.

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Jiri Benovsky
University of Fribourg


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