Towards a New Theory of Modal Fictionalism

Ostium 13 (4) (2017)
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In our everyday discourse, most of us use modal statements to express possibility, necessity, or contingency. Logicians, linguists, and philosophers of language tend to use the possible world discourse to analyse the semantics of this kind of sentences. There is a disadvantage of this method: in the usual Quinean meta-ontology it commits the users to the existence of possible worlds. Even though there are many theories on metaphysics of these possible worlds, I will focus on the fictionalist approach, which aims to suspend the undesired ontological commitment. Therefore it is an anti-realist theory. The fictionalist strategy is based on the idea that according to our common-sense ontology, fictions and fictional entities do not exist, and one can treat the possible world discourse as a fiction, and the possible worlds as fictional entities. However, in the last two decades, realist theories about fictions and fictional entities have arisen, especially the abstract artefact theory. In this paper I try to revise the fictionalist approach to modality by keeping the main idea that possible worlds are fictional entities, while accepting that fictional entities are abstract artefacts. The result is a new realist theory of modal fictionalism.

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Áron Dombrovszki
Eotvos Lorand University of Sciences


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