Genuine modal realism and the empty world

European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 1 (1):21-37 (2005)
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Abstract

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 realist can accommodate metaphysical nihilism: (i) by allowing for worlds containing only spatiotemporal points and (ii) by allowing for a world containing nothing but the null individual. On methodological grounds, we argue that the genuine modal realist should reject the former way but embrace the latter way.

Author's Profile

David Efird
PhD: Oxford University; Last affiliation: University of York

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