Functionalism about possible worlds

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (1):95 – 115 (2006)
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Abstract

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 also trivializing the question what possible worlds are. The paper then discusses a range of problems facing the functionalist position.

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Dominic Gregory
University of Sheffield

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