The Problem of Cross-world Predication

Journal of Philosophical Logic 45 (6):697-742 (2016)
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While standard first-order modal logic is quite powerful, it cannot express even very simple sentences like “I could have been taller than I actually am” or “Everyone could have been smarter than they actually are”. These are examples of cross-world predication, whereby objects in one world are related to objects in another world. Extending first-order modal logic to allow for cross-world predication in a motivated way has proven to be notoriously difficult. In this paper, I argue that the standard accounts of cross-world predication all leave something to be desired. I then propose an account of cross-world predication based on quantified hybrid logic and show how it overcomes the limitations of these previous accounts. I will conclude by discussing various philosophical consequences and applications of such an account.
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