How (not) to construct worlds with responsibility

Synthese 199 (3-4):10389-10413 (2021)
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In a recent article, P. Roger Turner and Justin Capes argue that no one is, or ever was, even partly morally responsible for certain world-indexed truths. Here we present our reasons for thinking that their argument is unsound: It depends on the premise that possible worlds are maximally consistent states of affairs, which is, under plausible assumptions concerning states of affairs, demonstrably false. Our argument to show this is based on Bertrand Russell’s original ‘paradox of propositions’. We should then opt for a different approach to explain world-indexed truths whose upshot is that we may be morally responsible for some of them. The result to the effect that there are no maximally consistent states of affairs is independently interesting though, since this notion motivates an account of the nature of possible worlds in the metaphysics of modality. We also register in this article, independently of our response to Turner and Capes, and in the spirit of Russell’s aforementioned paradox and many other versions thereof, a proof of the claim that there is no set of all true propositions one can render false.

Author Profiles

Pedro Merlussi
Universidade Federal do ABC
Fabio Lampert
University of Greifswald


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