Extended Modal Realism — a New Solution to the Problem of Intentional Inexistence

Philosophia 48 (3):1197-1208 (2020)
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Kriegel described the problem of intentional inexistence as one of the ‘perennial problems of philosophy’, 307–340, 2007: 307). In the same paper, Kriegel alluded to a modal realist solution to the problem of intentional inexistence. However, Kriegel does not state by name who defends the kind of modal realist solution he has in mind. Kriegel also points out that even what he believes to be the strongest version of modal realism does not pass the ‘principle of representation’ and thus modal realism is not an adequate solution to the problem of intentional inexistence. In this paper, I respond to Kriegel by defending a modal realist solution that he did not consider in 2007, called ‘extended modal realism’. EMR is a version of modal realism where possible worlds are not completely isolated as they are under the Lewisian model. Rather, under EMR worlds are, in a way, spatiotemporally related. The fact EMR worlds are related allows EMR to sufficiently pass the principle of representation and thus can be deemed a legitimate solution to the problem of intentional inexistence. I conclude that either EMR can pass the principle of representation in some cases or, and I think the more sensible option, we give up on the principle of representation altogether.

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Andrew Thomas
Durham University


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