Parts, Counterparts and Modal Occurrents

Travaux de Logique 14 (1):151-171 (2001)
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The paper investigates the link between the theory of modal occurrents (where individuals are allowed to stretch across possible worlds) and Lewis’s counterpart theory (where all individuals are world-bound but have counterparts in other worlds). First I show how to interpret modal talk extensionally within the theory of modal occurrents. Then I show that the assumption that worlds be pairwise discrete is all that is needed to reconstruct the bulk of counterpart theory (i.e., to define the concept of a counterpart and to derive the standard postulates governing that concept) in terms of the theory of modal occurrents. Finally, I argue that this reconstruction allows us to view the indeterminacy of our modal intuitions as being part and parcel with the indeterminacy of our criteria for individuating modal occurrents, and that this indeterminacy is naturally explained in terms of linguistic (as opposed to ontic) vagueness.

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Achille C. Varzi
Columbia University


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