Results for 'Impossible worlds'

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  1.  21
    How Close Are Impossible Worlds? A Critique of Brogaard and Salerno’s Account of Counterpossibles.Dan Baras - manuscript
    Several theorists have been attracted to the idea that in order to account for counterpossibles, i.e. counterfactuals with impossible antecedents, we must appeal to impossible worlds. However, few have attempted to provide a detailed impossible worlds account of counterpossibles. Berit Brogaard and Joe Salerno’s ‘Remarks on Counterpossibles’ is one of the few attempts to fill in this theoretical gap. In this article, I critically examine their account. I prove a number of unanticipated implications of their (...)
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  2. Impossible Worlds and the Logic of Imagination.Francesco Berto - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (6):1277-1297.
    I want to model a finite, fallible cognitive agent who imagines that p in the sense of mentally representing a scenario—a configuration of objects and properties—correctly described by p. I propose to capture imagination, so understood, via variably strict world quantifiers, in a modal framework including both possible and so-called impossible worlds. The latter secure lack of classical logical closure for the relevant mental states, while the variability of strictness captures how the agent imports information from actuality in (...)
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  3. Truth in Fiction, Impossible Worlds, and Belief Revision.Christopher Badura & Francesco Berto - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-16.
    We present a theory of truth in fiction that improves on Lewis's [1978] ‘Analysis 2’ in two ways. First, we expand Lewis's possible worlds apparatus by adding non-normal or impossible worlds. Second, we model truth in fiction as belief revision via ideas from dynamic epistemic logic. We explain the major objections raised against Lewis's original view and show that our theory overcomes them.
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  4. Impossible Worlds and Propositions: Against the Parity Thesis.Francesco Berto - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (240):471-486.
    Accounts of propositions as sets of possible worlds have been criticized for conflating distinct impossible propositions. In response to this problem, some have proposed to introduce impossible worlds to represent distinct impossibilities, endorsing the thesis that impossible worlds must be of the same kind; this has been called the parity thesis. I show that this thesis faces problems, and propose a hybrid account which rejects it: possible worlds are taken as concrete Lewisian (...), and impossibilities are represented as set-theoretic constructions out of them. This hybrid account (1) distinguishes many intuitively distinct impossible propositions; (2) identifies impossible propositions with extensional constructions; (3) avoids resorting to primitive modality, at least so far as Lewisian modal realism does. (shrink)
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  5. Impossible Worlds.Mark Jago - 2013 - Noûs 47 (3):713-728.
    Impossible worlds are representations of impossible things and impossible happenings. They earn their keep in a semantic or metaphysical theory if they do the right theoretical work for us. As it happens, a worlds-based account provides the best philosophical story about semantic content, knowledge and belief states, cognitive significance and cognitive information, and informative deductive reasoning. A worlds-based story may also provide the best semantics for counterfactuals. But to function well, all these accounts need (...)
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  6. Impossible Worlds and Logical Omniscience: An Impossibility Result.Jens Christian Bjerring - 2013 - Synthese 190 (13):2505-2524.
    In this paper, I investigate whether we can use a world-involving framework to model the epistemic states of non-ideal agents. The standard possible-world framework falters in this respect because of a commitment to logical omniscience. A familiar attempt to overcome this problem centers around the use of impossible worlds where the truths of logic can be false. As we shall see, if we admit impossible worlds where “anything goes” in modal space, it is easy to model (...)
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  7. Causal Counterfactuals and Impossible Worlds.Daniel Nolan - 2017 - In Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock & Huw Price (eds.), Making a Difference. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 14-32.
    A standing challenge in the theory of counterfactuals is to solve the “deviation problem”. Consider ordinary counterfactuals involving an antecedent concerning a difference from the actual course of events at a particular time, and a consequent concerning, at least in part, what happens at a later time. In the possible worlds framework, the problem is often put in terms of which are the relevant antecedent worlds. Desiderata for the solution include that the relevant antecedent worlds be governed (...)
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  8. Are Impossible Worlds Trivial?Mark Jago - 2013 - In Vit Puncochar & Petr Svarny (eds.), The Logica Yearbook 2012. College Publications.
    Theories of content are at the centre of philosophical semantics. The most successful general theory of content takes contents to be sets of possible worlds. But such contents are very coarse-grained, for they cannot distinguish between logically equivalent contents. They draw intensional but not hyperintensional distinctions. This is often remedied by including impossible as well as possible worlds in the theory of content. Yet it is often claimed that impossible worlds are metaphysically obscure; and it (...)
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  9. Real Impossible Worlds : The Bounds of Possibility.Ira Georgia Kiourti - 2010 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    Lewisian Genuine Realism about possible worlds is often deemed unable to accommodate impossible worlds and reap the benefits that these bestow to rival theories. This thesis explores two alternative extensions of GR into the terrain of impossible worlds. It is divided in six chapters. Chapter I outlines Lewis’ theory, the motivations for impossible worlds, and the central problem that such worlds present for GR: How can GR even understand the notion of an (...)
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  10. The Ontology of Impossible Worlds.David A. Vander Laan - 1997 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 38 (4):597-620.
    The best arguments for possible worlds as states of affairs furnish us with equally good arguments for impossible worlds of the same sort. I argue for a theory of impossible worlds on which the impossible worlds correspond to maximal inconsistent classes of propositions. Three objections are rejected. In the final part of the paper, I present a menu of impossible worlds and explore some of their interesting formal properties.
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  11.  51
    Impossible Worlds and Partial Belief.Edward Elliott - forthcoming - Synthese:1-26.
    One response to the problem of logical omniscience in standard possible worlds models of belief is to extend the space of worlds so as to include impossible worlds. It is natural to think that essentially the same strategy can be applied to probabilistic models of partial belief, for which parallel problems also arise. In this paper, I note a difficulty with the inclusion of impossible worlds into probabilistic models. Under weak assumptions about the space (...)
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  12.  91
    Counterpossibles and the Nature of Impossible Worlds.Mattias Skipper Rasmussen - 2016 - SATS 17 (2):145-158.
    One well-known objection to the traditional Lewis-Stalnaker semantics of counterfactuals is that it delivers counterintuitive semantic verdicts for many counterpossibles (counterfactuals with necessarily false antecedents). To remedy this problem, several authors have proposed extending the set of possible worlds by impossible worlds at which necessary falsehoods may be true. Linguistic ersatz theorists often construe impossible worlds as maximal, inconsistent sets of sentences in some sufficiently expressive language. However, in a recent paper, Bjerring (2014) argues that (...)
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  13.  75
    Impossible Worlds.David Vander Laan - 1999 - Dissertation, University of Notre Dame
    The theory of possible worlds has permeated analytic philosophy in recent decades, and its best versions have a consequence which has gone largely unnoticed: in addition to the panoply of possible worlds, there are a great many impossible worlds. A uniform ontological method alone should bring the friends of possible worlds to adopt impossible worlds, I argue, but the theory's applications also provide strong incentives. In particular, the theory facilitates an account of counterfactuals (...)
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  14. Logically Impossible Worlds.Koji Tanaka - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Logic 15 (2):489.
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  15. Impossibility and Impossible Worlds.Daniel Nolan - forthcoming - In Otavio Bueno & Scott Shalkowski (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Modality. New York, USA: Routledge Press.
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  16. Omission Impossible.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2575-2589.
    This paper gives a framework for understanding causal counterpossibles, counterfactuals imbued with causal content whose antecedents appeal to metaphysically impossible worlds. Such statements are generated by omissive causal claims that appeal to metaphysically impossible events, such as “If the mathematician had not failed to prove that 2+2=5, the math textbooks would not have remained intact.” After providing an account of impossible omissions, the paper argues for three claims: (i) impossible omissions play a causal role in (...)
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  17. Constructing Worlds.Mark Jago - 2012 - Synthese 189 (1):59-74.
    You and I can differ in what we say, or believe, even though the things we say, or believe, are logically equivalent. Discussing what is said, or believed, requires notions of content which are finer-grained than sets of (metaphysically or logically) possible worlds. In this paper, I develop the approach to fine-grained content in terms of a space of possible and impossible worlds. I give a method for constructing ersatz worlds based on theory of substantial facts. (...)
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  18. Non-Normal Worlds and Representation.Francesco Berto - 2012 - In Michal Peliš & Vít Punčochář (eds.), The Logica Yearbook. College Publications.
    World semantics for relevant logics include so-called non-normal or impossible worlds providing model-theoretic counterexamples to such irrelevant entailments as (A ∧ ¬A) → B, A → (B∨¬B), or A → (B → B). Some well-known views interpret non-normal worlds as information states. If so, they can plausibly model our ability of conceiving or representing logical impossibilities. The phenomenon is explored by combining a formal setting with philosophical discussion. I take Priest’s basic relevant logic N4 and extend it, (...)
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  19.  88
    Content, the Possible and the Impossible.Felappi Giulia - 2017 - Analysis 77 (3):648-658.
    What are contents? The answer provided by the possible worlds approach is that contents are sets of possible worlds. This approach incurs serious problems and to solve them Jago suggests, in The Impossible, to get rid of the ‘possible’ bit and allowing some impossible worlds to be part of the game. In this note, I briefly consider the metaphysics behind Jago’s account and then focus on whether Jago is right in thinking that his worlds (...)
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  20.  14
    Possible Worlds Semantics.Daniel Nolan - 2012 - In Gillian Russell & Delia Fara (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Language. New York, USA: Routledge Press. pp. 242-252.
    This chapter provides an introduction to possible worlds semantics in both logic and the philosophy of language, including a discussion of some of the advantages and challenges for possible worlds semantics.
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  21. On Counterpossibles.Jens Christian Bjerring - 2013 - Philosophical Studies (2):1-27.
    The traditional Lewis–Stalnaker semantics treats all counterfactuals with an impossible antecedent as trivially or vacuously true. Many have regarded this as a serious defect of the semantics. For intuitively, it seems, counterfactuals with impossible antecedents—counterpossibles—can be non-trivially true and non-trivially false. Whereas the counterpossible "If Hobbes had squared the circle, then the mathematical community at the time would have been surprised" seems true, "If Hobbes had squared the circle, then sick children in the mountains of Afghanistan at the (...)
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  22. A Dynamic Solution to the Problem of Logical Omniscience.Mattias Skipper & Jens Christian Bjerring - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-21.
    The traditional possible-worlds model of belief describes agents as "logically omniscient" in the sense that they believe all logical consequences of what they believe, including all logical truths. This is widely considered a problem if we want to reason about the epistemic lives of non-ideal agents who—much like ordinary human beings—are logically competent, but not logically omniscient. A popular strategy for avoiding logical omniscience centers around the use of impossible worlds: worlds that, in one way or (...)
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  23. Counterpossibles and Similarities.David Vander Laan - 2004 - In Frank Jackson & Graham Priest (eds.), Lewisian Themes: The Philosophy of David K. Lewis. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. pp. 258-275.
    Several themes of David Lewis's theory of counterfactuals, especially their sensitivity to context, pave the way for a viable theory of non-trivial counterpossibles. If Lewis was successful in defending his account against the early objections, a semantics of counterpossibles can be defended from similar objections in the same way. The resulting theory will be extended to address 'might' counterfactuals and questions about the relative "nearness" of impossible worlds.
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  24. On Conceiving the Inconsistent.Francesco Berto - 2014 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (1pt1):103-121.
    I present an approach to our conceiving absolute impossibilities—things which obtain at no possible world—in terms of ceteris paribus intentional operators: variably restricted quantifiers on possible and impossible worlds based on world similarity. The explicit content of a representation plays a role similar in some respects to the one of a ceteris paribus conditional antecedent. I discuss how such operators invalidate logical closure for conceivability, and how similarity works when impossible worlds are around. Unlike what happens (...)
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  25. Granularity Problems.Jens Christian Bjerring & Wolfgang Schwarz - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (266):22-37.
    Possible-worlds accounts of mental or linguistic content are often criticized for being too coarse-grained. To make room for more fine-grained distinctions among contents, several authors have recently proposed extending the space of possible worlds by "impossible worlds". We argue that this strategy comes with serious costs: we would effectively have to abandon most of the features that make the possible-worlds framework attractive. More generally, we argue that while there are intuitive and theoretical considerations against overly (...)
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  26. Wierenga on Theism and Counterpossibles.Fabio Lampert - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):693-707.
    Several theists, including Linda Zagzebski, have claimed that theism is somehow committed to nonvacuism about counterpossibles. Even though Zagzebski herself has rejected vacuism, she has offered an argument in favour of it, which Edward Wierenga has defended as providing strong support for vacuism that is independent of the orthodox semantics for counterfactuals, mainly developed by David Lewis and Robert Stalnaker. In this paper I show that argument to be sound only relative to the orthodox semantics, which entails vacuism, and give (...)
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  27. Modal-Epistemic Arithmetic and the Problem of Quantifying In.Jan Heylen - 2013 - Synthese 190 (1):89-111.
    The subject of this article is Modal-Epistemic Arithmetic (MEA), a theory introduced by Horsten to interpret Epistemic Arithmetic (EA), which in turn was introduced by Shapiro to interpret Heyting Arithmetic. I will show how to interpret MEA in EA such that one can prove that the interpretation of EA is MEA is faithful. Moreover, I will show that one can get rid of a particular Platonist assumption. Then I will discuss models for MEA in light of the problems of logical (...)
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  28. Realizm modalny i okresy warunkowe z niemożliwymi poprzednikami [Modal Realism and Counterpossibles].Maciej Sendłak - 2014 - Filozofia Nauki 22 (4).
    To solve the problem of counterpossibles, many philosophers have been arguing that one needs to invoke impossible worlds. This extension of the ontology of modality should save the analysis of counterfactuals from being insensitive to the problem of counterpossibles. Since theories of impossible worlds are extensions of original accounts of modalities, it is worth stressing that proper analyses of counterpossibles should not weaken the latter.In this paper I argue that these theories of impossible wolrds, which (...)
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  29. Between the Actual and the Trivial World.Maciej Sendłak - 2016 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 23 (2):162-176.
    The subject of this paper is the notion of similarity between the actual and impossible worlds. Many believe that this notion is governed by two rules. Ac-cording to the first rule, every non-trivial world is more similar to the actual world than the trivial world is. The second rule states that every possible world is more similar to the actual world than any impossible world is. The aim of this paper is to challenge both of these rules. (...)
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  30.  85
    On Modal Meinongianism.Thibaut Giraud - 2016 - Synthese 193 (10).
    Modal Meinongianism is a form of Meinongianism whose main supporters are Graham Priest and Francesco Berto. The main idea of modal Meinongianism is to restrict the logical deviance of Meinongian non-existent objects to impossible worlds and thus prevent it from “contaminating” the actual world: the round square is round and not round, but not in the actual world, only in an impossible world. In the actual world, supposedly, no contradiction is true. I will show that Priest’s semantics, (...)
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  31.  31
    Thinking Impossible Things.Sten Lindström - 2002 - In Sten Lindström & Pär Sundström (eds.), Physicalism, Consciousness, and Modality: Essays in the Philosophy of Mind. Umeå, Sverige: pp. 125-132.
    “There is no use in trying,” said Alice; “one can’t believe impossible things.” “I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast”. Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass. -/- It is a rather common view among philosophers that one cannot, properly speaking, be said to believe, conceive, imagine, hope for, (...)
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  32.  89
    Two Kinds of Logical Impossibility.Alexander Sandgren & Koji Tanaka - forthcoming - Noûs.
    In this paper, we argue that a distinction ought to be drawn between two ways in which a given world might be logically impossible. First, a world w might be impossible because the laws that hold at w are different from those that hold at some other world (say the actual world). Second, a world w might be impossible because the laws of logic that hold in some world (say the actual world) are violated at w. We (...)
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  33. Thinking the Impossible.Graham Priest - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2649-2662.
    The article looks at the structure of impossible worlds, and their deployment in the analysis of some intentional notions. In particular, it is argued that one can, in fact, conceive anything, whether or not it is impossible. Thus a semantics of conceivability requires impossible worlds.
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  34. Concrete Impossibilia.Martin Vacek - manuscript
    The paper deals with such a modification of genuine modal realism as to accommodate impossible worlds into its ontology. First of all, the theory of modal realism is presented. Next, several motivations for the acceptance of impossible worlds are adduced. Furthermore, Lewis’s argument against impossible worlds is denied. Then, it is argued that the same methodology as in the case of possible worlds can be used when impossibilia are at issue. Finally, the theory (...)
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  35. Williamson on Counterpossibles.Berto Francesco, David Ripley, Graham Priest & Rohan French - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (4):693-713.
    A counterpossible conditional is a counterfactual with an impossible antecedent. Common sense delivers the view that some such conditionals are true, and some are false. In recent publications, Timothy Williamson has defended the view that all are true. In this paper we defend the common sense view against Williamson’s objections.
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  36.  49
    Safety, the Preface Paradox and Possible Worlds Semantics.Michael J. Shaffer - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-15.
    This paper contains an argument to the effect that possible worlds semantics renders semantic knowledge impossible, no matter what ontological interpretation is given to possible worlds. The essential contention made is that possible worlds semantic knowledge is unsafe and this is shown by a parallel with the preface paradox.
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  37. Hyperintensional Propositions.Mark Jago - 2015 - Synthese 192 (3):585-601.
    Propositions play a central role in contemporary semantics. On the Russellian account, propositions are structured entities containing particulars, properties and relations. This contrasts sharply with the sets-of-possible-worlds view of propositions. I’ll discuss how to extend the sets-of-worlds view to accommodate fine-grained hyperintensional contents. When this is done in a satisfactory way, I’ll argue, it makes heavy use of entities very much like Russellian tuples. The two notions of proposition become inter-definable and inter-substitutable: they are not genuinely distinct accounts (...)
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  38. Against Yagisawa's Modal Realism.Mark Jago - 2013 - Analysis 73 (1):10-17.
    In his book Worlds and Individuals, Possible and Otherwise (2010), Takashi Yagisawa presents and argues for a novel and imaginative version of modal realism. It differs both from Lewis’s modal realism (Lewis 1986) and from actualists’ ersatz accounts (Adams 1974; Sider 2002). In this paper, I’ll present two arguments, each of which shows that Yagisawa’s metaphysics is incoherent. The first argument shows that the combination of Yagisawa’s metaphysics with impossibilia leads to triviality: every sentence whatsoever comes out true. This (...)
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  39. Conditionals and Curry.Daniel Nolan - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2629-2647.
    Curry's paradox for "if.. then.." concerns the paradoxical features of sentences of the form "If this very sentence is true, then 2+2=5". Standard inference principles lead us to the conclusion that such conditionals have true consequents: so, for example, 2+2=5 after all. There has been a lot of technical work done on formal options for blocking Curry paradoxes while only compromising a little on the various central principles of logic and meaning that are under threat. -/- Once we have a (...)
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  40. Problems in Epistemic Space.Jens Christian Bjerring - 2012 - Journal of Philosophical Logic (1):1-18.
    When a proposition might be the case, for all an agent knows, we can say that the proposition is epistemically possible for the agent. In the standard possible worlds framework, we analyze modal claims using quantification over possible worlds. It is natural to expect that something similar can be done for modal claims involving epistemic possibility. The main aim of this paper is to investigate the prospects of constructing a space of worlds—epistemic space—that allows us to model (...)
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  41. Hyperintensional Semantics: A Fregean Approach.Mattias Skipper & Jens Christian Bjerring - forthcoming - Synthese:1-24.
    In this paper, we present a new semantic framework designed to capture a distinctly cognitive or epistemic notion of meaning akin to Fregean senses. Traditional Carnapian intensions are too coarse-grained for this purpose: they fail to draw semantic distinctions between sentences that, from a Fregean perspective, differ in meaning. This has led some philosophers to introduce more fine-grained hyperintensions that allow us to draw semantic distinctions among co-intensional sentences. But the hyperintensional strategy has a flip-side: it risks drawing semantic distinctions (...)
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  42. Modal Meinongianism and Fiction: The Best of Three Worlds.Francesco Berto - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 152 (3):313-35.
    We outline a neo-Meinongian framework labeled as Modal Meinongian Metaphysics (MMM) to account for the ontology and semantics of fictional discourse. Several competing accounts of fictional objects are originated by the fact that our talking of them mirrors incoherent intuitions: mainstream theories of fiction privilege some such intuitions, but are forced to account for others via complicated paraphrases of the relevant sentences. An ideal theory should resort to as few paraphrases as possible. In Sect. 1, we make this explicit via (...)
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  43. Propositions and Same-Saying: Introduction.Rachael Briggs & Mark Jago - 2012 - Synthese 189 (1):1-10.
    Philosophers often talk about the things we say, or believe, or think, or mean. The things are often called ‘propositions’. A proposition is what one believes, or thinks, or means when one believes, thinks, or means something. Talk about propositions is ubiquitous when philosophers turn their gaze to language, meaning and thought. But what are propositions? Is there a single class of things that serve as the objects of belief, the bearers of truth, and the meanings of utterances? How do (...)
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  44. Interview with Francesco Berto.Luca Moretti - 2016 - The Reasoner 10 (5):36-38.
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  45. Existence as a Real Property.Francesco Berto - 2012 - Synthèse Library, Springer.
    This book is both an introduction to and a research work on Meinongianism. “Meinongianism” is taken here, in accordance with the common philosophical jargon, as a general label for a set of theories of existence – probably the most basic notion of ontology. As an introduction, the book provides the first comprehensive survey and guide to Meinongianism and non-standard theories of existence in all their main forms. As a research work, the book exposes and develops the most up-to-date Meinongian theory (...)
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  46.  84
    From Isolation to Skepticism.Scott Hill - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (3):649-668.
    If moral properties lacked causal powers, would moral skepticism be true? I argue that it would. Along the way I respond to various arguments that it would not.
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  47. Modal Meinongianism, Russell's Paradox, and the Language/Metalanguage Distinction.Maciej Sendłak - 2013 - Polish Journal of Philosophy (2):63-78.
    The subject of my article is the principle of characterization – the most controversial principle of Meinong’s Theory of Objects. The aim of this text is twofold. First of all, I would like to show that Russell’s well-known objection to Meinong’s Theory of Objects can be reformulated against a new modal interpretation of Meinongianism that is presented mostly by Graham Priest. Secondly, I would like to propose a strategy which gives uncontroversial restriction to the principle of characterization and which allows (...)
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  48. On the Indispensability of (Im)Possibilia.Martin Vacek - 2013 - Humana Mente 6 (25).
    According to modal realism formulated by David Lewis, there exist concrete possible worlds. As he argues the hypothesis is serviceable and that is a sufficient reason to think it is true. On the other side, Lewis does not consider the pragmatic reasons to be conclusive. He admits that the theoretical benefits of modal realism can be illusory or that the acceptance of controversial ontology for the sake of theoretical benefits might be misguided in the first place. In the first (...)
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  49. Simply Impossible: A Case Against Divine Simplicity.R. T. Mullins - 2013 - Journal of Reformed Theology 7 (2):181-203.
    Within contemporary philosophical theology the doctrine of divine simplicity has regained attention. There are several new defenses of simplicity in the literature. One of the more surprising, and troubling, aspects of the contemporary defenses amongst Christian philosophers and theologians is a seeming lack of understanding about how radical the doctrine of divine simplicity truly is. As such, I wish to do a few things in this paper. First, systematically articulate the doctrine of divine simplicity. Second, argue that divine simplicity is (...)
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  50. The Possibility of Morality.Philip Brown - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (3):627-636.
    Despite much discussion over the existence of moral facts, metaethicists have largely ignored the related question of their possibility. This paper addresses the issue from the moral error theorist’s perspective, and shows how the arguments that error theorists have produced against the existence of moral facts at this world, if sound, also show that moral facts are impossible, at least at worlds non-morally identical to our own and, on some versions of the error theory, at any world. So (...)
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