The standard Kripkean semantic theories for quantified modal logic allow the individuals that exist at other worlds to vary from those that exist at the actual world. This causes a problem for those who deny the existence of non-actual individuals. I focus on two prominent strategies for solving this problem, due respectively to Bernard Linsky and Edward Zalta (who identify the possible individuals with the actual individuals) and Alvin Plantinga (who identifies the possible individuals with the individual essences). I argue, (...) contra various commentators, that both of these solutions are acceptable by the lights of those who deny the existence of mere possibilia. (shrink)
Stephen Yablo (2001) argues that traditional fictionalist strategies run into trouble due to a mismatch between the modal status of a claim like ‘2 + 3 = 5’ and the modal status of its fictionalist paraphrase. I argue here that Yablo is best seen as confronting the fictionalist with a dilemma, and then go on to show how this dilemma can be resolved.
The modal fictionalist faces a problem due to the fact that her chosen story seems to be incomplete—certain things are neither fictionally true nor fictionally false. The significance of this problem is not localized to modal fictionalism, however, since many fictionalists will face it too. By examining how the fictionalist should analyze the notion of truth according to her story, and, in particular, the role that conditionals play for the fictionalist, I develop a novel and elegant solution to the incompleteness (...) problem. (shrink)
This article examines a popular complaint against the fictionalist account of possible objects bruited by Gideon Rosen. This is the complaint that modal fictionalism is, in some sense or other, hopelessly artificial. I shall separate two different strands to this worry and examine each in turn. As we shall see, neither strand to the objection is intractable.
Gideon Rosen’s [1990 Modal fictionalism. Mind, 99, 327–354] Modal Fictionalist aims to secure the benefits of realism about possible-worlds, whilst avoiding commitment to the existence of any world other than our own. Rosen [1993 A problem for fictionalism about possible worlds. Analysis, 53, 71–81] and Stuart Brock [1993 Modal fictionalism: A response to Rosen. Mind, 102, 147–150] both argue that fictionalism is self-defeating since the fictionalist is tacitly committed to the existence of a plurality of worlds. In this paper, I (...) develop a new strategy for the fictionalist to pursue in response to the Brock–Rosen objection. I begin by arguing that modal fictionalism is best understood as a paraphrase strategy that concerns the propositions that are expressed, in a given context, by modal sentences. I go on to argue that what is interesting about paraphrastic fictionalism is that it allows the fictionalist to accept that the sentence ‘there is a plurality of worlds’ is true without thereby committing her to the existence of a plurality of worlds. I then argue that the paraphrastic fictionalist can appeal to a form of semantic contextualism in order to communicate her status as an anti-realist. Finally, I generalise my conception of fictionalism and argue that Daniel Nolan and John O’Leary-Hawthorne [1996 Reflexive fictionalisms. Analysis, 56, 26–32] are wrong to suggest that the Brock-Rosen objection reveals a structural flaw with all species of fictionalism. (shrink)