In Defence of Magical Ersatzism

In Philosophical Quarterly. 161-74 (2006)
In this paper, I attack David Lewis’s objection to a generic theory of modality he calls “Magical Ersatzism”. His objection takes the form of a dilemma directed at its linchpin, a relation he calls “selection”. This, he argues, must be either an internal or an external relation, but is unintelligible either way. However, his argument against classifying selection as internal is really just a version of the general problem of how we manage to grasp predicates in cases of underdetermination. This problem is not peculiar to Magical Ersatzism, and it is amenable to some familiar solutions. His argument against classifying selection as external is even worse off. He provides no compelling grounds for the putative unintelligibility and anyway it has a false presupposition. I conclude that Magical Ersatzism is still a viable option in the metaphysics of modality.
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References found in this work BETA
Peter Van Inwagen (1980). Indexicality and Actuality. Philosophical Review 89 (3):403 - 426.
David Lewis (1986). Against Structural Universals. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 64 (1):25 – 46.
David Lewis (1984). Putnam's Paradox. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 62 (3):221 – 236.
Citations of this work BETA
Katherine Hawley (2010). Mereology, Modality and Magic. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):117 – 133.
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