What in the world are the ways things might have been? [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Studies 133 (3):443 - 453 (2007)
Robert Stalnaker is an actualist who holds that merely possible worlds are uninstantiated properties that might have been instantiated. Stalnaker also holds that there are no metaphysically impossible worlds: uninstantiated properties that couldn't have been instantiated. These views motivate Stalnaker's "two dimensional" account of the necessary a posteriori on which there is no single proposition that is both necessary and a posteriori. For a (metaphysically) necessary proposition is true in all (metaphysically) possible worlds. If there were necessary a posteriori propositions, that would mean that there were propositions true in all possible worlds but which could only be known to be true by acquiring empirical evidence. Consider such a purported proposition P. The role of empirical evidence for establishing P's truth would have to be to rule out worlds in which P is false. If there were no such worlds to be ruled out, we would not require evidence for P. But by hypothesis, P is necessary and so true in all metaphysically possible worlds. And on Stalnaker's view, the metaphysically possible worlds are all the worlds there are. So there can be no proposition that is true in all possible worlds, but that we require evidence to know. In this way, the motivation for Stalnaker's two dimensional account of the necessary a posteriori rests on his denying that there are metaphysically impossible Worlds. I argue that given his view of what possible worlds are, Stalnaker has no principled reason for denying that there are metaphysically impossible worlds. If I am right, this undercuts Stalnaker's motivation for his two dimensional account of the necessary a posteriori.
|Keywords||Possible worlds Impossible worlds Modality Actualism Properties Necessary a priori Necessary a posteriori Epistemic possibility|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Robert Merrihew Adams (1974). Theories of Actuality. Noûs 8 (3):211-231.
D. M. Armstrong (1978). Universals and Scientific Realism. Cambridge University Press.
Jeffrey C. King (1998). What is a Philosophical Analysis? Philosophical Studies 90 (2):155-179.
Margery Bedford Naylor (1986). A Note on David Lewis's Realism About Possible Worlds. Analysis 46 (1):28 - 29.
Scott Soames (2003). Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century Vol. 2: The Age of Meaning. Princeton University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Jonathan Ichikawa & Benjamin Jarvis (2012). Rational Imagination and Modal Knowledge. Noûs 46 (1):127 - 158.
Jason Stanley (2010). "Assertion" and Intentionality. Philosophical Studies 151 (1):87-113.
Barak Krakauer (2013). What Are Impossible Worlds? Philosophical Studies 165 (3):989-1007.
Similar books and articles
Francesco Berto (2010). Impossible Worlds and Propositions: Against the Parity Thesis. Philosophical Quarterly 60 (240):471-486.
Jens Christian Bjerring (2010). Non-Ideal Epistemic Spaces. Dissertation, Australian National University
Edward N. Zalta (1987). On the Structural Similarities Between Worlds and Times. Philosophical Studies 51 (2):213-239.
Charles G. Morgan (1973). Systems of Modal Logic for Impossible Worlds. Inquiry 16 (1-4):280 – 289.
Mark Jago (2012). Constructing Worlds. Synthese 189 (1):59-74.
Greg Restall (1997). Ways Things Can't Be. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 38 (4):583-596.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads99 ( #17,540 of 1,696,461 )
Recent downloads (6 months)14 ( #37,832 of 1,696,461 )
How can I increase my downloads?