Set Theory, Topology, and the Possibility of Junky Worlds

Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 55 (1): 79 - 90 (2014)
A possible world is a junky world if and only if each thing in it is a proper part. The possibility of junky worlds contradicts the principle of general fusion. Bohn (2009) argues for the possibility of junky worlds, Watson (2010) suggests that Bohn‘s arguments are flawed. This paper shows that the arguments of both authors leave much to be desired. First, relying on the classical results of Cantor, Zermelo, Fraenkel, and von Neumann, this paper proves the possibility of junky worlds for certain weak set theories. Second, the paradox of Burali-Forti shows that according to the Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory ZF, junky worlds are possible. Finally, it is shown that set theories are not the only sources for designing plausible models of junky worlds: Topology (and possibly other "algebraic" mathematical theories) may be used to construct models of junky worlds. In sum, junkyness is a relatively widespread feature among possible worlds.
Keywords Junky worlds  Principle of universal fusion  Zermelo natural numbers  von Neumann ordinal numbers  Burali-Forti paradox  Topological junky worlds
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DOI 10.1215/00294527-1960497
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