Modal Realism and the Meaning of 'Exist'

Here I first raise an argument purporting to show that Lewis’ Modal Realism ends up being entirely trivial. But although I reject this line, the argument reveals how difficult it is to interpret Lewis’ thesis that possibilia “exist.” Five natural interpretations are considered, yet upon reflection, none appear entirely adequate. In particular, under the three different “concretist” interpretations of ‘exist’, Modal Realism looks insufficient for genuine ontological commitment. Whereas under the “multiverse” interpretation or the “broadly Actualist” interpretation, Modal Realism omits various nonactual possibilities. I close with a related, more general dilemma for Modal Realism: Are Lewisian possibilia in the proper domain of physics or not? Since our physics aims to explain everything that exists, it seems so. Yet then the omission of some possibilities seems inevitable.
Keywords Modal Realism  Ontology  Lewis, David  Existence and Actuality  Modal Logic  Quantification  Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics  Frege  sense and reference
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