Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (2):403-420 (1999)
|Abstract||In recent years possible worlds and individuals have been in philosophical vogue, playing an important role in logical semantics, analytic metaphysics, linguistic theory, and elsewhere. In the enthusiasm over this much-promising device people have lost sight of the fact that the actual identification and introduction of such possibilia is effectively impossible. For the prospect of ostensive confrontation is here lost, and the purely descriptive individuation of nonexistent individuals is an altogether impracticable project. The very most we can accomplish here is to deal with schemata and scenarios-items whose element of generality is always present. We can indeed meaningfully operate a possibilism that is proportionately oriented (de dicto), but cannot succeed with one that is substantively oriented (de re)|
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