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Summary Actualism is the view that, necessarily, everything there is, in the broadest sense, is actual, or actually exists. Actualism stands in contrast to possibilism, the view that there are, or at least could have been, mere possibilia, i.e., things that could have been actual but, in fact, are not. Modern versions of possibilism are typically motivated by concerns about the ground of certain intuitive possibilities, for example, that Wittgenstein (who was childless) could have had a child. Possibilists typically argue that, in order for this to be true, there must be something, in the broadest sense, that could have been Wittgenstein's child and, hence, that grounds the possibility in question. Since no actually existing individual could have been Wittgenstein's child (given the plausible view that no one could have had different parents), Wittgenstein's possible children must be mere possibilia. Actualists typically respond to this reasoning either by postulating actually existing "surrogates" of one sort or another — special properties, for example — to play the grounding role of possibilia or by denying outright the need to ground possibilities like the one in question in the modal properties of possibilia or actualist surrogates thereof.
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  1. added 2020-05-16
    The Flexibility of Reality: An Essay on Modality, Representation, and Powers.David Limbaugh - 2018 - Dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo
    This dissertation is about flexibility as a dimension of reality, an objective—independent of mind and language—phenomenon typically referred to as ‘metaphysical modality’. It develops a novel modal account of why reality could be different: that is, why claims like “Possibly, there are talking donkeys,” or “Humphrey could have won the election” are true or false. I contend that primitive dispositional properties called ‘powers’ explain such claims, and do so better than possible-world accounts of modality. The problem with possible-world accounts is (...)
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  2. added 2020-05-06
    Ground and Modality.Alessandro Torza - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    The grounding relation is routinely characterized by means of logical postulates. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, I show that a subset of those postulates is incompatible with a minimal characterization of metaphysical modality. Then I consider a number of ways for reconciling ground with modality. The simplest and most elegant solution consists in adopting serious actualism, which is best captured within a first-order modal language with predicate abstraction governed by negative free logic. I also explore a number (...)
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  3. added 2020-04-13
    Presentism and Actualism.Harold Noonan - 2018 - Philosophia 47 (2):489-497.
    Presentism, some say, is either the analytic triviality that the only things that exist now are ones that exist now or the obviously false claim that the only things that have ever existed or will are ones that exist now. I argue that the correct understanding of presentism is the latter and so understood the claim is not obviously false. To appreciate this one has to see presentism as strictly analogous to anti-Lewisean actualism. What this modal analogue makes evident is (...)
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  4. added 2019-12-14
    Actualism Without Presentism? Not by Way of the Relativity Objection.Nina Emery - 2019 - Noûs 53 (4):963-986.
    Actualism is the view that only actually existing things exist. Presentism is the view that only presently existing things exist. In this paper, I argue that being an actualist without also being a presentist is not as easy as many philosophers seem to think. A common objection to presentism is that there is an unavoidable conflict between presentism and relativity theory. But actualists who do not wish to be presentists cannot point to this relativity objection alone to support their position. (...)
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  5. added 2019-08-20
    Modal Fragmentalism.Samuele Iaquinto - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    In this paper I will argue that there is a version of possibilism—inspired by the modal analogue of Kit Fine’s fragmentalism—that can be combined with a weakening of actualism. The reasons for analysing this view, which I call Modal Fragmentalism, are twofold. Firstly, it can enrich our understanding of the actualism/possibilism divide, by showing that, at least in principle, the adoption of possibilia does not correspond to an outright rejection of the actualist intuitions. Secondly, and more specifically, it can enrich (...)
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  6. added 2019-06-06
    Actuality and Existence in Possible Worlds: Is Actuality Only Relative?Stavros Kiriakakis - 2003 - Philosophical Inquiry 25 (1/2):211-218.
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  7. added 2019-06-06
    First-order modal theories. II: Propositions.Kit Fine - 1980 - Studia Logica 39:159.
    This paper is part of a general programme of developing and investigating particular first- order modal theories. In the paper, a modal theory of propositions is constructed under the assumption that there are genuinely singular propositions, ie. ones that contain individuals as constituents. Various results on decidability, axiomatizability and definability are established.
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  8. added 2019-03-26
    Another World Is Possible - Conference on David Lewis.Mattia Cozzi & Mattia Sorgon - 2011 - Rivista Italiana di Filosofia Analitica Junior 2 (2):141-176.
    “Another world is possible”, the conference in memory and in honor of David Lewis (1941-2001), took place at the University “Carlo Bo” of Urbino, on the 16th, 17th and 18th of June. In these three days several philosophers have presented and discussed some of the most interesting Lewisian themes, showing their current research development. -/- The conference has been structured into five 90 minutes plenary talks, each one followed by a session focused on a particular topic. Andrea Bottani from University (...)
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  9. added 2019-03-22
    Modal Validity and the Dispensability of the Actuality Operator.Vittorio Morato - 2014 - In Michal Dancak & Vit Punochar (eds.), The Logica Yearbook 2013. London, UK:
    In this paper, I claim that two ways of defining validity for modal languages (“real-world” and “general” validity), corresponding to distinction between a correct and an incorrect way of defining modal valid- ity, correspond instead to two substantive ways of conceiving modal truth. At the same time, I claim that the major logical manifestation of the real- world/general validity distinction in modal propositional languages with the actuality operator should not be taken seriously, but simply as a by-product of the way (...)
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  10. added 2019-03-15
    Unnecessary Existents.Joshua Spencer - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5-6):766-775.
    Timothy Williamson has argued for the radical conclusion that everything necessarily exists. In this paper, I assume that the conclusion of Williamson’s argument is more incredible than the denial of his premises. Under the assumption that Williamson is mistaken, I argue for the claim that there are some structured propositions which have constituents that might not have existed. If those constituents had not existed, then the propositions would have had an unfilled role; they would have been gappy. This gappy propositions (...)
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  11. added 2018-12-26
    Hardcore Actualism and Possible Non‐Existence.Samuel Kimpton‐Nye - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):122-131.
    According to hardcore actualism (HA), all modal truths are grounded in the concrete constituents of the actual world. In this paper, I discuss some problems faced by HA when it comes to accounting for certain alleged possibilities of non‐existence. I focus particular attention on Leech (2017)'s dilemma for HA, according to which HA must either sacrifice extensional correctness or admit mere possibilia. I propose a solution to Leech's dilemma, which relies on a distinction between weak and strong possibility. It remains (...)
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  12. added 2018-12-26
    Phenomenological Actualism. A Husserlian Metaphysics of Modality?Michael Wallner - 2014 - In Sonja Rinofner-Kreidl & Harald A. Wiltsche (eds.), Analytical and Continental Philosophy: Methods and Perspectives. Papers of the 37th International Wittgenstein Symposium. pp. 283-285.
    Considering the importance of possible-world semantics for modal logic and for current debates in the philosophy of modality, a phenomenologist may want to ask whether it makes sense to speak of “possible worlds” in phenomenology. The answer will depend on how "possible worlds" are to be interpreted. As that latter question is the subject of the debate about possibilism and actualism in contemporary modal metaphysics, my aim in this paper is to get a better grip on the former question by (...)
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  13. added 2018-12-26
    El estatus ontológico de los mundos posibles.Manuel Pérez Otero - 2009 - Critica 41 (122):69-96.
    Tanto la Fórmula Barcan como la postulación de possibilia contradicen los juicios intuitivos preteóricos de la mayoría de los sujetos, favorables al actualismo sobre la naturaleza de los mundos posibles. En este artículo discuto y rechazo dos argumentos que pretenderían contrarrestar tales juicios, y que conciben erróneamente la relación entre la semántica de mundos posibles y nuestros lenguajes naturales modales. El argumento más importante asume que el dominio de todas las entidades es idéntico al dominio de @. Desarrollo una interpretación (...)
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  14. added 2018-12-26
    Logic for Contigent Beings.Harry Deutsch - 1994 - Journal of Philosophical Research 19:273-329.
    One of the logical problems with which Arthur Prior struggled is the problem of finding, in Prior’s own phrase, a “logic for contingent beings.” The difficulty is that from minimal modal principles and classical quantification theory, it appears to follow immediately that every possible object is a necessary existent. The historical development of quantified modal logic can be viewed as a series of attempts---due variously to Kripke, Prior, Montague, and the fee-logicians---to solve this problem. In this paper, I review the (...)
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  15. added 2018-12-23
    In Defense of the Possibilism–Actualism Distinction.Christopher Menzel - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-27.
    In Modal Logic as Metaphysics, Timothy Williamson claims that the possibilism-actualism (P-A) distinction is badly muddled. In its place, he introduces a necessitism-contingentism (N-C) distinction that he claims is free of the confusions that purportedly plague the P-A distinction. In this paper I argue first that the P-A distinction, properly understood, is historically well-grounded and entirely coherent. I then look at the two arguments Williamson levels at the P-A distinction and find them wanting and show, moreover, that, when the N-C (...)
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  16. added 2018-06-12
    Modal Difficulties with Singular Propositions.Filip Kawczyński - 2015 - Filozofia Nauki 23 (1):39-58.
    Singular propositions are structured entities which sometimes include macroscopic concrete things as their elements. That leads to numerous difficulties, also those concerning modalities, good example of which is the famous argument developed by Plantinga, who concludes that accepting a theory of singular propositions leads to necessary existence of (apparently contingent) objects — elements of such propos¬itions. In the paper I present a possible way to avoid such harmful consequences and to undermine Plantinga’s reasoning. My approach involves the idea of two (...)
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  17. added 2018-03-08
    Relativized Metaphysical Modality: Index and Context.Benj Hellie, Adam Russell Murray & Jessica Wilson - forthcoming - In Otávio Bueno & Scott Shalkowski (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Modality. New York: Routledge.
    Relativized Metaphysical Modality (RMM: Murray and Wilson, 'Relativized metaphysical modality', Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, 2012; Murray, Perspectives on Modal Metaphysics, 2017) exploits 'two-dimensionalist' resources to metaphysical, rather than epistemological, ends: the second dimension offers perspective-dependence without contingency, diverting attacks on 'Classical' analyses of modals (in effect, analyses validating S5 and the Barcan Formulae). Here, we extend the RMM program in two directions. First, we harvest resources for RMM from Lewis's 1980 'Context--Index' (CI) framework: (a) the ban in CI on binding (...)
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  18. added 2018-03-05
    The Fragmentation of Being.Kris McDaniel - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
    Kris McDaniel argues that there are different ways in which things exist. For instance, past things don't exist in the same way as present things. Numbers don't exist in the same way as physical objects; nor do holes, which are real, but less real than what they are in. McDaniel's theory of being illuminates a wide range of metaphysical topics.
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  19. added 2018-02-17
    The Things That Aren’T Actually There.Richard Woodward - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 152 (2):155-166.
    The standard Kripkean semantic theories for quantified modal logic allow the individuals that exist at other worlds to vary from those that exist at the actual world. This causes a problem for those who deny the existence of non-actual individuals. I focus on two prominent strategies for solving this problem, due respectively to Bernard Linsky and Edward Zalta (who identify the possible individuals with the actual individuals) and Alvin Plantinga (who identifies the possible individuals with the individual essences). I argue, (...)
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  20. added 2018-01-10
    Actualism and Modal Semantics.José Zalabardo - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (1):35-49.
    According to actualism, modal reality is constructed out of valuations. According to possibilism, modal reality consists in a set of possible worlds, conceived as independent objects that assign truth values to propositions. According to possibilism, accounts of modal reality can intelligibly disagree with each other even if they agree on which valuations are contained in modal reality. According to actualism, these disagreements are completely unintelligible. An essentially actualist semantics for modal propositional logic specifies which sets of valuations are compatible with (...)
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  21. added 2018-01-03
    On Modal Meinongianism.Nicola Ciprotti - 2014 - In Marian David & Mauro Antonelli (eds.), Logical, Ontological, and Historical Contributions on the Philosophy of Alexius Meinong. De Gruyter. pp. 1-36.
    The paper has a two-fold objective; firstly, scrutinising neo-Meinongianism as recently championed by Francesco Berto. Secondly, trying and arguing that the dispute between Meinongianism and (various kinkds of) Actualism is hardly cutting some relevant ice.
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  22. added 2018-01-03
    Characterization and Existence in Modal Meinongianism.Fred Kroon - 2012 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 86 (1):23-34.
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  23. added 2018-01-03
    Worlds and Individuals, Possible and Otherwise, by Takashi Yagisawa. [REVIEW]J. Divers - 2011 - Mind 120 (478):570-574.
  24. added 2018-01-03
    Précis of Worlds and Individuals, Possible and Otherwise.Takashi Yagisawa - 2011 - Analytic Philosophy 52 (4):270-272.
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  25. added 2018-01-03
    Worlds and Individuals, Possible and Otherwise.R. Cameron - 2010 - Analysis 70 (4):783-792.
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  26. added 2018-01-03
    John Divers, Possible Worlds. [REVIEW]G. Fitch - 2003 - Philosophy in Review 23:332-333.
  27. added 2018-01-03
    Modality.Joseph Melia - 2003 - Routledge.
    This introduction to modality places the emphasis on the metaphysics of modality rather than on the formal semetics of quantified modal logic. The text begins by introducing students to the "de re/de dicto" distinction, conventionalist and conceptualist theories of modality and some of the key problems in modality, particularly Quine's criticisms. It then moves on to explain how possible worlds provide a solution to many of the problems in modality and how possible worlds themselves have been used to analyse notions (...)
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  28. added 2018-01-03
    The Metaphysics of Possibilia.William G. Lycan - 2002 - In Richard M. Gale (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to Metaphysics. Blackwell. pp. 303.
  29. added 2018-01-03
    Possible Worlds.John Divers - 2002 - Routledge.
    _Possible Worlds_ presents the first up-to-date and comprehensive examination of one of the most important topics in metaphysics. John Divers considers the prevalent philosophical positions, including realism, antirealism and the work of important writers on possible worlds such as David Lewis, evaluating them in detail.
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  30. added 2018-01-03
    Principles for Possibilia.Christopher Peacocke - 2002 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 51:119-145.
    It seems to be an obvious truth that There could be something that doesn't actually exist.That is, it seems to be obiously true that ◊∃×).It is sufficient for the truth of that there could be more people, or trees, or cars, than there actually are. It is also sufficient for the truth of that there could be some pepole, or trees, or cars that are distinct from all those that actually exist. Do and suchlike statements involve a commitment to possibilia, (...)
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  31. added 2018-01-03
    Possible Worlds and Possibilia.William G. Lycan - 1998 - In Stephen Laurence & Cynthia Macdonald (eds.), Contemporary Readings in the Foundations of Metaphysics. Blackwell. pp. 83-95.
  32. added 2018-01-03
    The Simplest Meinongian Logic.Jacek Pasniczek - 1993 - Logique Et Analyse 36:329-342.
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  33. added 2018-01-03
    On Possibility and Possible Worlds.Tony Daniel Roy - 1991 - Dissertation, University of California, Davis
    Prima facie, modal statements are important, but it is less than obvious what their truth conditions are; my dissertation is an exploration of the relation between possible worlds and truth conditions for modal statements. What is it in virtue of which a modal statement is true or false? Some respond via an appeal to possible worlds: possibly ${\cal A}$ iff ${\cal A}$ in at least one possible world; necessarily ${\cal A}$ iff ${\cal A}$ in every possible world. I argue that (...)
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  34. added 2018-01-03
    The Trouble with Possible Worlds.William G. Lycan - 1979 - In Michael J. Loux (ed.), The Possible and the Actual. Cornell University Press.
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  35. added 2018-01-03
    FINE, K. And PRIOR, A. N. "Worlds, Times and Selves". [REVIEW]R. Gallie - 1979 - Mind 88:625.
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  36. added 2018-01-03
    Critical Notice: Times, Worlds and Selves.Paul Needham - 1979 - Synthese 40 (2):389-408.
    Review of A. N. Prior and Kit Fine, Times, Worlds and Seh,es, Duckworth London, 1977.
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  37. added 2018-01-03
    Worlds, Times and Selves.G. J. F. Williams - 1978 - Philosophical Books 19 (2):80-81.
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  38. added 2018-01-03
    Actuality, Possibility, and Being.Frederic B. Fitch - 1950 - Review of Metaphysics 3 (3):367 - 384.
    Metaphysics is self-critical in a way and to an extent not to be found in any other field of study. This is an outcome of its extreme generality. Its subject-matter includes all subject-matters and hence all methodologies. Therefore metaphysics is also concerned with its own methodology. There is no more inclusive or more general study of methodology which might take upon itself the authority to criticize the methodology of metaphysics. Any such study would have to concern itself with all concepts (...)
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  39. added 2017-11-22
    Actualism, Serious Actualism, and Quantified Modal Logic.William H. Hanson - 2018 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 59 (2):233-284.
    This article studies seriously actualistic quantified modal logics. A key component of the language is an abstraction operator by means of which predicates can be created out of complex formulas. This facilitates proof of a uniform substitution theorem: if a sentence is logically true, then any sentence that results from substituting a predicate abstract for each occurrence of a simple predicate abstract is also logically true. This solves a problem identified by Kripke early in the modern semantic study of quantified (...)
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  40. added 2017-06-24
    Strongly Millian Second-Order Modal Logics.Bruno Jacinto - 2017 - Review of Symbolic Logic (3):1-58.
    The most common first- and second-order modal logics either have as theorems every instance of the Barcan and Converse Barcan formulae and of their second-order analogues, or else fail to capture the actual truth of every theorem of classical first- and second-order logic. In this paper we characterise and motivate sound and complete first- and second-order modal logics that successfully capture the actual truth of every theorem of classical first- and second-order logic and yet do not possess controversial instances of (...)
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  41. added 2017-04-26
    Impossibilia.Martin Vacek - 2016 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 20 (1):81-97.
    The paper defends the so-called extended modal realism, a theory according to which there are concrete impossible worlds. Firstly, modal realism is presented. Next, the way of how its ontology enriched by impossible worlds should look like in order to save its main theoretical virtues is pursued. Finally, I argue for a claim that metaphysical impossibility equals to dissimilarity between worlds instantiating distinct metaphysical structures.
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  42. added 2017-03-21
    Ficta as Contingently Nonconcrete.Lightfield Ceth - 2014 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 21 (4):431-457.
    Fictional realism allows direct reference theorists to provide a straightfor- ward analysis of the semantics of fictional discourse by admitting into their ontology a set of objects (ficta) that serve as the referents of fictional names. Ficta may be modeled using an axiomatic object theory, but actualist interpretations of the formalism have been the subject of recent objections. In this paper, I provide an interpretation of object theory’s formalism that is consistent with actualism and avoids these objections. Drawing on insights (...)
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  43. added 2017-03-20
    Thoughts Are Facts in Possible Worlds, Truths Are Facts of a Given World.Leszek NowAK - 1991 - Dialectica 45 (4):273-288.
    Mentalism preserves the triad: brain's state — thought — state of affairs whereas phy‐sicalism identifies the former two elements of it. Both stands meet the famous difficulties. But these presuppose ontological actualism. On the ground of ontological possibilism, claiming the existence of all possible worlds, one may identify a thought with the corresponding state of affairs in a possible world. Yet, possibilism turns out to be too narrow to carry such an identification and requires a significant generalization.
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  44. added 2017-02-28
    Logicism, Possibilism, and the Logic of Kantian Actualism.Andrew Stephenson - 2017 - Critique.
    In this extended critical discussion of 'Kant's Modal Metaphysics' by Nicholas Stang (OUP 2016), I focus on one central issue from the first chapter of the book: Stang’s account of Kant’s doctrine that existence is not a real predicate. In §2 I outline some background. In §§3-4 I present and then elaborate on Stang’s interpretation of Kant’s view that existence is not a real predicate. For Stang, the question of whether existence is a real predicate amounts to the question: ‘could (...)
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  45. added 2017-02-14
    Actualism Versus Possibilism in Formal Ontology.Nino Cocchiarella - 2010 - In Roberto Poli & Johanna Seibt (eds.), Theory and Applications of Ontology: Philosophical Perspectives. Springer Verlag. pp. 105--117.
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  46. added 2017-02-14
    Problems with the Actualist Account.Christopher Menzel - 2008 - In Edward Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  47. added 2017-02-13
    Change and Actuality.William Godfrey-Smith - 1980 - Philosophical Quarterly 30 (121):350-355.
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  48. added 2017-02-13
    Symposium: Actuality and Value.J. Laird, G. Dawes Hicks & W. G. De Burgh - 1931 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 10:81 - 134.
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  49. added 2017-02-13
    Actuality and Value.J. Laird, G. Hicks & W. G. de Burgh - 1931 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 10 (1):81-134.
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  50. added 2017-02-13
    The Problem of Possibilia.Cf Gupta - unknown
    Are there, in addition to the various actual objects that make up the world, various possible objects? Are there merely possible people, for example, or merely possible electrons, or even merely possible kinds? We certainly talk as if there were such things. Given a particular sperm and egg, I may wonder whether that particular child which would result from their union would have blue eyes. But if the sperm and egg are never in fact brought together, then there is no (...)
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