Impossible Worlds

Edited by Barak Krakauer (University of California, Santa Cruz)
About this topic
Summary Impossible worlds are structures that have been proposed to make sense of certain kinds of modal phenomena. Unlike the possible worlds, impossible worlds are incomplete, inconsistent, or both; nonetheless, impossible worlds are employed in a similar way, intended to represent or model certain kinds of scenarios. A possible worlds theorist may attempt to give an account of propositions, properties, intentional attitudes, or various flavors of necessity and possibility, yet run into trouble in "hyperintensional" contexts: she might, for example, want to distinguish properties that are necessarily co-extensive (such as triangularity and trilateraltiy) or propositions that are true in the same set of worlds (such as <2 + 2 = 4> and ). Impossible worlds could be added to such a system to make the kinds of distinctions in modal space that seem to be required, since there would be impossible worlds where a figure has three sides but not three angles, or where all bachelors are male but 2 + 2 does not equal 4. Some impossible worlds theorists hold that these structures are sui generis entities, entities of the same kind as possible worlds, or entities constructed from the possible worlds.
Introductions Francesco Berto's Stanford Encyclopedia entry is a good introduction to some of the motivations for impossible worlds as well as their metaphysics. 
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  1. The Problem of Communication in De Se Thoughts.Aran Arslan - manuscript
    The problem of communication in de se thoughts is the problem of communication of first-person or self-locating thoughts across the speakers of a conversation. The problem mainly stems from the lack of a proper account of attitude and content — an account that is supposed to explain whether or how the context of linguistic utterances is related to the semantic content of a sentence, assertion and belief. In this paper, after introducing two new semantic items, namely, almost-impossible and almost-necessary propositions, (...)
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  2. Conservative Meinongianism: An Actualist+ Ontology.T. Parent - manuscript
    [Draft substantially revised, September 2021] David Lewis acclimated us to talk of “nonactual concreta that exist,” regarding talking donkeys and the like. I shall argue that this was not for the best, and try to normalize a way of describing them as “actual concreta that do not exist.” The basis of this is a defense of the Meinongian thesis “there are objects of which it is true that there are no such objects,” re: fictitious and illusory objects. I first formulate (...)
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  3. Against S5: Impossible Worlds in the Logic of What Might Have Been.Nathan Salmon - manuscript
    The dogma that the propositional logic of metaphysical modality is S5 is rebutted in related installments (previously published and unpublished essays).
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  4. Could Have_ and _Would Have.Nathan Salmón - manuscript
    An alternative to the classical Stalnaker-Lewis account of subjunctive conditionals is outlined. A distinction is drawn between a basic notion of “wouldness” and a more full-bloodedly modal variant, each with its own logic. Previous philosophers have challenged the alleged vacuity of counterpossibles using logico-mathematically impossible worlds. Here the vacuity thesis as well as other orthodox alleged logical principles are challenged instead through consideration of a logico-mathematically possible world. The impossible-world theorist’s Strangeness of Impossibility Condition is also challenged using the same (...)
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  5. Necessities Overboard: A Reply to Lange.Harjit Bhogal - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    In this discussion note I reply to some criticisms that Marc Lange (2022) has directed at my Humean view of scientific laws (Bhogal, 2020) -- about whether Humean views can make sense of the apparent fact that laws are counterfactually invariant. The key idea of my response is that the Humean should think of their reduction of the laws to the Humean mosaic as closely related to other views where we reduce one domain to another but still allow that the (...)
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  6. What Chance Doesn’t Know.Harjit Bhogal & Michael Townsen Hicks - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    Humean accounts of chance have a problem with undermining futures: they have to accept that some series of events are physically possible and have a nonzero chance but are inconsistent with the chances being what they are. This contradicts basic platitudes about chances (such as those given by Bigelow et al. (1993) and Schaffer (2007)) and leads to inconsistency between plausible constraints on credences. We show how Humeans can avoid these contradictions by drawing on metaphysically impossible worlds that are, nevertheless, (...)
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  7. Probabilistically coherent credences despite opacity.Christian List - forthcoming - Economics and Philosophy:1-10.
    Real human agents, even when they are rational by everyday standards, sometimes assign different credences to objectively equivalent statements, such as “George Orwell is a writer” and “Eric Arthur Blair is a writer”, or credences less than 1 to necessarily true statements, such as not-yet-proven theorems of arithmetic. Anna Mahtani calls this the phenomenon of “opacity” (a form of hyperintensionality). Opaque credences seem probabilistically incoherent, which goes against a key modelling assumption of probability theory. I sketch a modelling strategy for (...)
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  8. Counterpossibles, Consequence and Context.Daniel Nolan - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    What is the connection between valid inference and true conditionals? Many conditional logics require that when A is a logical consequence of B, "if B then A" is true. Taking counterlogical conditionals seriously leads to systems that permit counterexamples to that general rule. However, this leaves those of us who endorse non-trivial accounts of counterpossible conditionals to explain what the connection between conditionals and consequence is. The explanation of the connection also answers a common line of objection to non-trivial counterpossibles, (...)
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  9. Should We Embrace Impossible Worlds Due to the Flaws of Normal Modal Logic?Til Eyinck - 2024 - Logica Universalis 18:1-14.
    Some philosophers advance the claim that the phenomena of logical omniscience and of the indiscernibility of metaphysical statements, which arise in (certain) interpretations of normal modal logic, provide strong reasons in favour of impossible world approaches. These two specific lines of argument will be presented and discussed in this paper. Contrary to the recent much-held view that the characteristics of these two phenomena provide us with strong reasons to adopt impossible world approaches, the view defended here is that no such (...)
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  10. An Algorithmic Impossible-Worlds Model of Belief and Knowledge.Zeynep Soysal - 2024 - Review of Symbolic Logic 17 (2):586-610.
    In this paper, I develop an algorithmic impossible-worlds model of belief and knowledge that provides a middle ground between models that entail that everyone is logically omniscient and those that are compatible with even the most egregious kinds of logical incompetence. In outline, the model entails that an agent believes (knows) φ just in case she can easily (and correctly) compute that φ is true and thus has the capacity to make her actions depend on whether φ. The model thereby (...)
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  11. The Many Faces of Impossibility.Koji Tanaka & Alexander Sandgren - 2024 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Possible worlds have revolutionised philosophy and some related fields. But, in recent years, tools based on possible worlds have been found to be limited in many respects. Impossible worlds have been introduced to overcome these limitations. This Element aims to raise and answer the neglected question of what is characteristically impossible about impossible worlds. The Element sheds new light on the nature of impossible worlds. It also aims to analyse the main features and utility of impossible worlds and examine how (...)
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  12. Impossible worlds.Martin Vacek - 2023 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Actual facts abound and actual propositions are true because there is a world, the actual world, that the propositions correctly describe. Possibilities abound as well. The actual world reveals what there is, but it is far from clear that it also reveals what there might be. Philosophers have been aware of this limitation and have introduced the notion of a possible world. Finally, impossibilities abound because it turned out that possibilities do not exhaust the modal space as a whole. Beside (...)
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  13. Law-Abiding Causal Decision Theory.Timothy Luke Williamson & Alexander Sandgren - 2023 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 74 (4):899-920.
    In this paper we discuss how Causal Decision Theory should be modified to handle a class of problematic cases involving deterministic laws. Causal Decision Theory, as it stands, is problematically biased against your endorsing deterministic propositions (for example it tells you to deny Newtonian physics, regardless of how confident you are of its truth). Our response is that this is not a problem for Causal Decision Theory per se, but arises because of the standard method for assessing the truth of (...)
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  14. Counterfactuals of Ontological Dependence.Sam Baron - 2022 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 8 (2):278-299.
    A great deal has been written about 'would' counterfactuals of causal dependence. Comparatively little has been said regarding 'would' counterfactuals of ontological dependence. The standard Lewis-Stalnaker semantics is inadequate for handling such counterfactuals. That's because some of these counterfactuals are counterpossibles, and the standard Lewis-Stalnaker semantics trivializes for counterpossibles. Fortunately, there is a straightforward extension of the Lewis-Stalnaker semantics available that handles counterpossibles: simply take Lewis's closeness relation that orders possible worlds and unleash it across impossible worlds. To apply the (...)
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  15. Classical counterpossibles.Rohan French, Patrick Girard & David Ripley - 2022 - Review of Symbolic Logic 15 (1):259-275.
    We present four classical theories of counterpossibles that combine modalities and counterfactuals. Two theories are anti-vacuist and forbid vacuously true counterfactuals, two are quasi-vacuist and allow counterfactuals to be vacuously true when their antecedent is not only impossible, but also inconceivable. The theories vary on how they restrict the interaction of modalities and counterfactuals. We provide a logical cartography with precise acceptable boundaries, illustrating to what extent nonvacuism about counterpossibles can be reconciled with classical logic.
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  16. Impossible Worlds and the Safety of Philosophical Beliefs.Zack Garrett & Zachariah Wrublewski - 2022 - Metaphilosophy (2-3):1-18.
    Epistemological accounts that make use of a safety condition on knowledge, historically, face serious problems regarding beliefs that are necessarily true. This is because necessary truths are true in all possible worlds, so such beliefs can be safe even when the bases for the beliefs are epistemically problematic. The existence of such problematically safe beliefs would undermine a major motivation for the condition itself: the ability to evaluate how well a belief tracks the truth. In this paper, we’ll argue that (...)
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  17. Modal Realism is a Newcomb Problem.Scott Hill - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (6):2993-3005.
    Some philosophers worry that if modal realism is true, you have no reason to prevent evils. For if you prevent an evil, you’ll have a counterpart somewhere that allows a similar evil. And if you refrain, your counterpart will end up preventing the relevant evil. Either way one evil is prevented and one is allowed. Your act makes no difference. I argue that this is mistaken. If modal realism is true, you are in a variant of Newcomb’s Problem. And if (...)
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  18. Impossible Worlds, by Francesco Berto and Mark Jago. [REVIEW]Koji Tanaka - 2022 - Mind 131 (521):292-301.
    Book Review of Impossible Worlds, by Francesco Berto and Mark Jago. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.
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  19. Hyperintensionality.Francesco Berto & Daniel Nolan - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An overview of hyperintensionality is provided. Hyperintensional languages have expressions with meanings that are more fine-grained than necessary equivalence. That is, the expressions may necessarily co-apply and yet be distinct in meaning. Adequately accounting for theories cast in hyperintensional languages is important in the philosophy of language; the philosophy of mind; metaphysics; and elsewhere. This entry presents a number of areas in which hyperintensionality is important; a range of approaches to theorising about hyperintensional matters; and a range of debates that (...)
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  20. Everettian Quantum Mechanics and the Metaphysics of Modality.Jacqueline Harding - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (4):939-964.
    This article sits at a point of intersection between the philosophy of physics and the metaphysics of modality. There are clear similarities between Everettian quantum mechanics and various modal metaphysical theories, but there have hitherto been few attempts at exploring how the two topics relate. In this article, I build on a series of recent papers by Wilson ([2011], [2012], [2013]), who argues that Everettian quantum mechanics’ connections with traditional modal metaphysics are vital in defending it against objections. I show (...)
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  21. Counterpossibles.Alexander W. Kocurek - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (11):e12787.
    A counterpossible is a counterfactual with an impossible antecedent. Counterpossibles present a puzzle for standard theories of counterfactuals, which predict that all counterpossibles are semantically vacuous. Moreover, counterpossibles play an important role in many debates within metaphysics and epistemology, including debates over grounding, causation, modality, mathematics, science, and even God. In this article, we will explore various positions on counterpossibles as well as their potential philosophical consequences.
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  22. Logic talk.Alexander W. Kocurek - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13661-13688.
    Sentences about logic are often used to show that certain embedding expressions are hyperintensional. Yet it is not clear how to regiment “logic talk” in the object language so that it can be compositionally embedded under such expressions. In this paper, I develop a formal system called hyperlogic that is designed to do just that. I provide a hyperintensional semantics for hyperlogic that doesn’t appeal to logically impossible worlds, as traditionally understood, but instead uses a shiftable parameter that determines the (...)
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  23. Sensitivity, safety, and impossible worlds.Guido Melchior - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):713-729.
    Modal knowledge accounts that are based on standards possible-worlds semantics face well-known problems when it comes to knowledge of necessities. Beliefs in necessities are trivially sensitive and safe and, therefore, trivially constitute knowledge according to these accounts. In this paper, I will first argue that existing solutions to this necessity problem, which accept standard possible-worlds semantics, are unsatisfactory. In order to solve the necessity problem, I will utilize an unorthodox account of counterfactuals, as proposed by Nolan, on which we also (...)
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  24. Impossible Fiction Part II: Lessons for Mind, Language and Epistemology.Daniel Nolan - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (2):1-12.
    Abstract Impossible fictions have lessons to teach us about linguistic representation, about mental content and concepts, and about uses of conceivability in epistemology. An adequate theory of impossible fictions may require theories of meaning that can distinguish between different impossibilities; a theory of conceptual truth that allows us to make useful sense of a variety of conceptual falsehoods; and a theory of our understanding of necessity and possibility that permits impossibilities to be conceived. After discussing these questions, strategies for resisting (...)
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  25. The Counteridentical Account of Explanatory Identities.Isaac Wilhelm - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (2):57-78.
    Many explanations rely on identity facts. In this paper, I propose an account of how identity facts explain: roughly, the fact that A is identical to B explains another fact whenever that other fact depends, counterfactually, on A being identical to B. As I show, this account has many virtues. It avoids several problems facing accounts of explanatory identities, and when precisified using structural equations, it can be used to defend interventionist accounts of causation against an objection.
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  26. On the Substitution of Identicals in Counterfactual Reasoning.Alexander W. Kocurek - 2020 - Noûs 54 (3):600-631.
    It is widely held that counterfactuals, unlike attitude ascriptions, preserve the referential transparency of their constituents, i.e., that counterfactuals validate the substitution of identicals when their constituents do. The only putative counterexamples in the literature come from counterpossibles, i.e., counterfactuals with impossible antecedents. Advocates of counterpossibilism, i.e., the view that counterpossibles are not all vacuous, argue that counterpossibles can generate referential opacity. But in order to explain why most substitution inferences into counterfactuals seem valid, counterpossibilists also often maintain that counterfactuals (...)
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  27. Two Kinds of Logical Impossibility.Alexander Sandgren & Koji Tanaka - 2020 - Noûs 54 (4):795-806.
    In this paper, we argue that a distinction ought to be drawn between two ways in which a given world might be logically impossible. First, a world w might be impossible because the laws that hold at w are different from those that hold at some other world (say the actual world). Second, a world w might be impossible because the laws of logic that hold in some world (say the actual world) are violated at w. We develop a novel (...)
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  28. Truth in Fiction, Impossible Worlds, and Belief Revision.Francesco Berto & Christopher Badura - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (1):178-193.
    We present a theory of truth in fiction that improves on Lewis's [1978] ‘Analysis 2’ in two ways. First, we expand Lewis's possible worlds apparatus by adding non-normal or impossible worlds. Second, we model truth in fiction as belief revision via ideas from dynamic epistemic logic. We explain the major objections raised against Lewis's original view and show that our theory overcomes them.
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  29. Impossible Worlds.Francesco Berto & Mark Jago - 2019 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by Mark Jago.
    Impossible Worlds focuses on an exciting new theory in philosophy, with applications in metaphysics, logic, and the theory of meaning. Its central topic is: how do we meaningfully talk and reason about situations which, unbeknownst to us, are impossible? This issue emerges as a central problem in contemporary philosophical accounts of meaning, information, knowledge, belief, fiction, conditionality, and counterfactual supposition. The book is written bytwo of the leading philosophers in the area and contains original research of relevance to professional philosophers (...)
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  30. An Excess of Dialetheias: In Defence of Genuine Impossible Worlds.Ira Kiourti - 2019 - In Adam Rieger & Gareth Young (eds.), Dialetheism and its Applications. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. pp. 81-100.
    David Lewis famously dismisses genuine impossible worlds on the basis that a contradiction bound within the scope of his modifier ‘at w’ amounts to a contradiction tout court—an unacceptable consequence. Motivated by the rising demand for impossible worlds in philosophical theorising, this paper examines whether anything coherent can be said about an extension of Lewis’ theory of genuine, concrete possible worlds into genuine, concrete impossible worlds. Lewis’ reasoning reveals two ways to carve out conceptual space for the genuinely impossible. The (...)
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  31. Hyperlogic: A System for Talking about Logics.Alexander W. Kocurek - 2019 - Proceedings for the 22nd Amsterdam Colloquium.
    Sentences about logic are often used to show that certain embedding expressions, including attitude verbs, conditionals, and epistemic modals, are hyperintensional. Yet it not clear how to regiment “logic talk” in the object language so that it can be compositionally embedded under such expressions. This paper does two things. First, it argues against a standard account of logic talk, viz., the impossible worlds semantics. It is shown that this semantics does not easily extend to a language with propositional quantifiers, which (...)
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  32. On the Pragmatic Approach to Counterpossibles.Maciej Sendłak - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (2):523-532.
    Nina Emery and Christopher Hill proposed a pragmatic approach toward the debate about counterpossibles—i.e., counterfactuals with impossible antecedents. The core of this approach is to move the burden of the problem from the notion of truth value into the notion of assertion. This is meant to explain our pre-theoretical intuitions about counterpossibles while claiming that each and every counterpossible is vacuously true. The aim of this paper is to indicate a problematic aspect of this view.
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  33. Fictionalism, the Safety Result and counterpossibles.Lukas Skiba - 2019 - Analysis 79 (4):647-658.
    Fictionalists maintain that possible worlds, numbers or composite objects exist only according to theories which are useful but false. Hale, Divers and Woodward have provided arguments which threaten to show that fictionalists must be prepared to regard the theories in question as contingently, rather than necessarily, false. If warranted, this conclusion would significantly limit the appeal of the fictionalist strategy rendering it unavailable to anyone antecedently convinced that mathematics and metaphysics concern non-contingent matters. I try to show that their arguments (...)
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  34. Williamson on Counterpossibles.Berto Francesco, David Ripley, Graham Priest & Rohan French - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (4):693-713.
    A counterpossible conditional is a counterfactual with an impossible antecedent. Common sense delivers the view that some such conditionals are true, and some are false. In recent publications, Timothy Williamson has defended the view that all are true. In this paper we defend the common sense view against Williamson’s objections.
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  35. Constitutive Moral Luck and Strawson's Argument for the Impossibility of Moral Responsibility.Robert J. Hartman - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (2):165-183.
    Galen Strawson’s Basic Argument is that because self-creation is required to be truly morally responsible and self-creation is impossible, it is impossible to be truly morally responsible for anything. I contend that the Basic Argument is unpersuasive and unsound. First, I argue that the moral luck debate shows that the self-creation requirement appears to be contradicted and supported by various parts of our commonsense ideas about moral responsibility, and that this ambivalence undermines the only reason that Strawson gives for the (...)
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  36. Impossibility and Impossible Worlds.Daniel Nolan - 2018 - In Otávio Bueno & Scott A. Shalkowski (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Modality. New York: Routledge. pp. 40-48.
    Possible worlds have found many applications in contemporary philosophy: from theories of possibility and necessity, to accounts of conditionals, to theories of mental and linguistic content, to understanding supervenience relationships, to theories of properties and propositions, among many other applications. Almost as soon as possible worlds started to be used in formal theories in logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and elsewhere, theorists started to wonder whether impossible worlds should be postulated as well. In many applications, possible worlds (...)
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  37. Logically Impossible Worlds.Koji Tanaka - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Logic 15 (2):489.
    What does it mean for the laws of logic to fail? My task in this paper is to answer this question. I use the resources that Routley/Sylvan developed with his collaborators for the semantics of relevant logics to explain a world where the laws of logic fail. I claim that the non-normal worlds that Routley/Sylvan introduced are exactly such worlds. To disambiguate different kinds of impossible worlds, I call such worlds logically impossible worlds. At a logically impossible world, the laws (...)
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  38. Impossible Worlds and the Logic of Imagination.Francesco Berto - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (6):1277-1297.
    I want to model a finite, fallible cognitive agent who imagines that p in the sense of mentally representing a scenario—a configuration of objects and properties—correctly described by p. I propose to capture imagination, so understood, via variably strict world quantifiers, in a modal framework including both possible and so-called impossible worlds. The latter secure lack of classical logical closure for the relevant mental states, while the variability of strictness captures how the agent imports information from actuality in the imagined (...)
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  39. Granularity problems.Jens Christian Bjerring & Wolfgang Schwarz - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (266):22-37.
    Possible-worlds accounts of mental or linguistic content are often criticized for being too coarse-grained. To make room for more fine-grained distinctions among contents, several authors have recently proposed extending the space of possible worlds by "impossible worlds". We argue that this strategy comes with serious costs: we would effectively have to abandon most of the features that make the possible-worlds framework attractive. More generally, we argue that while there are intuitive and theoretical considerations against overly coarse-grained notions of content, the (...)
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  40. Impossible Worlds and Metaphysical Explanation: Comments on Kment’s Modality and Explanatory Reasoning.Nina Emery & Christopher S. Hill - 2017 - Analysis 77 (1):134-148.
    In this critical notice of Kment's _Modality and Explanatory Reasoning_, we focus on Kment’s arguments for impossible worlds and on a key part of his discussion of the interactions between modality and explanation – the analogy that he draws between scientific and metaphysical explanation.
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  41. Co‐Hyperintensionality.Federico L. G. Faroldi - 2017 - Ratio 30 (3):270-287.
    Co-hyperintensionality, or hyperintensional equivalence, is a relation holding between two or more contents that can be substituted in a hyperintensional context salva veritate. I argue that two strategies used to provide criteria for co-hyperintensionality fail. I argue that there is no generalized notion of co-hyperintensionality that meets plausible desiderata, by showing that the opposite thesis leads to falsity. As a conclusion, I suggest to take co-hyperintensionality as a primitive and I provide a general criterion of co-hyperintensionality whose content depends on (...)
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  42. Content, the Possible and the Impossible.Felappi Giulia - 2017 - Analysis 77 (3):648-658.
    What are contents? The answer provided by the possible worlds approach is that contents are sets of possible worlds. This approach incurs serious problems and to solve them Jago suggests, in The Impossible, to get rid of the ‘possible’ bit and allowing some impossible worlds to be part of the game. In this note, I briefly consider the metaphysics behind Jago’s account and then focus on whether Jago is right in thinking that his worlds and his worlds only can do (...)
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  43. Against Lewisian Modal Realism from a Metaontological Point of View.Tora Koyama - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (3):1207-1225.
    Modal realism is an ontological position made familiar by David Lewis, according to which there exist possible worlds other than the actual world that we inhabit. It is hard to uphold modal realism, and indeed modal realism has only a few advocates. However, as most contemporary metaphysicians agree, this does not mean that it is easy to refute modal realism. In this paper, I argue against modal realism from a metaontological point of view. First, I provide a precise formulation of (...)
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  44. The Contingency Problem for Neo-Conventionalism.Jonathan Livingstone-Banks - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (3):653-671.
    Traditional conventionalism about modality claims that a proposition is necessarily true iff it is true by convention. In the wake of the widespread repudiation of truth-byconvention, traditional conventionalism has fallen out of favour. However, a family of theories of modality have arisen that, whilst abandoning truth-by-convention, retain the spirit of traditional conventionalism. These ‘neo-conventionalist’ theories surpass their forebears and don’t fall victim to the criticisms inherited through truth-by-convention. However, not all criticisms levelled at traditional conventionalism target truth-by-convention. Any conventional theory (...)
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  45. Causal Counterfactuals and Impossible Worlds.Daniel Nolan - 2017 - In Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock & Huw Price (eds.), Making a Difference. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 14-32.
    A standing challenge in the theory of counterfactuals is to solve the “deviation problem”. Consider ordinary counterfactuals involving an antecedent concerning a difference from the actual course of events at a particular time, and a consequent concerning, at least in part, what happens at a later time. In the possible worlds framework, the problem is often put in terms of which are the relevant antecedent worlds. Desiderata for the solution include that the relevant antecedent worlds be governed by the actual (...)
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  46. Content Externalism and Quine’s Criterion are Incompatible.T. Parent - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (3):625-639.
    Externalism holds that the content of our utterances and thoughts are determined partly by the environment. Here, I offer an argument which suggests that externalism is incompatible with a natural view about ontological commitment--namely, the Quinean view that such commitments are fixed by the range of the variables in your theory. The idea in brief is that if Oscar mistakenly believes that water = XYZ, the externalist ontologically commits Oscar to two waterish kinds, whereas the Quinean commits him to one (...)
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  47. Here Goes Nothing.Lee Barry - 2016 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 12 (1):27-45.
    Subtraction arguments support the view that there might have been nothing. The best-developed SA to date, due to David Efird and Tom Stoneham, is claimed by its authors to entail that there are worlds in which there are space-time points but no concrete objects: Efird and Stoneham hold that space-time points are not concrete and that a world made up from them alone contains nothing concrete. In this paper it is argued that whole space-times are concrete and subtractable, so that (...)
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  48. Omission impossible.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2575-2589.
    This paper gives a framework for understanding causal counterpossibles, counterfactuals imbued with causal content whose antecedents appeal to metaphysically impossible worlds. Such statements are generated by omissive causal claims that appeal to metaphysically impossible events, such as “If the mathematician had not failed to prove that 2+2=5, the math textbooks would not have remained intact.” After providing an account of impossible omissions, the paper argues for three claims: (i) impossible omissions play a causal role in the actual world, (ii) causal (...)
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  49. Seeing the Impossible.Andreas Elpidorou - 2016 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 74 (1):11-21.
    I defend the view that it is not impossible to see the impossible. I provide two examples in which one sees the impossible and defend these examples from potential objections. Theories of depiction should make room for impossible depictions.
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  50. On modal Meinongianism.Thibaut Giraud - 2016 - Synthese 193 (10).
    Modal Meinongianism is a form of Meinongianism whose main supporters are Graham Priest and Francesco Berto. The main idea of modal Meinongianism is to restrict the logical deviance of Meinongian non-existent objects to impossible worlds and thus prevent it from “contaminating” the actual world: the round square is round and not round, but not in the actual world, only in an impossible world. In the actual world, supposedly, no contradiction is true. I will show that Priest’s semantics, as originally formulated (...)
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