About this topic
Summary This category includes discussions of theories of possible worlds that either: a) hold that possible worlds are abstract entities or b) hold that, while there are no possible worlds, there are surrogates of possible worlds, or perhaps surrogates of the pluriverse of possible worlds, that can do much of the theoretical work possible worlds, or the pluriverse of possible worlds, are meant to do.
Key works Prominent accounts that hold that possible worlds are abstract objects include Plantinga 1974, and Stalnaker 1976. Prominent accounts that hold that there are surrogates of possible worlds include Melia 2001, and Sider 2002.
Introductions Two papers that provide a good introduction to ersatz theories of possible worlds are Menzel 2008 and Sider 2003. Two excellent book length introductions are Melia 2003 and Divers 2002.
Related categories

71 found
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1 — 50 / 71
  1. added 2018-03-01
    A Critical Introduction to the Metaphysics of Modality, by Andrea Borghini. [REVIEW]T. Parent - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):204-204.
  2. added 2018-02-17
    Counterpart Theory V. The Multiverse: Reply to Watson.Jim Stone - 2011 - Analysis 71 (1):96-100.
    Suppose that reality consists of parallel universes of every variety imaginable. No path through space and time leads from one to another, and each universe is causally isolated from the rest. Some physicists believe a ‘multiverse’ hypothesis not terribly distant from this one simplifies quantum mechanics and provides an elegant explanation of why our universe has its particular laws. Suppose as science advances we come to accept the multiverse hypothesis, so construed.
  3. added 2018-01-03
    A Presentist Approach to Possible Worlds.Takeshi Sakon - 2016 - Acta Analytica 31 (2):169-177.
    It is sometimes argued that there is an analogy between time and modality: What is true of time, mutatis mutandis, should be true of modality, and vice versa. However, I think that the importance of this analogy has not been truly appreciated in the literature. In this paper, I try to offer a plausible account of the relationship between time and modality based on what is known as presentist ersatzism. If the attempt succeeds, it will be shown that ersatzists about (...)
  4. added 2018-01-03
    Worlds, Times and Selves Revisited.Tero Tulenheimo - 2016 - Synthese 193 (11):3713-3725.
    In Prior’s tense-logical analysis, we can avoid mentioning instants in our language by construing them as propositions of a special kind. Instead of qualifying instants by predicates, we may qualify propositions by modalities. Prior shows that by changing the informal interpretation of our modal-like language, we can similarly attempt to avoid ontological commitments to worlds and even to selves and other bona fide individuals. As he notes, the paraphrasing strategy works too generally to be of direct metaphysical use. I wish (...)
  5. added 2018-01-03
    2. Merely Possible Possible Worlds.Robert Stalnaker - 2012 - In Mere Possibilities: Metaphysical Foundations of Modal Semantics. Princeton University Press. pp. 22-51.
  6. added 2018-01-03
    World-Stories and Maximality.Vittorio Morato - unknown
    According to many actualist theories of modality, possible worlds should be identified with maximal and consistent sets of actually existing propositions called "world-stories". A set of propositions is said to be maximal if and only if for every (actually existing) proposition P , either P or its negation belongs to the set. In my talk, I will claim that this conception of maximality is problematic in case what has to be represented by a world-story is the possible non existence of (...)
  7. added 2018-01-03
    Ersatz Possible Worlds.Joseph Melia - 2008 - In Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics. Blackwell. pp. 135--51.
  8. added 2018-01-03
    3. Worlds, Pluriverses, and Minds.Mark Heller - 2007 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 3:77.
  9. added 2018-01-03
    Bring Back the Magic.By Kevin Zaragoza - 2007 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (3):391–402.
    Magical ersatzism is the view that possible worlds are primitive abstract entities. In On the Plurality of Worlds, David Lewis presented what appeared to many to be a devastating argument against magical ersatzism. In this paper, I show that Lewis’ central argument does not succeed. Magical ersatzism remains a viable theory of possible worlds.
  10. added 2018-01-03
    Ways a World Might Be.Robert Stalnaker - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 133 (3):439 - 441.
    Robert Stalnaker is an actualist who holds that merely possible worlds are uninstantiated properties that might have been instantiated. Stalnaker also holds that there are no metaphysically impossible worlds: uninstantiated properties that couldn't have been instantiated. These views motivate Stalnaker's "two dimensional" account of the necessary a posteriori on which there is no single proposition that is both necessary and a posteriori. For a necessary proposition is true in all possible worlds. If there were necessary a posteriori propositions, that would (...)
  11. added 2018-01-03
    Alvin Plantinga.Michael C. Rea - 2006 - In D. Borchert (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. MacMillan Reference. pp. 579-581.
  12. added 2018-01-03
    Possible Worlds.Peter Forrest - 2004 - Mind 113 (449):171-174.
  13. added 2018-01-03
    John Divers, Possible Worlds. [REVIEW]G. Fitch - 2003 - Philosophy in Review 23:332-333.
  14. 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 (...)
  15. added 2018-01-03
    World and Object: Metaphysical Nihilism and Three Accounts of Worlds.Geraldine Coggins - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (1):353-360.
    The study of metaphysical possibility involves two central questions: What are possible worlds? Is there an empty possible world? In looking at the first question we consider the different accounts of possible worlds—Lewisian realism, ersatzism, etc. In looking at the second question we consider the discussions of metaphysical nihilism, the modal ontological arguments, etc. In this paper I am drawing these two questions together in order to show how the position we hold on one of these issues affects the position (...)
  16. added 2018-01-03
    World and Object: Metaphysical Nihilism and Three Accounts of Worlds.Geraldine Coggins - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (3):353–360.
    The study of metaphysical possibility involves two central questions: (i) What are possible worlds? (ii) Is there an empty possible world? In looking at the first question we consider the different accounts of possible worlds-Lewisian realism, ersatzism, etc. In looking at the second question we consider the discussions of metaphysical nihilism, the modal ontological arguments, etc. In this paper I am drawing these two questions together in order to show how the position we hold on one of these issues affects (...)
  17. added 2018-01-03
    World And Object: Metaphysical Nihilism And Three Accounts Of Worlds.Geraldine Coggins - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (3):353-360.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. added 2018-01-03
    Property Counterparts in Ersatz Worlds.Mark Heller - 1998 - Journal of Philosophy 95 (6):293-316.
  21. 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.
  22. added 2018-01-03
    Property Counterparts in Ersatz Worlds.Mark Heller - 1998 - Journal of Philosophy 95 (6):293.
  23. added 2018-01-03
    Actualism Again.A. P. Hazen - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 84 (2-3):155 - 181.
  24. added 2018-01-03
    Worlds as Complete Novels.A. P. Hazen - 1996 - Analysis 56 (1):33–38.
  25. added 2018-01-03
    In Defense of Linguistic Ersatzism.Tony Roy - 1995 - Philosophical Studies 80 (3):217 - 242.
  26. added 2018-01-03
    Worlds and Modality.Tony Roy - 1993 - Philosophical Review 102 (3):335-361.
  27. added 2018-01-03
    There is Nothing Magical About Possible Worlds.Richard B. Miller - 1990 - Mind 99 (395):453-457.
  28. added 2018-01-03
    Actual Minds, Possible Worlds.Jerome S. Bruner - 1986
  29. added 2018-01-03
    Two Concepts of Possible Worlds.Invvagen Peter Van - 1986 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 11 (1):185-213.
  30. added 2018-01-03
    Ways Worlds Could Be.Peter Forrest - 1986 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 64 (1):15 – 24.
  31. added 2018-01-03
    Are There Set Theoretic Possible Worlds?Selmer Bringsjord - 1985 - Analysis 45 (1):64 -.
  32. added 2018-01-03
    Troubles with Plantinga's Actualism.Donald Brownstein - 1985 - Theoria 51 (3):174-189.
  33. added 2018-01-03
    Sets and Possible Worlds.John E. Nolt - 1983 - Philosophical Studies 44 (1):21-35.
  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.
  35. added 2018-01-03
    FINE, K. And PRIOR, A. N. "Worlds, Times and Selves". [REVIEW]R. Gallie - 1979 - Mind 88:625.
  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.
  37. added 2016-12-12
    Reducing Possibilities to Language.J. Melia - 2001 - Analysis 61 (1):19-29.
    Ehring, D. 1997. Causation and Persistence. New York: Oxford University Press. Fair, D. 1979. Causation and the flow of energy. Erkenntnis 14: 219–50. Goldman, A. 1977. Perceptual objects. Synthese 35: 257–84. Lewis, D. 1986a. Causation. In Philosophical Papers Vol. 2, 159–213. New York.
  38. added 2016-12-12
    Two Concepts of Possible Worlds.van Inwagen Peter - 1986 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 11 (1):185-213.
  39. added 2016-12-08
    Indexicality and Actuality.Peter van Inwagen - 1980 - Philosophical Review 89 (3):403-426.
  40. added 2016-09-28
    A Problem for Actualism About Possible Worlds.Alan McMichael - 1983 - Philosophical Review 92 (1):49-66.
    Actualists who believe in possible worlds typically regard them as "abstract" objects of some special sort. For example, Alvin Plantinga takes worlds to be maximal possible states-of-affairs, all of which "exist", as actualism requires, but only one of which "obtains". Views like Plantinga's run into difficulty in the interpretation of statements of "iterated" modality, statements about what is "possible" for individuals that "could" exist but that do not actually exist. These statements seem to require the existence of "singular" states-Of-affairs that (...)
  41. added 2016-05-23
    Modal Truthmakers, Truth Conditions, and Analyses: Or, How to Avoid the Humphrey Objection.Chad Vance - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (2):145-159.
    Truthmakers, truth conditions, and analyses are closely related, but distinct in rather important ways. A failure to properly appreciate their differences has led to some confusion regarding the role that possible worlds ought to play with respect to modality. Those philosophers who initially proposed the existence of possible worlds were understood as providing an analysis of modality. More recently, many have interpreted them as providing modal truthmakers. But, possible worlds are only suited to serve as truth conditions for modal truths. (...)
  42. added 2016-03-23
    Topics in the Philosophy of Possible Worlds.Daniel Patrick Nolan - 2002 - Routledge.
    This book discusses a range of important issues in current philosophical work on the nature of possible worlds. Areas investigated include the theories of the nature of possible worlds, general questions about metaphysical analysis and questions about the direction of dependence between what is necessary or possible and what could be.
  43. added 2016-02-25
    On Lewis Against Magic: A Study of Method in Metaphysics.A. R. J. Fisher - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2335-2353.
    David Lewis objected to theories that posit necessary connections between distinct entities and to theories that involve a magical grasping of their primitives. In On the Plurality of Worlds, Lewis objected to nondescript ersatzism on these grounds. The literature contains several reconstructions of Lewis’ critique of nondescript ersatzism but none of these interpretations adequately address his main argument because they fail to see that Lewis’ critique is based on broader methodological considerations. I argue that a closer look at his methodology (...)
  44. added 2016-02-05
    Theories of Actuality.Robert Merrihew Adams - 1974 - Noûs 8 (3):211-231.
  45. added 2016-02-01
    Theories of Actuality.Robert Merrihew Adams - 1979 - In Michael J. Loux (ed.), The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality. Cornell University Press. pp. 190.
  46. added 2015-12-07
    Ridurre i mondi possibili al linguaggio.Vittorio Morato - 2006 - Annali Del Dipartimento di Filosofia 12:195-213.
    Aim of this paper is to present and evaluate linguistic ersatzism, an actualist metaphysics of modality according to which possible worlds are maximal and consistent sets of sentences. In the first section, I make some general considerations about reductive theories of modality and the relation between modality and possible worlds, in the second I present a specific version of linguistic ersatzism and in the last section I present what I take to be the major problem for this kind of theories, (...)
  47. added 2015-10-20
    Possible Worlds.Christopher Menzel - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    This article includes a basic overview of possible world semantics and a relatively comprehensive overview of three central philosophical conceptions of possible worlds: Concretism (represented chiefly by Lewis), Abstractionism (represented chiefly by Plantinga), and Combinatorialism (represented chiefly by Armstrong).
  48. added 2015-10-20
    On Set Theoretic Possible Worlds.Christopher Menzel - 1986 - Analysis 46 (2):68 - 72.
  49. added 2015-09-25
    Necessary Beings: An Essay on Ontology, Modality, and the Relations Between Them.Bob Hale - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    Bob Hale presents a broadly Fregean approach to metaphysics, according to which ontology and modality are mutually dependent upon one another. He argues that facts about what kinds of things exist depend on facts about what is possible. Modal facts are fundamental, and have their basis in the essences of things--not in meanings or concepts.
  50. added 2015-09-25
    Transworld Identity for the Ersatzist.Mark Heller - 2002 - Philosophical Topics 30 (1):77-101.
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