Possible Worlds

Edited by Dan Marshall (Lingnan University)
About this topic
Summary Possible worlds are complete ways things could be. The metaphysics of possible worlds became a central concern of philosophers in the second half of the twentieth century with the advent of modal logic and possible worlds semantics. Important debates about possible worlds include whether there are any possible worlds, whether possible worlds are abstract or concrete, and whether possible worlds are constructed out other types of entities, such as sets, properties or propositions.
Key works Prominent theories of possible worlds include: the modal realism of Lewis 1986; ersatz theories such as Carnap 1947 , Jeffrey 1965, Hintikka 1969, Plantinga 1974, Stalnaker 1976, Melia 2001, and Sider 2002; and fictionalist theories such as Rosen 1990, and Armstrong 1989.
Introductions Two papers that provide a good introduction to possible worlds are Menzel 2008 and Sider 2003. Two excellent book length introductions to possible worlds are Melia 2003 and Divers 2002, the latter being more advanced than the former.
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  1. 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 (...)
  2. Modal Insurance: Probabilities, Risk, and Degrees of Luck.Evan Malone - forthcoming - Southwest Philosophical Studies.
    Many widely divergent accounts of luck have been offered or employed in discussing an equally wide range of philosophical topics. We should, then, expect to find some unified philosophical conception of luck of which moral luck, epistemic luck, and luck egalitarianism are species. One of the attempts to provide such an account is that offered by Duncan Pritchard, which he refers to as the modal account. This view commits us to calling an event lucky when it obtains in this world, (...)
  3. Clauses as Semantic Predicates: Difficulties for Possible-Worlds Semantics.Friederike Moltmann - 2018 - Festschrift for Angelika Kratzer.
    The standard view of clauses embedded under attitude verbs or modal predicates is that they act as terms standing for propositions, a view that faces a range of philosophical and linguistic difficulties. Recently an alternative has been explored according to which embedded clauses act semantically as predicates of content-bearing objects. This paper argues that this approach faces serious problems when it is based on possible worlds-semantics. It outlines a development of the approach in terms of truthmaker theory instead.
  4. Theories in the Light of Contingency and Change: Possible Future Worlds and Well-Grounded Hope as a Supplement to Truth.Frank Ulrich - unknown
    Based on a critical account of the dominant concept of theory, the paper presents an alterna-tive, wider notion of theory. It is motivated by the need to cope with a contingent research subject and the assumption that IS should provide an orientation for managing the digital transfor-mation. Unlike neo-positivistic notions of theory, the proposed conception is not restricted to de-scriptions of the factual, but may be aimed at de-signing possible future worlds. Conceiving of possible future worlds requires overcoming the barriers (...)
  5. Text Worlds.Jeroen Vandaele & Geert Brône - 2009 - In Jeroen Vandaele & Geert Brône (eds.), Cognitive Poetics: Goals, Gains and Gaps. Mouton de Gruyter.
  6. Would Have Become: Empty or Modal Will.Rodney Huddleston - 1979 - .
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  8. Perceived Worlds, Inferred Worlds, the World.Lawrence Sklar - 1984 - Journal of Philosophy 81 (11):693.
  9. Other Worlds.David Crystal - 1987 - New Blackfriars 68 (806):285-287.
  10. Other Worlds.Fergus Kerr - 2006 - New Blackfriars 87 (1009):209-210.
  11. II—John Divers: Coincidence and Form.John Divers - 2008 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 82 (1):119-137.
  12. Relacja między nauką o logicznych możliwościach a zasadą zachowania energii. Rola badań Huygensa i Leibniza dla nowożytnej refleksji nad wolnością woli.Anna Szyrwińska - 2015 - IDEA – Studia Nad Strukturą I Rozwojem Pojęć Filozoficznych:191-202.
    The article investigates the relationship between Leibniz’s and Huygens’ theory of possibility and the principle of conservation of energy. It assumes that their criticisms of Cartesian views concerning those questions as well as their own achievements contributed to the formation of a new metaphysical basis for modern discussions on the freedom of the will. There are especially two problems whose role is crucial in this context, namely the question of God’s knowledge of future conditionals (contingentia futura) and the mind-body distinction.
  13. Response to Ohad Nachtomy’s “Individuals, Worlds, and Relations.Catherine Wilson - 2001 - The Leibniz Review 11:125-129.
  14. The Best of All Possible Worlds.P. Gottfried - 1996 - Télos 1996 (109):189-192.
  15. Jute in the World, Worlds of Jute.Gordon T. Stewart - 2014 - International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy 8 (2/3):92.
  16. Mögliche Welten Bei David Lewis Und Bei Kripke.Michael-Thomas Liske - 1994 - In Ulla Wessels & Georg Meggle (eds.), Analyomen / Analyomen: Proceedings of the 1st Conference "Perspectives in Analytical Philosophy". De Gruyter. pp. 464-473.
  17. Necessity, Worlds, and God.Scott A. Shalkowski - 2015 - In Miroslaw Szatkowski (ed.), God, Truth, and Other Enigmas. De Gruyter. pp. 217-240.
  18. The Unity of Worlds and of Nature.Baden Powell - 1856
  19. The Fictional Worlds of John Cowper Powys.Joseph Boulter - 1999
  20. More Worlds Than One.David Brewster - 1874
  21. A Week's Conversation on the Plurality of Worlds, Tr. By Mrs. A. Behn, J. Glanvil, J. Hughes and W. Gardner. Tol Which is Added, Mr. Addison's Defence on the Newtonian Philosophy. [REVIEW]Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle, Joseph Addison & Aphra Behn - 1801
  22. G. Hawthorn, "Plausible Worlds". [REVIEW]J. L. Gorman - 1993 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies:150.
  23. “New Worlds”.Robert Appelbaum - 2008 - Clio: A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History 38 (1):61-74.
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  25. Actualisme et possibilisme: l'évaluation dans les mondes possibles.Eros Corazza - 1989 - Logique Et Analyse 32 (25):81.
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  28. Constructivism, Constructions, and the Plurality of Worlds.T. Sedová - 2008 - Filozofia 63:155-160.
    The paper is a continuation of the author’s preceeding article Constructivism as a Philosophy and a Sociology of Science . It sheds light on Goodman’s irrealism as well as on the place of the constructions in producing the plurality of worlds. It gives the definition of the strong constructivism, which rejects the idea of representation, while one-sidedly stressing the external social determinants of knowledge . In particular, some properties of the constructs are shown as related to the information and its (...)
  29. The Phenomenological Conception of the Possible Worlds and the Creative Function of Man.Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka - 1983 - Analecta Husserliana 14:353.
  30. Dead Worlds.The Editor The Editor - 1946 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 27 (1):5.
  31. Worlds in Which We Participate.Hartley Burr Alexander - 1935 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 16 (2):103.
  32. Between Words and Worlds. A Festschrift for Pavel Materna.Marián Zouhar - 2001 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 8 (3):347-350.
  33. Juan Caramuel and the Possible Worlds Theory.Petr Dvooak - 2002 - Acta Comeniana 14:87-98.
  34. Sal Restivo Et Al's Math Worlds. [REVIEW]Paul Ernest - 1994 - Philosophy of Mathematics Education Journal 7.
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  36. Truth and Reality in Actuality. [REVIEW]J. F. J. - 1972 - Review of Metaphysics 26 (2):364-365.
  37. Worlds to Know: A Philosophy of Cosmic Perspectives. [REVIEW]G. R. B. - 1963 - Review of Metaphysics 17 (1):152-152.
  38. The Infinite Worlds of Giordano Bruno. [REVIEW]G. L. - 1970 - Review of Metaphysics 24 (2):343-344.
  39. Worlds Apart: A Dialogue of the 1960's. [REVIEW]L. B. C. - 1964 - Review of Metaphysics 17 (4):624-624.
  40. The Celestial Worlds Discover'd. [REVIEW]A. Armitage - 1969 - British Journal for the History of Science 4 (4):406-407.
  41. He Worlds of Christopher Columbus. [REVIEW]Richard Unger - 1993 - Speculum 68 (1):242-244.
  42. The Plurality of Worlds. [REVIEW]D. B. - 1928 - Modern Schoolman 4 (8):138-139.
  43. A Theory of Possibility. [REVIEW]J. R. A. - 1977 - Review of Metaphysics 31 (2):329-330.
  44. "When Worlds Collide".Susan Brill - 1993 - Semiotics:77-89.
  45. Between Words and Worlds.T. Childers (ed.) - 2000 - Filosofia.
  46. The Classics: A Bridge Between the Worlds.M. Lambert - forthcoming - Theoria.
  47. Arthur, J.-Worlds That Bind.T. D. Campbell - 1997 - Philosophical Books 38:212-213.
  48. Vanishing Worlds: On Dealing with What is Passing Away.David Gross - 2002 - Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 2002 (124):55-70.
  49. 1. World Weary.Michael Jubien - 2007 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 3:99.
  50. Possible Worlds–Text Worlds–Discourse Worlds in a Dialogic Context.E. Chrzanowska-Kluczewska - 2009 - In Elżbieta Chrzanowska-Kluczewska & Agnieszka Gołda-Derejczyk (eds.), The Contextuality of Language and Culture. Wydawnictwo Wseh. pp. 157--171.
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