Island Universes and the Analysis of Modality

In G. Preyer & F. Siebelt (eds.), Reality and Humean Supervenience: Essays on the Philosophy of David Lewis. Rowman & Littlefield (2001)
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Abstract

It follows from Humean principles of plenitude, I argue, that island universes are possible: physical reality might have 'absolutely isolated' parts. This makes trouble for Lewis's modal realism; but the realist has a way out. First, accept absolute actuality, which is defensible, I argue, on independent grounds. Second, revise the standard analysis of modality: modal operators are 'plural', not 'individual', quantifiers over possible worlds. This solves the problem of island universes and confers three additional benefits: an 'unqualified' principle of compossibility can be accepted; the possibility of nothing can be accommodated; and the identity of indiscernible worlds can be decisively refuted.

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Phillip Bricker
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

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References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
A Combinatorial Theory of Possibility.David Malet Armstrong - 1989 - Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

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