Philosophy Compass 4 (6):998-1008 (2009)

Louis deRosset
University of Vermont
It is difficult to wander far in contemporary metaphysics without bumping into talk of possible worlds. And reference to possible worlds is not confined to metaphysics. It can be found in contemporary epistemology and ethics, and has even made its way into linguistics and decision theory. What are those possible worlds, the entities to which theorists in these disciplines all appeal? This paper sets out and evaluates a leading contemporary theory of possible worlds, David Lewis's Modal Realism. I note two competing ambitions for a theory of possible worlds: that it be reductive and user-friendly. I then outline Modal Realism and consider objections to the effect that it cannot satisfy these ambitions. I conclude that there is some reason to believe that Modal Realism is not reductive and overwhelming reason to believe that it is not user-friendly.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2009.00249.x
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References found in this work BETA

Counterfactuals.David Kellogg Lewis - 1973 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Blackwell.
Philosophical Papers.David Kellogg Lewis - 1983 - Oxford University Press.
Attitudes de Dicto and de Se.David Lewis - 1979 - Philosophical Review 88 (4):513-543.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 2003 - In John Heil (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Composition as Identity: Part 2.Meg Wallace - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (11):817-827.
Possible Worlds.Christopher Menzel - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Modality and Paradox.Gabriel Uzquiano - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (4):284-300.
The Grounds of Necessity.Ross P. Cameron - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (4):348-358.
Counterparts.Richard Woodward - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (1):58-70.

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