The analytic limit of genuine modal realism

Mind 111 (441):15-36 (2002)
According to the Genuine Modal Realist, there is a plurality of possible worlds, each world nothing more than a maximally inter-related spatiotemporal sum. One advantage claimed for this position is that it offers us the resources to analyse, in a noncircular manner, the modal operators. In this paper, we argue that the prospects for such an analysis are poor. For the analysis of necessity as truth in all worlds to succeed it is not enough that no modal concepts be used in the realist's account of a possible world (a fact we grant); rather, such an analysis will succeed only if the set of worlds that is postulated is complete. By appealing to plausible truths about the number of possible alien natural properties, we show that there are serious difficulties in guaranteeing that such a set exists without taking some modal concept as primitive. Accordingly, at least in its current form, Genuine Modal Realism must curtail its analytic ambitions.
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DOI 10.1093/mind/111.441.15
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