Are propositions sets of possible worlds?

Analysis 72 (3):449-455 (2012)
Aviv Hoffmann
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The possible-worlds analysis of propositions identifies a proposition with the set of possible worlds where it is true. This analysis has the hitherto unnoticed consequence that a proposition depends for its existence on the existence of every proposition that entails it. This peculiar consequence places the possible-worlds analysis in conflict with the conjunction of two compelling theses. One thesis is that a phrase of the form ‘the proposition that S’ is a rigid designator. The other thesis is that a proposition which is directly about an object – a singular proposition – depends for its existence on the existence of the object. I defend these theses and conclude that the cost of the possible-worlds analysis is prohibitively high.
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DOI 10.1093/analys/ans073
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