Propositions, Sets, and Worlds

Studia Logica 82 (3):337-343 (2006)
If we agree with Michael Jubien that propositions do not exist, while accepting the existence of abstract sets in a realist mathematical ontology, then the combined effect of these ontological commitments has surprising implications for the metaphysics of modal logic, the ontology of logically possible worlds, and the controversy over modal realism versus actualism. Logically possible worlds as maximally consistent proposition sets exist if sets generally exist, but are equivalently expressed as maximally consistent conjunctions of the same propositions in corresponding sets. A conjunction of propositions, even if infinite in extent, is nevertheless itself a proposition. If sets and hence proposition sets exist but propositions do not exist, then whether or not modal realism is true depends on which of two apparently equivalent methods of identifying, representing, or characterizing logically possible worlds we choose to adopt. I consider a number of reactions to the problem, concluding that the best solution may be to reject the conventional model set theoretical concept of logically possible worlds as maximally consistent proposition sets, and distinguishing between the actual world alone as maximally consistent and interpreting all nonactual merely logically possible worlds as submaximal.
Keywords Philosophy   Logic   Mathematical Logic and Foundations   Computational Linguistics
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DOI 10.1007/s11225-006-8101-2
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