Nonexistent Possibles and Their Individuation

Grazer Philosophische Studien 22 (1):127-147 (1984)

A nonexistent possible is a particular concrete object which exists in some possible world but doesn't exist in the actual world. A definite description may be said to individuate a nonexistent possible if just one possible object satisfies the condition specified by that description, and this possible object doesn't exist in the actual world. Given a plausible form of mereological essentialism, certain mereological and causal descriptions which determine a thing's composition individuate nonexistent possible hunks of matter which are mereological or causal products of actual objects. Other sorts of descriptions such as 'the possible fat man in that doorway' and ones associated with typical fictional, imaginary, and mythical things do not individuate a nonexistent possible, and it is problematical whether we can individuate a nonexistent possible which is disjoint, viz., one which is not a mereological or causal product of actual objects
Keywords Analytic Philosophy
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DOI 10.5840/gps1984227
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