The Genesis of Hi-Worlds: Towards a Principle-Based Possible World Semantics

Erkenntnis 76 (1):101-114 (2012)
A Leibnizian semantics proposed by Becker in 1952 for the modal operators has recently been reviewed in Copeland’s paper The Genesis of Possible World Semantics (Copeland in J Philos Logic 31:99–137, 2002 ), with a remark that “neither the binary relation nor the idea of proving completeness was present in Becker’s work”. In light of Frege’s celebrated Sense-Determines-Reference principle, we find, however, that it is Becker’s semantics, rather than Kripke’s semantics, that has captured the true spirit of Frege’s semantic program. Furthermore, for Kripke’s possible world semantics to fit in Frege’s framework of senses , worlds and referents , it will have to be thoroughly reformulated. By introducing the notion of a hi-world into the picture, we manage to keep the key ingredients of Becker’s semantics intact, while at the same time solve a fatal problem that used to shadow Becker’s original semantics—it had not been able to make sense of inhomogeneous modality. The resulting generalized Beckerian semantics provides, in effect, a Beckerian analysis of the Kripkean possible worlds. It reveals the subtle hierarchical internal structure of a Kripkean world that has not been discovered before
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-011-9328-5
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B. Jack Copeland (2002). The Genesis of Possible Worlds Semantics. Journal of Philosophical Logic 31 (2):99-137.

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