Why modal fictionalism is not self-defeating

Philosophical Studies 139 (2):273 - 288 (2008)
Gideon Rosen’s [1990 Modal fictionalism. Mind, 99, 327–354] Modal Fictionalist aims to secure the benefits of realism about possible-worlds, whilst avoiding commitment to the existence of any world other than our own. Rosen [1993 A problem for fictionalism about possible worlds. Analysis, 53, 71–81] and Stuart Brock [1993 Modal fictionalism: A response to Rosen. Mind, 102, 147–150] both argue that fictionalism is self-defeating since the fictionalist is tacitly committed to the existence of a plurality of worlds. In this paper, I develop a new strategy for the fictionalist to pursue in response to the Brock–Rosen objection. I begin by arguing that modal fictionalism is best understood as a paraphrase strategy that concerns the propositions that are expressed, in a given context, by modal sentences. I go on to argue that what is interesting about paraphrastic fictionalism is that it allows the fictionalist to accept that the sentence ‘there is a plurality of worlds’ is true without thereby committing her to the existence of a plurality of worlds. I then argue that the paraphrastic fictionalist can appeal to a form of semantic contextualism in order to communicate her status as an anti-realist. Finally, I generalise my conception of fictionalism and argue that Daniel Nolan and John O’Leary-Hawthorne [1996 Reflexive fictionalisms. Analysis, 56, 26–32] are wrong to suggest that the Brock-Rosen objection reveals a structural flaw with all species of fictionalism.
Keywords Fictionalism  Possible Worlds  Modality  Anti realism  Ontological commitment
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 23,674
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Stephen Yablo (2001). Go Figure: A Path Through Fictionalism. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 25 (1):72–102.
David Lewis (1978). Truth in Fiction. American Philosophical Quarterly 15 (1):37--46.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Richard Woodward (2011). Is Modal Fictionalism Artificial? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (4):535-550.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

97 ( #47,870 of 1,903,046 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

9 ( #99,361 of 1,903,046 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.