Why modal fictionalism is not self-defeating

Philosophical Studies 139 (2):273 - 288 (2008)
  Copy   BIBTEX


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.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,386

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Modal Fictionalism and Hale's Dilemma Against It.Wen-Fang Wang - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 5:51-56.
Modal fictionalism.Gideon Rosen - 1990 - Mind 99 (395):327-354.
Fictionalism and the attitudes.Chris John Daly - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 139 (3):423 - 440.
Is modal fictionalism artificial?Richard Woodward - 2011 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (4):535-550.
Modal fictionalism and compositionality.Josh Dever - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 114 (3):223 - 251.
Modal fictionalism and possible-worlds discourse.David Liggins - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (2):151-60.


Added to PP

197 (#97,948)

6 months
30 (#103,601)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Richard Woodward
Humboldt University, Berlin

Citations of this work

Fictionalism.Matti Eklund - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Modal fictionalism.Daniel Nolan - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Nihilism without Self-Contradiction.David Liggins - 2008 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 62:177-196.
Fictionalist Strategies in Metaphysics.Lukas Skiba & Richard Woodward - 2020 - In Ricki Bliss & James Miller (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics. New York, NY: Routledge.

View all 13 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Ontological relativity and other essays.Willard Van Orman Quine (ed.) - 1969 - New York: Columbia University Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
Realism, Mathematics & Modality.Hartry H. Field - 1989 - New York, NY, USA: Blackwell.
Truth in fiction.David K. Lewis - 1978 - American Philosophical Quarterly 15 (1):37–46.

View all 25 references / Add more references