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

Richard Woodward
Universität Hamburg
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)
DOI 10.1007/s11098-007-9117-9
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,199
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

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
Realism, Mathematics, and Modality.Hartry Field - 1988 - Philosophical Topics 16 (1):57-107.

View all 25 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

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.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

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 index

Total views
153 ( #77,488 of 2,518,143 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #116,997 of 2,518,143 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes