About this topic
Summary Modal realism is the view that there are many possible worlds and and that they are concrete entities of the same kind as the world we live in.
Key works The most prominent version of modal realism is that of Lewis 1986. Other important varieties of modal realism include those of Bricker 2008 and McDaniel 2004.
Introductions For a good introduction to modal realism, see Sider 2003 and chapter 5 of Melia 2003.
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325 found
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1 — 50 / 325
  1. How to Be a Modal Realist.Cian Dorr - manuscript
    This paper investigates the form a modal realist analysis of possibility and necessity should take. It concludes that according to the best version of modal realism, the notion of a world plays no role in the analysis of modal claims. All contingent claims contain some de re element; the effect of modal operators on these elements is described by a counterpart theory which takes the same form whether the de re reference is to a world or to something else. This (...)
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  2. Modal Realism and the Meaning of 'Exist'.T. Parent - manuscript
    Here I first raise an argument purporting to show that Lewis’ Modal Realism ends up being entirely trivial. But although I reject this line, the argument reveals how difficult it is to interpret Lewis’ thesis that possibilia “exist.” Five natural interpretations are considered, yet upon reflection, none appear entirely adequate. On the three different “concretist” interpretations of ‘exist’, Modal Realism looks insufficient for genuine ontological commitment. Whereas, on the “multiverse” interpretation, Modal Realism acknowledges physical possibilities only--and worse, (assuming either axiom (...)
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  3. The Many-Worlds Theory of Consciousness.Christian List - 2021
    This paper sketches a new and somewhat heterodox metaphysical theory of consciousness: the “many-worlds theory”. It drops the assumption that all conscious subjects’ experiences are features of one and the same world and instead associates different subjects with different “first-personally centred worlds”. We can think of these as distinct “first-personal realizers” of a shared “third-personal world”, where the latter is supervenient, in a sense to be explained. This is combined with a form of modal realism, according to which different subjects’ (...)
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  4. A Puzzle for Modal Realism (Talk).Daniel Graham Marshall - 2016
    Modal realists face a puzzle. For modal realism to be justified, modal realists need to be able to give a successful reduction of modality. A simple argument, however, appears to show that the reduction they propose fails. In order to defend the claim that modal realism is justified, modal realists therefore need to either show that this argument fails, or show that modal realists can give another reduction of modality that is successful. I argue that modal realists cannot do either (...)
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  5. Naturalism and Realism: The Best of Both Worlds?Jean Lachapelle - unknown - Eidos: The Canadian Graduate Journal of Philosophy 15.
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  6. Is Metaphysics Immune to Moral Refutation?Alex Barber - unknown - Acta Analytica 35 (4):469-492.
    When a novel scientific theory conflicts with otherwise plausible moral assumptions, we do not treat that as evidence against the theory. We may scrutinize the empirical data more keenly and take extra care over its interpretation, but science is in some core sense immune to moral refutation. Can the same be said of philosophical theories? If a position in the philosophy of mind, for example, is discovered to have eye-widening moral import, does that count against it at all? Actual responses (...)
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  7. Modal Realism is a Newcomb Problem.Scott Hill - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-13.
    Some philosophers worry that if modal realism is true, you have no reason to prevent evils. For if you prevent an evil, you’ll have a counterpart somewhere that allows a similar evil. And if you refrain, your counterpart will end up preventing the relevant evil. Either way one evil is prevented and one is allowed. Your act makes no difference. I argue that this is mistaken. If modal realism is true, you are in a variant of Newcomb’s Problem. And if (...)
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  8. Materiality, Parthood, and Possibility.Samuele Iaquinto & Giuliano Torrengo - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-7.
    This paper offers an argument in favour of a Lewisian version of concretism that maintains both the principle of material inheritance (according to which, if all the parts of an object x are material, then x is material) and the materiality-modality link (that is, the principle that, for every x, if x is material, then x is possible).
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  9. Fragmenting Reality: On Fragmentalism, Time, and Modality.Samuele Iaquinto & Giuliano Torrengo - forthcoming - London: Bloomsbury.
    The core objective of this monograph is to present and discuss in detail an extensive interpretation of fragmentalism. Building on previously published works on the topic, we aim to offer a full-range exploration of the applications of fragmentalism to the main metaphysical areas of research. The book will cover mainly the topic of time and modality, but we will also highlight interesting bearings with respect to personal identity and responsibility, the relation between the self and one’s perspective on reality, and (...)
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  10. Dualism About Possible Worlds.Michael Tze-Sung Longenecker - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-17.
    Dualism about possible worlds says that merely possible worlds aren’t concrete objects, but the actual world is concrete. This view seems to be the natural one for ersatzers about merely possible worlds to take; yet one is hard-pressed to find any defenders of it in contemporary modal metaphysics. The main reason is that Dualism struggles with the issue of how merely possible worlds could have been actual. I explain that there are two different Dualist strategies that can be taken to (...)
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  11. Necessitism, Contingentism, and Lewisian Modal Realism.Cristina Nencha - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-21.
    Necessitism is the controversial thesis that necessarily everything is necessarily something, namely that everything, everywhere, necessarily exists. What is controversial about necessitism is that, at its core, it claims that things could not have failed to exist, while we have a pre-theoretical intuition that not everything necessarily exists. Contingentism, in accordance with common sense, denies necessitism: it claims that some things could have failed to exist. Timothy Williamson is a necessitist and claims that David Lewis is a necessitist too. The (...)
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  12. Plenitude and Recombination.Alastair Wilson - forthcoming - In Helen Beebee & Anthony Fisher (eds.), Perspectives on the Philosophy of David K. Lewis. Oxford University Press.
    In On the Plurality of Worlds (Lewis 1986), David Lewis imposes a condition on realist theories of modality which he calls ‘plenitude’. Lewis apparently assigns this condition considerable importance, and uses it to motivate his Humean principle of recombination, but he never says exactly what plenitude amounts to. This chapter first sets aside some obvious ways of reconstructing the plenitude criterion which do not fit with the textual evidence. An objection to modal realism due to John Divers and Joseph Melia (...)
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  13. Modal Realism and the Possibility of Island Universes: Why There Are No Possible Worlds.Jiri Benovsky - 2021 - Metaphysica 22 (1):1-13.
    In this article, I defend Lewisian modal realism against objections arising from the possibility of ‘Island Universes’ and other similar cases. The problem comes from Lewis’ claim that possible worlds are spatio-temporally isolated. I suggest a modification of Lewisian modal realism in order to avoid this family of objections. This modification may sound quite radical since it amounts to abandoning the very notion of a possible world, but as radical as it may sound it in fact remains well in the (...)
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  14. The Epistemic Idleness of Conceivability.M. Oreste Fiocco - 2021 - In Otávio Bueno & Scott Shalkowski (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Modality. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 167-179.
    One’s involvement with the world seems limited merely to things as they are; hence, modal knowledge—knowledge of what could be or must be simpliciter—should be perplexing. Traditionally, the notion of conceivability has been regarded as crucial to an account of modal knowledge. I believe one has a good deal of such knowledge (though perhaps less than others presume one has). I maintain, however, that conceiving is utterly idle in acquiring modal knowledge: the conceivability of a proposition can provide no evidence (...)
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  15. The Landscape and the Multiverse: What’s the Problem?James Read & Baptiste Le Bihan - 2021 - Synthese 1:1-23.
    As a candidate theory of quantum gravity, the popularity of string theory has waxed and waned over the past four decades. One current source of scepticism is that the theory can be used to derive, depending upon the input geometrical assumptions that one makes, a vast range of different quantum field theories, giving rise to the so-called landscape problem. One apparent way to address the landscape problem is to posit the existence of a multiverse; this, however, has in turn drawn (...)
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  16. The Metaphysics of Theism: A Classical and Neo-Classical Synthesis.Joshua R. Sijuwade - 2021 - Religions 12 (11):1-29.
    This article aims to provide a metaphysical elucidation of the notion of Theism and a coherent theological synthesis of two extensions of this notion: Classical Theism and Neo-Classical Theism. A model of this notion and its extensions is formulated within the ontological pluralism framework of Kris McDaniel and Jason Turner, and the (modified) modal realism framework of David Lewis, which enables it to be explicated clearly and consistently, and two often raised objections against the elements of this notion can be (...)
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  17. Extended Modal Realism: A New Solution to Problems Related to Non-Existence.Andrew Thomas - 2021 - Dissertation, Durham University
    This thesis argues that we should consider extended modal realism as a new player in the debate about non-existence. The primary aim is to show that extended modal realism is a viable theory when it comes to solving problems of non-existence. At times I will argue that extended modal realism has advantages over Lewisian modal realism when it comes to examining the problems of non-existence, not only in the case of problems relating to thought but also problems concerning truth as (...)
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  18. Extended Modal Realism — A New Solution to Problems Related to Non-Existence.Andrew Thomas - 2021 - Dissertation, Durham University
  19. All Worlds in One: Reassessing the Forest-Armstrong Argument.Phillip Bricker - 2020 - In Modal Matters: Essays in Metaphysics. Oxford: pp. 278-314.
    The Forrest-Armstrong argument, as reconfigured by David Lewis, is a reductio against an unrestricted principle of recombination. There is a gap in the argument which Lewis thought could be bridged by an appeal to recombination. After presenting the argument, I show that no plausible principle of recombination can bridge the gap. But other plausible principles of plenitude can bridge the gap, both principles of plenitude for world contents and principles of plenitude for world structures. I conclude that the Forrest-Armstrong argument, (...)
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  20. Realism Without Parochialism.Phillip Bricker - 2020 - In Modal Matters: Essays in Metaphysics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 40-76.
    I am a realist of a metaphysical stripe. I believe in an immense realm of "modal" and "abstract" entities, of entities that are neither part of, nor stand in any causal relation to, the actual, concrete world. For starters: I believe in possible worlds and individuals; in propositions, properties, and relations (both abundantly and sparsely conceived); in mathematical objects and structures; and in sets (or classes) of whatever I believe in. Call these sorts of entity, and the reality they comprise, (...)
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  21. Modal Matters: Essays in Metaphysics.Phillip Bricker (ed.) - 2020 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    This volume contains eighteen papers, three with new postscripts, that were written over the past 35 years. Five of the papers have not been previously published. Together they provide a comprehensive account of modal reality—the realm of possible worlds—from a Humean perspective, with excursions into neighboring topics in metaphysics. Part 1 sketches an account of reality as a whole, both the mathematical and the modal, defending a form of plenitudinous realism: every consistent proposition is true of some portion of reality. (...)
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  22. Correction to: On Lewis against magic: a study of method in metaphysics.A. R. J. Fisher - 2020 - Synthese 197 (11):4743-4743.
    Please note that this article belongs to the Special Issue on the Legacy of David Lewis but was included in issue 195:5 by mistake. It should be regarded as part of this selection of articles.
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  23. Modal Fragmentalism.Samuele Iaquinto - 2020 - The Philosophical Quarterly 70 (280):570-587.
    In this paper, I will argue that there is a version of possibilism—inspired by the modal analogue of Kit Fine’s fragmentalism—that can be combined with a weakening of actualism. The reasons for analysing this view, which I call Modal Fragmentalism, are twofold. Firstly, it can enrich our understanding of the actualism/possibilism divide, by showing that, at least in principle, the adoption of possibilia does not correspond to an outright rejection of the actualist intuitions. Secondly, and more specifically, it can enrich (...)
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  24. The Limits of Classical Mereology: Mixed Fusions and the Failures of Mereological Hybridism.Joshua Kelleher - 2020 - Dissertation, The University of Queensland
    In this thesis I argue against unrestricted mereological hybridism, the view that there are absolutely no constraints on wholes having parts from many different logical or ontological categories, an exemplar of which I take to be ‘mixed fusions’. These are composite entities which have parts from at least two different categories – the membered (as in classes) and the non-membered (as in individuals). As a result, mixed fusions can also be understood to represent a variety of cross-category summation such as (...)
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  25. Two Geometrical Models for Pixelism.Fabio Patrone - 2020 - Metaphysica (1):99-113.
    Pixelism is the combination of three metaphysical thesis, namely a radical form of exdurantism, mereological nihilism and counterpart theory. Pixelism is a theory that evaluates all the metaphysical phenomena of persistence, composition and modality in a homogeneous and consistent manner. In a pixel world, there is no identity over time and over possible worlds and nothing persists over more than an instant or a world. Entities can be univocally identified by a five-coordinates system (the three spatial dimensions, the temporal one (...)
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  26. On the Probability of Plenitude.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2020 - Journal of Philosophy 117 (5):267-292.
    I examine what the mathematical theory of random structures can teach us about the probability of Plenitude, a thesis closely related to David Lewis's modal realism. Given some natural assumptions, Plenitude is reasonably probable a priori, but in principle it can be (and plausibly it has been) empirically disconfirmed—not by any general qualitative evidence, but rather by our de re evidence.
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  27. Extended Modal Realism — a New Solution to the Problem of Intentional Inexistence.Andrew D. Thomas - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (3):1197-1208.
    Kriegel described the problem of intentional inexistence as one of the ‘perennial problems of philosophy’, 307–340, 2007: 307). In the same paper, Kriegel alluded to a modal realist solution to the problem of intentional inexistence. However, Kriegel does not state by name who defends the kind of modal realist solution he has in mind. Kriegel also points out that even what he believes to be the strongest version of modal realism does not pass the ‘principle of representation’ and thus modal (...)
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  28. (Extended) Modal Realism and Philosophical Analysis.Martin Vacek - 2020 - Bratislava: VEDA.
    Theories of possible worlds abound. Since the introduction of modal logic, the term of a possible world, and the very nature of an entity denoted by the term, have stood on the top of metaphysical inquiries. A possible world, roughly speaking, is a complete way things could have been. On the face of it, whatever is possible takes place in some possible world, and whatever is not possible, does not. The aim of the present book is to argue that even (...)
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  29. The Nature of Contingency: Quantum Physics as Modal Realism.Alastair Wilson - 2020 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    This book defends a radical new theory of contingency as a physical phenomenon. Drawing on the many-worlds approach to quantum theory and cutting-edge metaphysics and philosophy of science, it argues that quantum theories are best understood as telling us about the space of genuine possibilities, rather than as telling us solely about actuality. When quantum physics is taken seriously in the way first proposed by Hugh Everett III, it provides the resources for a new systematic metaphysical framework encompassing possibility, necessity, (...)
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  30. On the Humphrey Objection to Modal Realism.Michael De - 2018 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 95 (2):159-179.
    An intuitive objection to modal realism is that merely possible worlds and their inhabitants seem to be irrelevant to an analysis of modality. Kripke originally phrased the objection in terms of being concerned about one’s modal properties without being concerned about the properties one’s other-worldly counterparts have. The author assesses this objection in a variety of forms, and then provides his own formulation that does not beg the question against the modal realist. Finally, the author considers two potential answers to (...)
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  31. On Lewis Against Magic: A Study of Method in Metaphysics.A. R. J. Fisher - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2335-2353.
    David Lewis objected to theories that posit necessary connections between distinct entities and to theories that involve a magical grasping of their primitives. In On the Plurality of Worlds, Lewis objected to nondescript ersatzism on these grounds. The literature contains several reconstructions of Lewis’ critique of nondescript ersatzism but none of these interpretations adequately address his main argument because they fail to see that Lewis’ critique is based on broader methodological considerations. I argue that a closer look at his methodology (...)
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  32. The Flexibility of Reality: An Essay on Modality, Representation, and Powers.David Limbaugh - 2018 - Dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo
    This dissertation is about flexibility as a dimension of reality, an objective—independent of mind and language—phenomenon typically referred to as ‘metaphysical modality’. It develops a novel modal account of why reality could be different: that is, why claims like “Possibly, there are talking donkeys,” or “Humphrey could have won the election” are true or false. I contend that primitive dispositional properties called ‘powers’ explain such claims, and do so better than possible-world accounts of modality. The problem with possible-world accounts is (...)
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  33. Cross-World Comparatives for Modal Realists.Robert Michels - 2018 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 25 (3):368-391.
    Divers (2014) argues that a Lewisian theory of modality which includes both counterpart theory and modal realism cannot account for the truth of certain intuitively true modal sentences involving cross-world comparatives. The main purpose of this paper is to defend the Lewisian theory against Divers’s challenge by developing a response strategy based on a degree-theoretic treatment of comparatives and by showing that this treatment is compatible with the theory.
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  34. A Critical Introduction to the Metaphysics of Modality, by Andrea Borghini: London: Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2016, Pp. Vii + 224, £22.99. [REVIEW]T. Parent - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):204-204.
  35. On Quantitative and Qualitative Parsimony.Maciej Sendłak - 2018 - Metaphilosophy 49 (1-2):153-166.
    The distinction between quantitative and qualitative parsimony is supposed to allow David Lewis to dismiss one of the charges against his modal realism: that is, the charge of bloated ontology. The aim of this paper is to undermine Lewis's response to this objection. In order to do this, a distinction between multipliable and nonmultipliable objects is introduced. Based on this it is argued that the acceptance of Lewis's response requires one to believe in modal realism in the first place—that is, (...)
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  36. Our Reliability is in Principle Explainable.Dan Baras - 2017 - Episteme 14 (2):197-211.
    Non-skeptical robust realists about normativity, mathematics, or any other domain of non- causal truths are committed to a correlation between their beliefs and non- causal, mind-independent facts. Hartry Field and others have argued that if realists cannot explain this striking correlation, that is a strong reason to reject their theory. Some consider this argument, known as the Benacerraf–Field argument, as the strongest challenge to robust realism about mathematics, normativity, and even logic. In this article I offer two closely related accounts (...)
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  37. The Applicability of Mathematics to Physical Modality.Nora Berenstain - 2017 - Synthese 194 (9):3361-3377.
    This paper argues that scientific realism commits us to a metaphysical determination relation between the mathematical entities that are indispensible to scientific explanation and the modal structure of the empirical phenomena those entities explain. The argument presupposes that scientific realism commits us to the indispensability argument. The viewpresented here is that the indispensability of mathematics commits us not only to the existence of mathematical structures and entities but to a metaphysical determination relation between those entities and the modal structure of (...)
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  38. The Moral Objection to Modal Realism.Bob Fischer - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (5):1015-1030.
    If David Lewis's modal realism is true, then there are many, many people. According to Mark Heller, this is bad news. He takes modal realism (MR) to imply that "there are at least some cases in which it is permissible to let drowning children drown when it would be easy to save them." But since he holds the reasonable view that this is never permissible, he thinks that MR is false. Here, I argue that Lewis needn't be troubled by this (...)
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  39. Modal Realism, Still at Your Convenience.Harold Noonan & Mark Jago - 2017 - Analysis 77 (2):299-303.
    Divers presents a set of de re modal truths which, he claims, are inconvenient for Lewisean modal realism. We argue that there is no inconvenience for Lewis.
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  40. Mundos possíveis, propriedades naturais e mereologia.Renato Rocha - 2017 - Dissertation, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
    I argue in this dissertation that natural properties play a central role in David Lewis' modal realism. To argue in favor of this thesis I present: a bottom-up explanation of a top-down possible world metaphysics; a new definition of natural properties and natural fusion, a new mereological operation. To achieve these aims, in the first chapter, I contextualize the discussion, in the second I resume the discussion about universals in contemporary philosophy and argue that, considering the distinct formulations of the (...)
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  41. Extended Modal Dimensionalism.Martin Vacek - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (1):13-28.
    Modal dimensionalism is realism about spaces, times and worlds—metaphysical indices that make objects spatial, temporal and modal, respectively, and that play the role of alethic relativizers, i.e. items to which matters of truth are relativized. This paper examines several arguments against MD and shows that MD offers a feasible way to understand modal discourse.
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  42. Modal Truthmakers, Truth Conditions, and Analyses: Or, How to Avoid the Humphrey Objection.Chad Vance - 2017 - Acta Analytica 32 (2):145-159.
    Truthmakers, truth conditions, and analyses are closely related, but distinct in rather important ways. A failure to properly appreciate their differences has led to some confusion regarding the role that possible worlds ought to play with respect to modality. Those philosophers who initially proposed the existence of possible worlds were understood as providing an analysis of modality. More recently, many have interpreted them as providing modal truthmakers. But, possible worlds are only suited to serve as truth conditions for modal truths. (...)
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  43. Recombination for Combinatorialists.Andrea Borghini - 2016 - In Francesco Federico Calemi (ed.), Metaphysics and Scientific Realism: Essays in Honour of David Malet Armstrong. De Gruyter. pp. 177-192.
    Much of the appeal of Armstrong’s combinatorial theory of possibility depends on the theory’s principle of recombination. Despite its centrality, the principle has received little attention in the critical literature on combinatorialism. In this paper, I first set out to discuss how to exactly formulate the principle; then, I show that some notable criticisms of combinatorialism are in fact criticisms to the principle of recombination that allegedly sustains the theory. I focus in particular on Sider’s ‘trickle down’ objection concerning the (...)
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  44. Intrinsicality and Counterpart Theory.Michael De - 2016 - Synthese 193 (8).
    It is shown that counterpart theory and the duplication account of intrinsicality —two key pieces of the Lewisian package—are incompatible. In particular, the duplication account yields the result that certain intuitively extrinsic modal properties are intrinsic. Along the way I consider a potentially more general worry concerning certain existential closures of internal relations. One conclusion is that, unless the Lewisian provides an adequate alternative to the duplication account, the reductive nature of their total theory is in jeopardy.
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  45. Michael Almeida, The Metaphysics of Perfect Beings, Routledge, 2008.Nikk Effingham - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 8 (4):243--247.
    Book review of 'The Metaphysics of Perfect Beings'.
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  46. Modal Truth : Integrating the Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Semantics of the Necessary and the Possible.Lars Enden - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Washington
    The integration challenge for modality states that metaphysical theories of modality tend to fail in one of two ways: either they render the meanings of modal sentences mysterious, or they render modal knowledge mysterious. I argue that there are specific semantic and epistemic constraints on metaphysics implied by the integration challenge and that a plausible metaphysical theory of modality will satisfy both of them. I further argue that no popular metaphysical theory of modality simultaneously satisfies both of the constraints. Therefore, (...)
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  47. Advanced Modalizing Problems.Mark Jago - 2016 - Mind 125 (499):627-642.
    I present an internal problem for David Lewis’s genuine modal realism. My aim is to show that his analysis of modality is inconsistent with his metaphysics. I consider several ways of modifying the Lewisian analysis of modality, but argue that none are successful. I argue that the problem also affects theories related to genuine modal realism, including the stage theory of persistence and modal fictionalism.
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  48. Modal Realism, Still At Your Convenience.Mark Jago & Harold Noonan - 2016 - Analysis:anx037.
    Divers (2014) presents a set of de re modal truths which, he claims, are inconvenient for Lewisean modal realism. We argue that there is no inconvenience for Lewis.
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  49. A Puzzle for Modal Realism.Daniel Graham Marshall - 2016 - Philosophers' Imprint 16.
    Modal realists face a puzzle. For modal realism to be justified, modal realists need to be able to give a successful reduction of modality. A simple argument, however, appears to show that the reduction they propose fails. In order to defend the claim that modal realism is justified, modal realists therefore need to either show that this argument fails, or show that modal realists can give another reduction of modality that is successful. I argue that modal realists cannot do either (...)
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  50. Worlds Enough for Junk.David Sanson - 2016 - Res Philosophica 93 (1):1-18.
    The possibility of Junk is the possibility that something exists and everything is a proper part. Just as we might imagine that there are no simples—that everything has a proper part, all the way down—we might imagine that there are no caps—that everything is a proper part, all the way up. It is not obvious that this apparent possibility can be accommodated within a Lewisian modal framework. For Lewis, every possibility involves the existence of a possible world, and a possible (...)
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