Dissertation, University of St Andrews (2010)

Authors
Ira Kiourti
University of London
Abstract
Lewisian Genuine Realism about possible worlds is often deemed unable to accommodate impossible worlds and reap the benefits that these bestow to rival theories. This thesis explores two alternative extensions of GR into the terrain of impossible worlds. It is divided in six chapters. Chapter I outlines Lewis’ theory, the motivations for impossible worlds, and the central problem that such worlds present for GR: How can GR even understand the notion of an impossible world, given Lewis’ reductive theoretical framework? Since the desideratum is to incorporate impossible worlds into GR without compromising Lewis’ reductive analysis of modality, Chapter II defends that analysis against objections. The rest of the thesis is devoted to incorporating impossible worlds into GR. Chapter III explores GR-friendly impossible worlds in the form of set-theoretic constructions out of genuine possibilia. Then, Chapters IV-VI venture into concrete impossible worlds. Chapter IV addresses Lewis’ objection against such worlds, to the effect that contradictions true at impossible worlds amount to true contradictions tout court. I argue that even if so, the relevant contradictions are only ever about the non-actual, and that Lewis’ argument relies on a premise that cannot be nonquestion- beggingly upheld in the face of genuine impossible worlds in any case. Chapter V proposes that Lewis’ reductive analysis can be preserved, even in the face of genuine impossibilia, if we differentiate the impossible from the possible by means of accessibility relations, understood non-modally in terms of similarity. Finally, Chapter VI counters objections to the effect that there are certain impossibilities, formulated in Lewis’ theoretical language, which genuine impossibilia should, but cannot, represent. I conclude that Genuine Realism is still very much in the running when the discussion turns to impossible worlds.
Keywords impossible worlds  modality  reduction  david lewis  contradiction  inconsistency  reductive analysis  possibility  impossibility
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References found in this work BETA

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Wiley-Blackwell.
New Work for a Theory of Universals.David Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
The Nature of Necessity.Alvin Plantinga - 1974 - Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
What is a Law of Nature?D. M. Armstrong - 1983 - Cambridge University Press.

View all 115 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Impossible Worlds.Francesco Berto - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2013).
Truth in Fiction, Impossible Worlds, and Belief Revision.Francesco Berto & Christopher Badura - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (1):178-193.
Impossible Worlds.Franz Berto & Mark Jago - 2013 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Impossible Worlds.Daniel Nolan - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (4):360-372.
Hyperintensionality and Normativity.Federico L. G. Faroldi - 2019 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer Verlag.

View all 13 citations / Add more citations

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