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Actualism and possible worlds by ALVIN PLANTINGA Calvin College THE IDEA of poss

Preeminent here I think is the topic of broadly logical possibility both de to and de re But there are others the nature of propositions properties and sets the function of proper names and definite de scriptions the nature of counterfactuals time a

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Actualism and possible worlds by ALVIN PLANTINGA Calvin College THE IDEA of poss




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of possible worlds has both insight in a the objects course different objects may exist different worlds. worlds. p. 65, Intuitively, II/( W) is the set of all individuals existing same set different arguments just as, intuitively, in other than the one, some actually existing individuals may be absent, . . . Each possible world has its union-call it worlds. This contains the exist in world, together any, that exist in Conception, furthermore, possible worlds, perhaps, functions from sets of worlds propositions as worlds, then a proposition propositions are world; possible world; impossible not true further, the possible worlds. relations, like set-theoretic entities: functions, perhaps, possible worlds for simplicity, ignore relations a property a function from worlds A property object has a property have different properties worlds. In the actual distinguished philos- opher; but that property distinguished politician. the sake of substantially follow the canonical found not just in very portions of natural be explained much like modal properties has a does not every possible thus the other hand, every possible perhaps there possible world in which with respect given possible world; such a proposition the domain the property a purple bit differently, a world a member the fact, a fact, some member a purple how such a purple a purple a purple possible world in which it is a member has the of being purple cow. other hand, the actual would be a purple cow in any world, some member a world which it a purple true and some member a purple some world, a purple any world in which Now here should pause sheer ingenuity of Life is however; let the Canonical indeed ingenious rather than existent objects that there some objects the domain coincides with among the in which exists any world; scheme tells may be such a world. is, however, plausible proposition the Canonical Conception entails distinct from exist; i.e., object distinct true, then (on the possible world object distinct from a member same can the actual exist. We the Canonical Conception there could have distinct from fact exist. still be that there existent objects. no doubt, not on therefore, a possible world set of possible objects, would have some nonexistent objects. The canonical worlds, therefore, could have nonexistent objects. the canonical conception possible worlds produces con- the notion nonexistent objects. said this there neither are nor could have nonexistent object or at a notion, a square whose exemplification possible. In however, this remark interesting questions. Let Canonical Concep- possible worlds exacts a substantial ontological toll. undeniably provides can this price, then perhaps a whole idea possible worlds. famous phrase, all honest toil; mistaken.) Suppose Suppose p. 211) in using the name there neither are nor could be nonexistent objects. Possible worlds have sometimes of undefined objects”; from actualist point remain actualists possible worlds scheme has shall try develop an actualist conception possible worlds under the the a-transform; truth conditions. begin with the notion such things Quine’s being the state affairs consisting a philosopher are actual. a state not obtain. affairs; indeed a state your most solidly actual state does not obtain; had things have been on the other an impossible neither does could have possible world affairs. But not just of affairs possible world; achieve this distinction, a state affairs must explain this that a state a state possible world a state on the Canonical these possible of being the others world, therefore, a state the actual abstract object. has no concrete object mereological sum the notions actuality for states affairs. Given this explanation explain possibility some possible world, the actual explanation must go the such things false, believed, the like. such things undeniable; but questions might ask, example, whether quite another might also ask whether they only one? the ground states of affairs. any event there will be just are the Canonical Conception possible worlds. it is the state Quine’s being it is obtain and the propositions true-in-a, just the true propositions. the basic the explanation Truth-in-a, for plus modal propositions true Books, like worlds, have property: for any contains p the actual the set propositions are true a alone. wish, therefore, Properties. On the canonical this sentiment: an object has a property it is Canonical Conception a property a set-theoretical entity a function individuals. This conception first place, it are no necessarily coextensive properties-i.e., distinct properties some object but not But surely there are. The property of being the square necessarily coextensive with the property of being not the same properties. correct, the property does not coextensive with of being surely these from the enough the of being a philosopher, a philosopher let’s say-had But now a function sets of it is set of ordered pairs whose first whose second uals. And this in conflict with had not actualist point Quine had not would have such thing in which existed, Quine’s it existed, would have But surely set whose only member Quine could those worlds Quine does course the same holds contain Quine set whose losophers there Quine had not. does infact contain just the a crucial difference between sets the same have lacked any member had any a pair properties-being cordate Pluto’s teacher same extension; could have way: all sets properties have their extensions essentially. If this actualist must functions from sets of exists in world where same must be for any set whose transitive closure individuals; for they were, Quine had not neither would actualists, then, canonical conception properties; a a function set whose transitive closure contingent objects. agree with canonical conception, however, in a world has the property distinguished philosopher; the actual it in many other concrete objects have properties has the property that property, has the property truth in the actual worlds it every world the other hand, the property of being a philosopher no doubt the property truth accidentally; All distinguished essentially. Indeed, special case of modality Some properties-truth, for have them, but Some, like all objects; self-identity essentially true. Others those objects them, but only some objects; for example, Among the properties essential all objects philosophers have argued a property; arguments, however, special kind And indeed it is special; like self-identity, clearly enough, object has existence in say, however, exists in possible world; only some objects-numbers, properties, this distinction. Many philosophers have thought there necessary being, possible world there a world. But from the present point surely there necessary beings, possible worlds themselves. that W possible world exists in every possible world in itself; This notion has resistance, but far as cogent reasons. possible world a state it is it is that W exist. But what it means exists in far as Among the properties essential one (or its haecceities. ‘essence’; it’s easier. Scotus did Boethius, who put the matter certain quality, to any other subsistent, the form of what the in- communicable property quality ‘Platonity’ fabricated word, call the Therefore, this Platonity alone, and this not ‘Plato’ points out a one and and property, far as I know, this earliest explicit recognition might let “Boethianism” name the such things. On Boethian conception, a property essentially; it any other” possible world in exists something distinct has it. say, essential essentially unique says Boethius, the property of being being identical Some people have displayed certain reluctance properties as this, but that are any event it has it, essence of the others Plato has any property the world-indexed property: truth-in-a. characterizes all the propositions that are true. Furthermore characterizes them possible world; there in which distinguished philosopher Librium de interpretatione truth, but which it have been a would have included would have true-in-a. Truth-in-a object has it, essentially. But every world-indexed complement, accidentally. the a-transform a predicate consider any Quine alone Word and being born Quine’s essences. a property must be object distinct But it must observe being identical with has it; i.e., anything identical Quine has with Quine it follows that property from Quine has must also essence of entails a suppose there distinct from Quine Then there must be exemplified in being distinct exemplified in a-and exemplified from Quine and has essence of of his essences. Quine, there a description a phenomenon Keith Donnellan Donnellan A sentence containing a description, sometimes be used result of supplanting the and object be used The proposition let’s say-writes it is phenomenon as the a-transform proposition true same worlds what Donnellan noted display this should therefore displayed in These expectations (16) every the Alpine a splendid climber! but for have gone the membership roll, uttering long conjunctive sentence the form splendid climber splendid climber where for each member the Club there a conjunct attaching splendid climber’ . . Club, the proposition . . splendid climber it is the Club contains some non-climbers, unsplendid ones, put more (18) every Alpine Club), splendid climber state the differently. Suppose splendid climber. use (16) implicitly applying the a-transform, then assert Club contains none but splendid climbers. propositions. But now back to our main concern. As actualists canonical conception objects have properties and that properties essential its essences. But what each possible world domain: the exist in it. Here have two caveats. range over, naturally follows. Consider universally quantified sentence such . . splendid climber a-transform can also the behavior of a broadly and the claims of a spotted dog, Here the range over spotted dog also friendly. (20) expresses a proposition (21) every a spotted dog (20). And this suggestion clearly false. possible world where members exist, the latter dogs, then friendly, but churlish disposition. world; what expresses, however, flatly false therein. materially but both false, same worlds. may say, the form has a domain but propositions And now the second, more relevant Canonical scheme, each world has a domain: the taken for granted possible world actual, other individuals might have existed, the domain From an however, this contains just the domain has essentially the to trouble. have already seen, can those worlds where all its members exist. Hence of its had not. exist. But if, the property of being such does. Hence Socrates had are not necessary beings; even significant pebble on the of being such such thing world whose difficulty induces with respect entities-sets of conception must be rejected But clearly There are therefore, has a accordingly, distinct from the principal difficulty with fragility of sets their members consider any true proposition the Canonical But now let’s say-had Taj Mahal had not the truths that and that was wise; Canonical Conception, necessarily false propositions together with such items no contingent be necessary beings. a distinction, surely, How, then, the domains Canonical Conception each world those objects exist in the actualist lose much they also display some domains, as have seen, contingent beings. Socrates had him would have, have existed. Possible worlds, necessary beings; hence worlds general have Socrates had have been set distinct from would have the domain had existed, the domain necessary beings. the domain possible world actualist perspective, are no objects distinct from those exists in object distinct the actualist happily concede have been object distinct from possible world object distinct from any actualist must How can managed? How can could have object distinct he holds he must appeal contingent being; his Properties, like possible worlds, Socrates had existed, his have been worlds where Socrates exists, Socrateity, however, does have essentially the property Socrates; it worlds where exist. In those worlds, it is being exempIiJied Associated with each possible world essences exemplified all worlds the set of essences. have virtues where exist in every hence essential domains are the property its essential unexemplified essences. If existed, then Socrateity would have unexemplified essence. fact some probably there some simpler types are to from the actualist perspective. Consider purple cow. some member of coexemplified with of being a purple coexemplified with in which is true-if, some world therefore non-contingent-either necessarily purple cow, on the other some member coexemplified with purple cow. exemplified essence coexemplified in world with a purple some member coexemplified in seems likely, it there be could have essence of sentence (29) is in the one it expresses those worlds essence of coexemplified with lack of ingenuousness. This proposition put more of (28): that Ford (28) is clearly false a crucial difference between (29**) is but not the latter exists; (29**), unlike (29*), the distinction de re-de predicates a ness. (29**), other hand, predicates falsehood (29*) is those worlds essence of coexemplified with could have non-existent objects, there neither been non-existent exemplifications of therefore, entails that Ford exists. (29**), however, (28) is those worlds nor has any negation applies the name within its scope. however, the negation applies, sentence, but within its scope. Where resulting sentence a property Ford and his existence; the name may fail a property exist. This interplay scope ambiguity is wise, the property being such then someone What it put more then someone is wise, those worlds where Socrates can also express a proposition someone is Since these proposi- possible world, this proposition therefore, it worlds where Socrates does exist. Similar for Socrates, then something in (31), then what it contingent proposition a property those worlds where give it however, (3 being a singular existential those worlds where essence of (the complement that Ford (33**) is worlds where false. (33*), however, those worlds coexemplified with nonexistence. could have been things exemplified with nonexistence; (33*) is We may now have been object distinct from the Canonical Conception, (27) is a member exist in exist in world distinct from some things but could the actualist conception, are no then shall (27)? Easily (27) is world where exemplified in but not (27) is exemplified in but not exemplified in unexemplified essence. Hence (27) is very likely These, then, essentials of actualist conception of possible but not the vices of Canonical Concep- insights provided possible worlds without supposing could have don’t exist.8 exist.8 ADAMS, ROBERT. “Theories of of CASTAREDA, HECTOR-NERI. “Individuation “Individuation DONNELLAN, KEITH. “Speaking of of KRIPKE, SAUL. “Semantical considerations on modal Reference and and LEWIS, DAVID. “General semantics.” natural language, and Harman, Harman, MONTAGUE, R. Formal philosophy, ed. by R. M. Thomason. (New Haven, 1974) [7] PLANTINGA, ALVIN. The nature (Oxford: Clarendon, Clarendon, PLANTINGA, ALVIN. “The American philosophical quarterly American philosophical for modal Jager has presupposes neither worlds in they don’t exist, could have been objects exist. In intended applied semantics, the domain a proposition sentence of obtained from Jager, Department Calvin College,