Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Barry Smith, E.J. Lowe and Rosalind Hursthouse

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3 ideas

10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 1. Possible Worlds / a. Possible worlds
We might eliminate 'possible' and 'necessary' in favour of quantification over possible worlds [Lowe]
     Full Idea: It may be possible to eliminate the modal operators (in English, 'is possible' and 'is necessary') in favour of quantifier expressions with variables ranging over possible worlds.
     From: E.J. Lowe (A Survey of Metaphysics [2002], p.121)
     A reaction: Hence 'necessary' becomes 'exists/is true in all possible worlds'. Deep problems, but at least we must show that referring to 'possible' worlds isn't a circular explanation of 'is possible'.
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 1. Possible Worlds / e. Against possible worlds
Does every abstract possible world exist in every possible world? [Lowe]
     Full Idea: Possible worlds, conceived of as abstracta, surely exist 'in every possible world'.
     From: E.J. Lowe (The Possibility of Metaphysics [1998], 12)
     A reaction: A possible very infinite regress, if a particular possible world is distinguished from another only by being perceived from Actual Word 1 or Actual World 2.. How many possible worlds are there? The standard answer is 'lots', rather than infinity.
We could give up possible worlds if we based necessity on essences [Lowe]
     Full Idea: If we explicate the notion of metaphysical necessity in terms of the notion of essence, rather than vice versa, this may enable us to dispense with the language of possible worlds as a means of explicating modal statements.
     From: E.J. Lowe (What is the Source of Knowledge of Modal Truths? [2013], 6)
     A reaction: This is the approach I favour, though I am not convinced that the two approaches are in competition, since essentialism gives the driving force for necessity, whereas possible worlds map the logic and semantics of it.