Single Idea 13589

[catalogued under 10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 1. Possible Worlds / e. Against possible worlds]

Full Idea

Talk of possible worlds is a graphic way of waging the essentialist philosophy, but it is only that; it is not an explication. Essence is needed to identify an object from one possible world to another.

Gist of Idea

Possible worlds are a way to dramatise essentialism, and yet they presuppose essentialism


Willard Quine (Intensions Revisited [1977], p.118)

Book Reference

Quine,Willard: 'Theories and Things' [Harvard 1981], p.118

A Reaction

He makes the proposal sound circular, but I take a commitment to essences to be prior to talk of possible worlds. Possible worlds are a tool for clarifying modalities, not for clarifying essential identities.