Single Idea 5440

[catalogued under 10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 3. Transworld Objects / c. Counterparts]

Full Idea

'Jack could have been taller' implies a different Jack in a different world, so Lewis defines a counterpart in a possible world as an individual sufficiently similar to Jack, and more similar to Jack than anything else in that world.

Gist of Idea

A counterpart in a possible world is sufficiently similar, and more similar than anything else


report of David Lewis (On the Plurality of Worlds [1986]) by Thomas Mautner - Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy p.115

Book Reference

Mautner,Thomas: 'Dictionary of Philosophy' [Penguin 1997], p.115

A Reaction

If we say something like "I could have been twins" or "I could have been a genius" in another world, it would need an odd concept of my personal identity for it to remain identical in those counterfactual situations. Lewis has a point.