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Actualism and Possible Worlds

Actualism and Possible Worlds

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Published by: decarte2013 on Dec 04, 2012
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Actualism and possble words
by
AVN ANNGA
Can Coege)
T
 IA of possile worlds has oth promised and, I eliee,deliered understandin and insiht in a wide rane of topicsreeminent here, I think, is the topic of roadly loical possiilityoth
de dicta
and
de re.
ut there are others the nature of propositions,properties, and sets the function of proper names and denite descriptions the nature of counterfactuals time and temporal relationscausal determinism in philosophical theoloy, the ontoloical arument, theoloical determinism, and the prolem of eil (see [7],chapters IV
-X
In one respect, howeer, the idea of possile worldsmayseem to hae contriuted less to clarity than to confusion for if we take this idea seriously, we may nd outseles committed to theduious notion that there are or could hae een thins that do noteist et me eplain.
I
The coicl coceptio of possible worlds
The last quarter century·has seen a series of increasinly impressieand successful attempts to proide a semantical understandin formodal loic and for interestin modal framents of natural lanaesee, for eample 4  p 9 and [] These efforts suest thefolowin conception of possile worlds call it the anonical onception ossile worlds themseles are typically taken as primitieas the sayin oes ut y way of informal eplanation it may e saidthat a possie world is a
w things could hve been totl 
wayAmon these ways thns could hae een there is onecall it
'
-
that has the distinction of ein actual this is the way thins actualyare
is the one possile world that otains or is actual the rest aremerely possile Associated with each possile word W, furthermore,is a set of indiiduals or ojects the
don
of W which we may call
0 
 
10
A YIN ANNA
  The memers of   are the ojects that
est n
W and of course different ojects may exist in different wods As Kripke putit in ] p 
Intuitively, (  is the set of all individas exsting in
W
Notic, o course,that / need not be the same set dnt agments W jst asintitively in wolds othe than the eal one, some actally existing individalsmay be absent while new individals ... may appea1
achpossile world W then has its domain  ut there is alsothe unioncall it Uof the domains of all the worlds This setcontainsthe ojects that exist in

the actual world toether withthose if any that do not exist in
ut do exist in other possileworlds.On the anonical onception furthermore
propostons
arethouht of as settheoretical entitiessets of possile worlds perhapsor functions from sets of worlds to truth and falsehood. I we think of propositions as sets of worlds then a proposition is true in a ienworld W if W is a memer of it
Necessr
propositions are then thepropositions true in eery world possile propositions are true in atleas one world impossile proositions are not true in any tillfurther the memers of U are thouht of as
hvng propertes
and
 stndng n reltons
n possile worlds roperties and relations ikepropositionsare settheoretic entities functions perhaps frompossileworlds to sets of tuples of memers of U If for simplicitywe inore reations and stck with properies we may inore thetuples and say that a property is a function from worlds to sets of memers of U A property P then has an
etenson
at a ien wrldW the set of ojects that is the alue of P for that world W Anoject has a property Pin a world W if it is in the extension of P forWand of course an oject may hae different properties in differentworldsIn the acual world . V Quine is a distinuished philosopher ut in some other wold he lacks that property and is inseadlet us say a distinushed politician Modal properies of ojects may
1
For the sake of deniteness 
substantally follow the semantics developed inthis piece The essentals of the canonca concepton howeer are to be foundnot
j
usthere but n ery many recent efforts to prode a semantcs fo modal ogic or modalportons of atural language
 
ACTUALISM AND POSSIBLE WORLDS
14now be explaned as much lke modal propertes of propostons anobject  has a property P
ccdentll
or
contingentl
f t has P butdoes not hae P n eery possbe word thus the property of ben aphlosopher s accdental to Qune
X
hasP
essentlly
or
 necessril
on the other hand f  has P n eery possble world hle
beng phlosopher
s accdental to Qune
beng person,
perhaps s essentalto hm perhaps there s no posbe world n whch he does not haethat propertyQuantcaton wth respect to a en possble world furthermores oer the doman of that world such a proposton as(l) ) s a purpe cows true n a en world W only f ( ) the doman of W contansan object that has n W the property of ben a purple cow To putt a bt dfferently (l) s true n a world Wonly f there s a memberof U that s contaned n the extenson of 
being  purple cow
for Wand s also contaned n ( ; the fact f t s a fact that some memberof U not contaned n ( W has the property of ben a purple cow nW s rreleant And now we can see how such propostons as(2
() s a purple cowand(3) ()
s a purple coware to be understood (2  true f there s a possble world n whch (l)strue t s therefore true f there s a member of U that s aso a member of (  for some world Wn whch t has the property of ben apurple cow (3) on the other hand s true f and only f () thedoman of  the actual world contans an object that n some worldW has the property of ben a purple cow (2 therefore would betrue and (3) false f no member of ( ) s a purple cow n any worldbut some member of U exsts n a world n whch t s a purple cow(3) would be true and (2 false f some member of () s a purplecow n some world but no member of U s a purple cow n any worldn whch t exstsNow here we should pause to celebrate the sheer nenuty of thsscheme fe s short howee let us note smply that the anoncal

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