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Lecture 8

PHILOS 125 Lecture 8: Lec 8-10 Modality and Possible Worlds

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1 Ryan Light th Sunday 18 September, 2016 Metaphysics 8 A possible world is something like a worldbook { something that describes to the very last details everything that is true of the world. Something is necessarily true if it is true in every world. Something is possibly true if it is true in some world. Epistemic vs. Metaphysical Possibility Tom Hanks might be an Alien Tom Hanks is human, but he might have been an alien. Having a debate about the actual world. ‘For all I know, Tom Hanks is an alien.’ Not discussion about how things actually are. British people use ‘might’ more than ‘could.’ Water = H O2 Mohammad Ali = Cassius Clay. Kripke thinks that these are necessary truths. But you could truly say ‘water might not be H O’ e2en if it is true that water is necessarily H O. 2 What is the subject matter of ‘possibility’? Framework of possible worlds doesn’t really help this question. For, ‘what are possible worlds?’ Modal Realism: Not only are there things that are possible worlds, they are concrete entities (just as our physical universe is a concrete entity) and exist in the same manner as our world. Main Aspects of Lewis: (1) Possible worlds exist. (2) Same kind as actual world. (3) Causally isolated. (4) Indexical analysis of actually. (5) Counterpart theory for de re modality. There’s no way to causally interact with them, so why should we say that they exist? Lewis’s argument. (1) Possible worlds exist. (2) Every alternative to taking possible worlds as concrete entities is fatally awed. (3) Therefore, modal realism is true: the actual world is just one of a plethora of concrete possible worlds. Metaphysics 9 ‘Actually’ as an indexical Indexicals: I, here, now Represent self-locating information. Talk about the actual universe restricts attention to this universe (that we occupy). ‘Actually’ means ‘in the possible world where I am located’. Stalnaker’s Objection: Possible worlds are ways for a world to be. They are therefore something abstract like properties, rather than concrete individuals. The knowledge objection: If possible worlds are spatiotemporally and causally isolated from the actual world, how could we know anything about them? The objection from morality: If modal realism is true, it is impossible t
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