ADAMS, ROBERT. “Theories of actuality.”. Noûs, Vol. 8 (), pp. – CrossRef. CASTANEDA, HECTOR-NERI. “Individuation and. In this essay, I defend the compatibility of actualism – i.e., the view that there neither are, nor could have been, any nonexistent objects – and possible worlds. It has been argued that actualism – the view that there are no non-actual objects and nestedmodal operators require stipulation of nested possible worlds.

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In contemporary analytic philosophyactualism is the view that everything there is i.

Actualism > An Account of Abstract Possible Worlds (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

The denial of actualism is possibilismthe thesis that there are some entities that are merely possible: An important, but significantly different notion of possibilism known as modal realism was developed by the philosopher David Lewis.

Other possible worlds exist in exactly the same sense as the actual world; they are simply spatio-temporally unrelated to our world, and to each other. Hence, for Lewis, “merely possible” entities—entities that exist in other possible worlds—exist in exactly the same sense actuzlism do we in the actual world; to be actual, from the perspective of any given individual worlda in any possible world, is simply to be part of the same world as x.

Consider the statement ” Sherlock Holmes exists.

This contingency is usually described by the statement “there is a possible world in which Sherlock Holmes exists”. The possibilist argues that apparent existential claims such as this that “there are” possible worlds of various sorts ought to be taken more or less at face value: Hence, they argue, there are innumerably many possible worlds other than our own, which exist just as much as ours does.


Most actualists will be happy to grant the interpretation of “Sherlock Holmes’ existence is possible” in terms of possible worlds. But they argue acutalism the possibilist goes wrong in taking this as a sign that there exist other worlds that are just like ours, except for the fact that we are not actually in them.

The actualist argues, instead, that when we claim “possible worlds” exist we are making claims that things exist in our own actual world which can serve as possible worlds for the interpretation of modal claims: From an actualist point of view, such as Adams’possible worlds are nothing more than fictions created within the actual world.

Possible worlds are mere descriptions of ways this world the actual one might have been, and nothing else. Thus, as modal constructions, they come in as a handy heuristic device to use with modal logic; as it helps our modal reasoning to imagine ways the world might have been.

So, from this point of view, what actulaism the actual world from other possible worlds is what distinguishes reality from a description of a simulation of reality, this world from Sherlock Holmes’: If a state of affairs is possible, then it really obtains, it physically occurs in at least one world.

Therefore, as Lewis is happy to admit, there is a world where someone named Sherlock Holmes lived at b Baker Street in Victorian times, there is another world where pigs fly, and nad is even another world where both Sherlock Holmes exists and pigs fly.

This leaves open the question, of course, of what an actually existing “way the world could be” is ; and on this question actualists are divided.

One of worlda most popular solutions is to claim, as William Lycan and Robert Adams do, that “possible worlds” talk can be reduced to logical relations amongst consistent and maximally complete sets podsible propositions. Here the “possible world” which is said to be actual is actual in virtue of all its elements being true of the world around us.


Actualism and Possible Worlds

Another common actualist account, advanced in different forms by Alvin Plantinga and David Armstrong views “possible worlds” not as descriptions of how the world might be through a very large set of statements but rather as a maximally complete state of affairs that covers every state of affairs which might obtain or not obtain.

Here, the “possible world” which is said to be workds is actual in virtue of that state of affairs obtaining in the world around us. Since it is maximally complete, only one such state of affairs could actually obtain; all the others would differ from the actual world in various large or small ways.

According to the indexical ahd of actuality, favoured by Lewisactuality is an attribute which our world has relative to itself, but which all the other worlds have relative to themselves too.

Actuality is an intrinsic property of each world, so world w is actual just at world w. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the philosophy of Giovanni Gentile, often called actualism, actuapism Actual idealism.

Philosophical Studies 2: On the Plurality of Worlds.

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