Possible Worlds as Shifting Domains
Yagisawa (Takashi)
Source: Erkenntnis (1975-), Vol. 36, No. 1 (Jan., 1992), pp. 83-101
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. Those who object to David Lewis' modal1 realism express qualms about philosophical respectability of the Lewisian notion of a possible world and its correlate notion of an inhabitant of a possible world. The resulting impression is that these two notions either stand together or fall together.
  2. I argue that the Lewisian notion of a possible world is otiose even for a good Lewisian modal2 realist, and that one can carry out a good Lewisian semantics for modal3 discourse without Lewisian possible worlds. I do so by generalizing Lewis' own idea that restrictions on quantification "come and go with the pragmatic wind" and relativizing possible worlds as shifting domains of discourse. I then suggest a way to soften the infamous "incredulous stare".

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