Why Modal Fictionalism Is Not Self-Defeating
Woodward (Richard)
Source: Philosophical Studies, Vol. 139, No. 2 (May, 2008), pp. 273-288
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. "Rosen (Gideon) - Modal Fictionalism" (1990) aims to secure the benefits of realism about possible-worlds, whilst avoiding commitment to the existence of any world other than our own.
  2. "Rosen (Gideon) - A Problem for Fictionalism about Possible Worlds" (1993) and "Brock (Stuart) - Modal Fictionalism: A Response to Rosen" (1993) both argue that fictionalism1 is self-defeating since the fictionalist is tacitly committed to the existence of a plurality of worlds.
  3. In this paper, I develop a new strategy for the fictionalist to pursue in response to the Brock-Rosen objection.
  4. I begin by arguing that modal fictionalism2 is best understood as a paraphrase strategy that concerns the propositions that are expressed, in a given context, by modal sentences.
  5. I go on to argue that what is interesting about paraphrastic fictionalism3 is that it allows the fictionalist to accept that the sentence 'there is a plurality of worlds' is true without thereby committing her to the existence of a plurality of worlds.
  6. I then argue that the paraphrastic fictionalist can appeal to a form of semantic contextualism in order to communicate her status as an anti-realist.
  7. Finally, I generalise my conception of fictionalism4 and argue that "Nolan (Daniel) & O'Leary-Hawthorne (John) - Reflexive Fictionalisms" (1996) is wrong to suggest that the Brock-Rosen objection reveals a structural flaw with all species of fictionalism5.

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