The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality
Loux (Michael), Ed.
This Page provides (where held) the Abstract of the above Book and those of all the Papers contained in it.
Text Colour-ConventionsBooks / Papers Citing this Book

BOOK ABSTRACT:

Amazon Customer Review

  1. The Possible and the Actual is one of the best, if not the best, readers in the metaphysical of modality. It is comprised of 15 different essays (12 of which have been previously published). The 15 essays focus around two "themes": the nature/status of possible worlds and the problem of transworld identity. The essays, except for the introduction, are organized chronologically, tracing these themes as they emerged. Consequently, reading straight through this analogy will give the reader a clear sense of how the various views were developed, changed, and challenged. All of the essays are well chosen, and many are already well-known and important. It also includes a lengthy bibliography.
  2. Overall, this is a great analogy. One noteworthy feature of this analogy is Loux's 50 page introduction, which provides a clear and substantial introduction to modal concepts, while also relating them to the essays. The only qualm I have is the noticeable lack of any essays by Kripke (due to problems regarding permission). But this does not substantially mar the book. Some will already have many of these essays; and the utility of this volume will consist in possessing them all together along with the introductory essay. For those who have a passing knowledge of the metaphysics of modality, or would like a more substantial treatment of it, The Possible and the Actual will be well worth the read.

BOOK COMMENT:

Cornell University Press (31 Dec. 1979)



"Adams (Robert Merrihew) - Theories of Actuality"

Source: Loux (Michael), Ed. - The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality



"Chisholm (Roderick) - Identity Through Possible Worlds: Some Questions"

Source: Nous, Vol. 1, No. 1, Mar., 1967, pp. 1-8
Write-up Note1

For a précis, see this Note2.

COMMENT: Also in "Loux (Michael), Ed. - The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality".



"Cresswell (Max J.) - The World is Everything That Is the Case"

Source: Loux (Michael), Ed. - The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality



"Hintikka (Jaakko) - The Modes of Modality"

Source: Loux (Michael), Ed. - The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality



"Kaplan (David) - How to Russell a Frege-Church"

Source: Loux (Michael), Ed. - The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality



"Kaplan (David) - Transworld Heir Lines"

Source: Loux (Michael), Ed. - The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality



"Lewis (David) - Counterpart Theory and Quantified Modal Logic"

Source: Lewis - Philosophical Papers Volume I, Part 1: Ontology, Chapter 3


  1. In this landmark paper, Lewis outlines his theory of modality and counterparts. The eight postulates constitutive of Lewis's counterpart theory are expressed in an extensional first-order language that replaces the modal operators (characteristic of traditional quantified modal logic) with four primitive predicates:
    … 'x is a possible world',
    … 'x is in possible world y',
    … 'x is actual', and
    …'x is a counterpart of y'.
  2. Upon presenting a scheme for translating sentences expressed in quantified modal logic into those expressed in his preferred extensional language, Lewis demonstrates that the latter is nevertheless a richer language; while every sentence of quantified modal logic may be translated into a sentence expressed in counterpart theory, the reverse is not the case.
  3. Lewis concludes the paper by considering the implications of his view for several well-known topics (notably, Aristotelian essentialism).
  4. The postscript includes numerous additions and emendations (including a specification of the primitive predicate, 'x is in possible world y').


COMMENT: Also in "Loux (Michael), Ed. - The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality".



"Lewis (David) - Possible Worlds"

Source: Laurence & Macdonald - Contemporary Readings in the the Foundations of Metaphysics

COMMENT:



"Loux (Michael) - Modality and Metaphysics"

Source: Loux (Michael), Ed. - The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality, Introduction



"Lycan (William) - The Trouble with Possible Worlds"

Source: Loux (Michael), Ed. - The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality



"Mondadori (Fabrizio) & Morton (Adam) - Modal Realism: The Poisoned Pawn"

Source: Loux (Michael), Ed. - The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality



"Plantinga (Alvin) - Actualism and Possible Worlds"

Source: Loux - Metaphysics - Contemporary Readings


Philosophers Index Abstract
    I argue that the canonical conception of possible worlds is defective in that it implies that there are things that don't exist; I suggest an alternative conception that does not suffer from that defect.


COMMENT: Also in "Loux (Michael), Ed. - The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality".



"Plantinga (Alvin) - Transworld Identity or Worldbound Individuals?"

Source: Plantinga - The Nature of Necessity, Chapter 6; pp. 88-121 (34)


Contents
  1. The Question – 88
  2. Socrates in alpha and Socrates in W – 89
  3. The Problem of Transworld Identity – 92
    … A. The Problem Stated – 92
    … B. A Temporal Analogy – 94
    … C. The Problem Resolved – 96
    … D. Essence and Transworld Identity – 97
    … E. Does Ramsification Destroy Information? – 99
  4. Objections to TWI – 101
  5. Counterpart Theory – 102
  6. Semantic Inadequacies of Counterpart Theory – 108
    … A. Socrates and Xenophon – 109
    … B. Socrates and Socrates-identity – 110
  7. Metaphysical Inadequacies of Counterpart Theory – 114


COMMENT: Also in "Schwartz (Stephen P.), Ed. - Naming, Necessity and Natural Kinds" & "Loux (Michael), Ed. - The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality".



"Rescher (Nicholas) - The Ontology of the Possible"

Source: Loux (Michael), Ed. - The Possible and the Actual: Readings in the Metaphysics of Modality



"Stalnaker (Robert) - Possible Worlds"

Source: Stalnaker - Ways a World Might Be, Chapter 1


Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. This paper explores David Lewis's four theses1 on possible worlds.
  2. It is argued that these constitute a doctrine called extreme realism about possible worlds, which is deemed false.
  3. However, these theses need not be accepted or rejected as a package.
  4. The independence of the more plausible parts of the package is shown to defend the coherence of a more moderate form of realism about possible worlds, one that may be justified by common modal opinions and defended as a foundation for a theory about the activities of rational agents.


COMMENT:




In-Page Footnotes ("Stalnaker (Robert) - Possible Worlds")

Footnote 1: Stalnaker gives these as:-
  • 1. Possible worlds exist.
  • 2. Other possible worlds are things of the same sort as the actual world.
  • 3. The indexical analysis of the adjective “actual” is the correct analysis.
  • 4. Possible worlds cannot be reduced to something more basic.


Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2017
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



© Theo Todman, June 2007 - December 2017. Please address any comments on this page to theo@theotodman.com. File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page