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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2012

4 - Possible Worlds Semantics


Possible worlds semantics have been widely applied both in philosophy and in other fields such as linguistic semantics and pragmatics, theoretical computer science, and game theory. This chapter discusses the general contrast between modal realism and actualism and questions about the kind of explanation that possible worlds provide for modal discourse and modal facts. It looks at Saul Kripke's views about how possible worlds are specified, in particular at the role of individuals in specifying possible worlds. A large part of the attraction of modal realism is that it purports to provide a genuine eliminative reduction of modality. Kripke thinks that the "distant planets" picture of possible worlds contributes to the illusion that there is a problem about the identification of individuals across possible worlds, and that is one of his main reasons for thinking that the modal realist doctrine is a pernicious one.
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