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Models and reality*

  • Robert Stalnaker (a1)

Abstract

Kripke models, interpreted realistically, have difficulty making sense of the thesis that there might have existed things that do not in fact exist, since a Kripke model in which this thesis is true requires a model structure in which there are possible worlds with domains that contain things that do not exist. This paper argues that we can use Kripke models as representational devices that allow us to give a realistic interpretation of a modal language. The method of doing this is sketched, with the help of an analogy with a Galilean relativist theory of spatial properties and relations.

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Apologies to Hilary Putnam for appropriating the title of one of his famous papers (Putnam 1980). My topic is not unrelated to his, but I am not going to talk about his paper. I chose the title because it says what my paper is about.

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References

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Barwise, J., and Perry, J.. 1985. “Shifting Situations and Shaken Attitudes.” Linguistics and Philosophy 8: 105161. 10.1007/BF00653379
Fritz, P. (forthcoming). “Propositional contingentism, ” Review of Symbolic Logic.
Gallin, D. 1975. Intensional and Higher-Order Modal Logic: With Applications to Montague Semantics. Amsterdam: North-Holland.
Grünbaum, A. 1964. “Is a Universal Nocturnal Expansion Falsifiable or Physically Vacuous?Philosophical Studies 15: 7179. 10.1007/BF00457480
Jones, N. 2016. “The Representational Limits of Possible Worlds Semantics.” Philosophical Studies 173: 479503. 10.1007/s11098-015-0503-4
Kripke, S. 1980. Naming and Necessity. Oxford: Blackwell.
Lewis, D. 1986. On the Plurality of Worlds. Oxford: Blackwell.
Putnam, H. 1980. “Models and Reality.” The Journal of Symbolic Logic 45: 464482. 10.2307/2273415
Stalnaker, R. 2000. “Comparing Qualia Across Persons.” Philosophical Topics 26: 385405.
Stalnaker, R. 2012. Mere Possibilities: Metaphysical Foundations of Modal Semantics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Williamson, T. 2013. Modal Logic as Metaphysics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Models and reality*

  • Robert Stalnaker (a1)

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