. Robert Stalnaker on Possible Worlds - Dictionary of Arguments

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Possible World: entity that can be quantified over. There ist a dispute over the question whether possible worlds exist or are only assumed for purposes of proofs of completeness. See also actual world, modal logic, modal realism, realism, actualism, possibility, possibilia, quantification.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Robert Stalnaker on Possible Worlds - Dictionary of Arguments

I 17
Possible Worlds/StalnakerVsLewis: instead of actually existing worlds there are better ways how the world might have been.
I 14
Possible Worlds/Time/Stalnaker: there are many analogies between times and worlds.
Actualism: actualism corresponds to presentism.
Def presentism/(s): only the present exists and only the current point in time.
Four-dimensionalism/Stalnaker: four-dimensionalism corresponds to modal realism.
Def modal realism/(s): modal realism means that other worlds exist literally.
Representative: a representative is David Lewis.
>Modal realism, >David K. Lewis.
Stalnaker: very few are realists in terms of possible world and times, but most are realists in terms of space.
>Realism, >Space, >Time.
I 27
Possible Worlds/StalnakerVsLewis: instead of something like "I and my surroundings" we assume a way how the world is, that is a property or state.
>States, cf. >Situations.
Important argument: properties may exist uninstantiatedly.
I 38
Possible Worlds: a possible world is no thing of a certain kind, nor an individual. A possible world is that to which truth is relative or what people differentiate in their rational actions.
>Possibility, >Actions.
I 52
Possible world: r: it is pointless to ask whether possible worlds satisfy certain conditions, e.g. is there a possible world in which water is not H2O? This is pointless, the answer will always have the form of a necessary sentence: P-or-not-P. - But doubt about that will be a doubt about the content of the sentence and not doubt about a possible world. The same applies to the problem that you might not believe a necessary truth.
Possible worlds/conditions: it is pointless to ask whether a possible world meets certain conditions.
Possible world/necessary/Stalnaker: if it is true, e.g. that water is necessarily H2O or e.g. that there are unattainable cardinal numbers, then these assertions express exactly this proposition, and the sentences that express these propositions tell us nothing about the nature of possible worlds.
>Possible worlds/Kripke.
Stalnaker: therefore it is impossible to characterize the entire range of all the possibilities. For then we would know the way how the range of all possibilities is different from that how it could be -> Wittgenstein: you should remain silent about things that you cannot talk about (Tractatus). StalnakerVsWittgenstein: but that does not help, because pointing also must have a content - therefore Ramsey says: "What you cannot say, you cannot whistle either".
I 84/85
Possible worlds/Stalnaker: possible worlds are not just an exercise of our imagination, but part of our actions, e.g. scientific explanations.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Stalnaker I
R. Stalnaker
Ways a World may be Oxford New York 2003

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2024-05-21
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