Chapter

Actualism and Possible Worlds

Alvin Plantinga

in Essays in the Metaphysics of Modality

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195103762
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833573 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195103769.003.0006
Actualism and Possible Worlds

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In this essay, I defend the compatibility of actualism – i.e., the view that there neither are, nor could have been, any nonexistent objects – and possible worlds. I begin by demonstrating how on the Canonical Conception of possible worlds one is committed to the idea that there are, or could have been, nonexistent objects. I then develop an actualist conception of possible worlds, properties, and essences. In particular, I deny that properties are set theoretical entities; something that the Canonical Conception endorses. Finally, I provide an actualist understanding of propositions such as there could have an object distinct from each object that actually exists – an understanding that does not commit one to belief in nonexistent objects.

Keywords: actualism; essence; existence; possible worlds; property; proposition

Chapter.  8441 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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