Chapter

Possible But Unactual Objects: The Classical Argument

Alvin Plantinga

in The Nature of Necessity

Published in print February 1978 | ISBN: 9780198244141
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598241 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198244142.003.0007

Series: Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy

 Possible But Unactual Objects: The Classical Argument

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Chapter 7 explores the question: Are there or could there be, possible but non‐existent objects? In the first half of the chapter, I critically assess the claim that an applied semantics for modal logic commits us to the claim that there are non‐existent possible objects. I conclude that it does commit us to there being some possible world distinct from the actual world that contains some object distinct from anything that exists in the actual world; but it does not, however, commit us to the claim that there really are some things that do not exist. In the second half of the chapter, I develop a historically based argument for the conclusion that there are non‐existent possible objects, which I call the Classical Argument. Importantly, the Classical Argument presupposes that singular negative existentials are possible. I end the chapter by showing that certain objections to the possibility of singular negative existentials fail, and that such existentials are indeed possible.

Keywords: actual; existence; modal logic; possible; possible object; possible worlds; proposition; singular existential

Chapter.  10986 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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