Chapter

On what Possible Worlds could not be (1996)

Robert C. Stalnaker

in Ways a World Might Be

Published in print August 2003 | ISBN: 9780199251483
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602320 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199251487.003.0003
 On what Possible Worlds could not be (1996)

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This paper explores the analogy between mathematical Platonism and modal realism, and between Benacerraf’s dilemma and the epistemological objection. It is argued that the parallels and contrasts may clarify both modal realism and the general problem of model epistemology. The paper begins with a sketch of Benacerraf’s reasons for thinking that there is a prima facie conflict between a straightforward account of mathematical truth and a reasonable account of mathematical knowledge. It then develops presents a strategy to respond to the dilemma, and argues that this does not suggest a parallel response to the epistemological objection to modal realism. Finally, a more general problem for an epistemology of necessary truth is examined.

Keywords: mathematical Platonism; modal realism; Paul Benacerraf’s dilemma; mathematical truth; mathematical knowledge; epistemological objection; truth

Chapter.  7711 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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