Chapter

Modal Reality

Colin McGinn

in Knowledge and Reality

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780199251582
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598012 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199251584.003.0006
 Modal Reality

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In this essay, McGinn argues for a version of ‘modal realism’ that denies the reality of possible worlds. Central to this discussion is a distinction between objectual and non‐objectual interpretations of modal expressions. Objectual interpretations affirm the reality of possible worlds, the existence of which McGinn flatly denies; whereas on the non‐objectual alternative, the semantic role of modal expressions is non‐referential. According to McGinn, the modal truth is to be grounded not in a realist ontology of possible worlds but in the manner in which real objects have the properties they do. In this way, McGinn remains a modal realist by locating modality in the modes of objects.

Keywords: a priori; David Lewis; metaphysics; modal semantics; modality; modes; objects; possible worlds; properties

Chapter.  22748 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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