Possibility Relative to a Sortal

Delia Graff Fara

in Oxford Studies in Metaphysics volume 7

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199659081
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745201 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Metaphysics

Possibility Relative to a Sortal

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This is (fairly) uncontroversial: a is possibly-Φ when a counterpart of a is Φ in some world. It becomes (more) controversial only once the italicized relations are constrained in some way. For Saul Kripke, the counterpart relation was identity while objects could exist in more than one world. For David Lewis, the counterpart relation was a similarity relation while objects could not exist in more than one world. Further controversy: identity is an equivalence relation but similarity is not. Different constraints are developed here. The counterpart relation is sortal-relative sameness. Individuals may exist in more than one world but can be sortal-relatively the same as something other than themselves in some different possible world. Sortal-relative sameness is a weak equivalence relation. This intermediate version of counterpart theory is put to use in solving a puzzle of material constitution.

Keywords: material constitution; counterpart theory; sameness; sortal relativity; contingent identity; Saul Kripke; David Lewis; possibility; modality

Chapter.  14774 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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