Article

Impossible Worlds

Ira Kiourti

in Philosophy

ISBN: 9780195396577
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0188
Impossible Worlds

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The term “impossible worlds” parallels the term “possible worlds” and commonly refers to setups, situations, or worlds that are inconsistent, incomplete, non-classical, or non-normal in possible-world semantics and metaphysics. These may verify a proposition and its negation, be silent as to the truth value of a proposition, or somehow fail to conform to the (classical) laws of logic. Some authors object to the term “impossible world,” preferring to talk of nonstandard worlds or partial situations instead. The term “impossible world” is also sometimes used to refer to a world that is inaccessible from another, relative to some specified accessibility relation. However, impossible worlds are commonly conceived of as absolutely impossible in a broadly logical, conceptual, or metaphysical sense. As in the case of possible worlds, modern talk of impossible worlds originates with semantic interpretations of modal and non-classical logics. Yet the potential applicability of these worlds to logical, metaphysical, and semantic philosophical puzzles has allowed them to permeate the wider philosophical arena. Arguments for impossible worlds often parallel those for possible worlds (see From Possible Worlds to Impossible Worlds) and focus largely on the proposed applications for such worlds (see Applications). As with possible worlds, there are various metaphysical conceptions of impossible worlds (see the Metaphysics of Impossible Worlds), and objections to such worlds are often theory specific (see Objections to Applications and Objections to Impossible Worlds). This article focuses on modern work on impossible worlds and its critics.

Article.  9981 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art ; Epistemology ; Feminist Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Metaphysics ; Moral Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy ; Philosophy of Language ; Philosophy of Law ; Philosophy of Mathematics and Logic ; Philosophy of Mind ; Philosophy of Religion ; Philosophy of Science ; Social and Political Philosophy

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