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Re: [ontolog-forum] intangibles (was RE: Why most classifications are fu

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Christopher Menzel <cmenzel@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 19 Jul 2011 14:05:02 -0700
Message-id: <A120C91B-6046-4E19-9734-1EA98E9E5742@xxxxxxxx>
On Jul 19, 2011, at 3:17 AM, sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> Dear Matthew,
> The point I'm trying to make is that possible worlds don't exist.  They are 
>imaginary.    (01)

That is a perfectly reasonable philosophical opinion, but it is not an 
argument.  Realists about possible worlds argue that they most certainly do 
exist.  They might be wrong, but you can't refute them just by asserting that 
they are.    (02)

> The way you imagine them is to create some hypothesis, theory, axioms, or 
>specifications that generate them.    (03)

Isn't that true of most any theoretical entity?  Quarks?  Strings?  Sets?    (04)

> In short, the starting  hypothesis is intensional.      (05)

Not for possible worlds understood  la Lewis.    (06)

> The possible worlds are useless baggage.  They might give you some pleasure 
>in your imagination.  They might even be useful as illustrations.    (07)

Your reasoning is much too facile. Lewis has provided very powerful theoretical 
arguments for realism about possible worlds (as he understands them).  In a 
nutshell, he shows (very cleverly) how a variety of philosophical and 
semantical problems can be solved in terms of possible worlds. He then argues 
that belief in worlds is justified so long as there is a theory that has 
similar explanatory value without the ontological cost.  It's a very difficult 
argument to refute.    (08)

> But the method of forming the initial specification for the worlds is 
>intensional.    (09)

Not on Lewis's approach.    (010)

-chris    (011)

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