Dear Avril, (01)
> MW: Lewis specifically asserts that possible worlds actually exist in
> the sense you mean.
> Lewis' modal realism is well known:
> When I profess realism about possible worlds, I mean to be taken
> literally... Our actual world is only one among others. We call it
> alone actual not because it differs in kind from all the rest but
> because it is the world we inhabit. Lewis [212, p85]. (02)
MW: In case it sounds as if I am arguing that possible worlds really are real,
let me be clear. I am only arguing that it is not a universally held view that
they a purely imaginary.
> But if the other worlds are necessarily inaccessible to our world,
> which is also what Lewis thinks, then it really makes no difference to
> us whether the other worlds exist in the concrete sense or not: (03)
MW: Indeed. And the position I formally take is not to commit to possible
worlds being real or imaginary. You do not even need to take a position - it
makes no difference to their utility.
> I do not... think that it is necessary to treat other worlds besides
> this one as anything more than convenient fictions. The reason why we
> need not take the worlds realistically is that they have no causal or
> nomic links with the actual world. ... The actual world will be no
> different whether they are there or are not. Why, then, give the
> possible worlds ... any existence? Armstrong [211, p68] (04)
MW: Which I would refute by saying "Why commit to denying them existence?"
> As Jaegwon Kim has pointed out, an existence without causal powers is
> an existence hardly worth having. Pylkkänen [112, p235] (05)
MW: I'm afraid that is irrelevant, and it is not clear that possible worlds do
not have causal powers simply by our consideration of them.
> Other possible worlds, whether Leibnizian or Lewisian, are not thought
> to have any effect on our actual world. Nor is there thought to be any
> non-causal law of nature linking such worlds with our world. Armstrong
> [151, p7]
> But if the entities postulated lie beyond our world, and in addition
> have no causal ... connection with it, then the postulation has no
> explanatory value. Armstrong [151, p7-8] (06)
MW: Which is clearly untrue from the considerable utility that possible worlds
have, so this is a spurious argument.
> Modality is a complicated topic, but it can be simplified at least by
> understanding that it is totally indifferent whether the necessarily
> inacessible worlds exist outside of our minds or not. (07)
MW: My point precisely.
> Armstrong promotes combinatorialist fictionalism about possible
> worlds. In this sense, possible worlds are considered as fictions
> about how the actual world will be, was, or is now. Combinatorialism
> means that the state of the actual world tomorrow will be some
> recombination of the elements of the actual world today. This way, the
> actual world tomorrow will not just be a member of the set of all
> logically possible worlds, but also a member of the more constrained
> set of all worlds that are combinatorially possible tomorrow. This is
> also what the physicist mainly do when they predict the future; they
> don't have to think about "the set of all logically possible worlds". (08)
MW: Yes. But writers of science fiction are not so constrained, and science
fiction exists. (09)
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>  Paavo Pylkkäanen. Mind, Matter, and the Implicate Order. Springer,
>  David Malet Armstrong. A Combinatorial Theory of Possibility.
> Cambridge University Press, 1989.
>  David Malet Armstrong. Reply to Peter Forrest. Ontology,
> causality, and mind: essays in honour of D.M. Armstrong. Cambridge
> University Press, 1993.
>  David Lewis. Counterfactuals. Blackwell & Harvard U.P., 1973
> (revised printing 1986).
> > Please note my reply to
> > Chris M: Lewis also said that a solution that did not assume the
> > existence of possible worlds would be preferable if it could derive the
> > same results. Michael Dunn demonstrated such a solution, but Lewis was
> > not aware of it. As I said before, please, please, please read the
> > following article:
> > http://www.jfsowa.com/pubs/worlds.pdf
> > MW: Talk about possible worlds
> > might or might not correspond to something that really exists.
> > That
> > is true. But even if some claim about a possible world happened to be
> > true, that does not refute my point that the claim was both intensional
> > (with an S) and intentional (with a T).
> > In general, I agree that
> > looking at extensions is a useful exercise. But further evidence and
> > inferences are necessary to determine the intensions (with an S) that
> > generated the extensions and the intentions (with a T) that led to the
> > intensions.
> > Those inferences are often very difficult, and they may
> > be mistaken.
> > John
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