more from Brian Ellis

Single Idea 5482

[catalogued under 10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 1. Possible Worlds / c. Possible worlds realism]

Full Idea

The main trouble with possible worlds realism is that the only reason anyone has, or ever could have, to believe in other possible worlds (other than this one) is that they are needed, apparently, to provide truth conditions for modals and conditionals.


'Realism' here is the belief that possible worlds actually exist. 'Modals' are possibilities and necessities.

Gist of Idea

Possible worlds realism is only needed to give truth conditions for modals and conditionals


Brian Ellis (The Philosophy of Nature: new essentialism [2002], Ch.7)

Book Reference

Ellis,Brian: 'The Philosophy of Nature: new essentialism' [Acumen 2002], p.129

A Reaction

This attacks Lewis. Ellis makes this sound like a trivial technicality, but if our metaphysics is going to make sense it must cover modals and conditionals. What do they actually mean? Lewis has a theory, at least.