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Title: A world without worlds
Author: Gregory, D. I.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2001
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Many contemporary philosophers believe that ascriptions of possibility and necessity involve quantification over a range of things, possible worlds. They think this because they hold that possible worlds bring benefits which cannot reasonably be foregone. For instance, possible worlds are supposed to be useful in analysing many concepts, in freeing us from primitive modality and in assessing modal inferences. This thesis considers the most important supposed benefits which possible worlds bring and argues that each of the putative benefits is either worthless or available to those who do not believe in possible worlds. Its arguments thus show that the standard reasons for believing in possible worlds are poor ones. The arguments also shed light on a range of important issues in the philosophy of modality, such as the status of primitive modality, and the relationship between ordinary modal reasoning and model theoretic techniques in modal logic. The thesis concludes by considering attempts to view talk about possible worlds as metaphorical or somehow fictional, thus entitling one to the benefits of possible worlds without commitment to them. Such views threaten to render redundant this thesis's piecemeal study of the supposed benefits brought by possible worlds. The thesis argues that no such view of talk about possible worlds is correct.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available