The Worlds of Possibility: Modal Realism and the Semantics of Modal Logic


Charles Chihara gives a thorough critical exposition of modal realism, the philosophical doctrine that there exist many possible worlds of which the actual world--the universe in which we live--is just one. The striking success of possible-worlds semantics in modal logic has made this ontological doctrine attractive. Modal realists maintain that philosophers must accept the existence of possible worlds if they wish to have the benefit of using possible-worlds semantics to assess modal arguments and explain modal principles. Chihara challenges this claim, and argues instead for modality without worlds; he offers a new account of the role of interpretations or structures of the formal languages of logic.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Oxford
Publication year:
  • 1998


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