Issues on the (Im)Possible IV - WARM-UP (abstracts)

Just to recall the Institute of Philosophy at the Slovak Academy of Sciences and the group are glad to announce a workshop Issues on the (Im)Possible IV - WARM-UP The workshop will be held at the Institute of Philosophy (SAS) in May 9, 2016 (Monday) as an introduction to the Modal Metaphysics: Issues on the (Im)Possible IV Conference.


Martin Schmidt (Faculty of Arts of Matej Bel University, SLOVAKIA) 

Inscrutability of Reference, Persistence, and Modalities 


According to the inscrutability of reference principle, there are source language sentences that have exact counterparts in the target language, yet some of their sentence-parts may refer to different things. One word sentence “Gavagai“ means “There is a rabbit“ though ‘rabbit’ may have different referents. The temporal stage of four-dimensional rabbit or three-dimensional rabbit as a whole are among them. It follows that ‘rabbit’ reference may be bound to either three- or four-dimensional ontologies yet the sentence where it occurs doesn’t shift its meaning. However, there are recent proposals in metaontology that consider the dispute between three- and four-dimensional views of particulars verbal. If that is the case, then one of the Quine’s principal examples of inscrutability of reference (and ontological relativity as well!) fails. The aim of the presentation is to demonstrate that the difference between the rival theories of particulars is not verbal and becomes evident mainly in modal context.

Adam Tuboly (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, HUNGARY) 

A Dilemma for Impossible-world Theorists 


The history of modality and modal logic saw many changes in the twentieth century. After a period of dismissal and disparage with Carnap’s quasi-possible-worlds, i.e. the linguistic state-descriptions, a new era were opened up. Things happened quickly: after Kripke introduced possible-worlds as models and/or indices, David Lewis developed his theory of concrete possible worlds as a full-blooded metaphysical theory. Many were opposing this move (as many do still today), but after a while, it turned out that merely possible worlds are not sufficient to account for our modal idioms and truths. Impossible worlds are needed as well. There are many options how to react to this move (from entire rejection to partial acceptance), but the aim of this presentation is to present a dilemma for impossible-world theorists. After discussing some usual puzzles and problems (some of which could be solved by the late Carnap’s meaning-postulate method), I will argue that if one were to accept contradictory sentences and their logical formulation, two options remain: either (1) hold that a certain world (or a states within it) makes them true and, in that case, one is committed to a strong logical realism; or (2) those sentences are true in virtue of their meanings and formation rules, and in that case, logic is detached from the extra-linguistic world. Given the problematic character of (1), (2) seems to be the viable option, but it does not require the existence of concrete impossible worlds.

Martin Vacek (Slovak Academy of Sciences, SLOVAKIA) 

Modality: How Fine-grained? 


This talk discusses two approaches to the structure of modal space: partial modal space and the stratified modal space. According to the former, (im)possible worlds correspond to arbitrary sets of sentences. Stratified modal space’s strategy, on the other side, construes (im)possible worlds as worlds all of which are closed under logical consequence (of some sort). I argue that although partial modal space is preferable to stratified modal space, its limitations motivate even finer-grained account of modality. I conclude by sketching such an account.

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