Impossible worlds and propositions: against the parity thesis

Francesco Berto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Accounts of propositions as sets of possible worlds have been criticized for conflating distinct impossible propositions. In response to this problem, some have proposed to introduce impossible worlds to represent distinct impossibilities, endorsing the thesis that impossible worlds must be of the same kind; this has been called the parity thesis. I show that this thesis faces problems, and propose a hybrid account which rejects it: possible worlds are taken as concrete Lewisian worlds, and impossibilities are represented as set-theoretic constructions out of them. This hybrid account (1) distinguishes many intuitively distinct impossible propositions; (2) identifies impossible propositions with extensional constructions; (3) avoids resorting to primitive modality, at least so far as Lewisian modal realism does.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-486
Number of pages16
JournalThe Philosophical Quarterly
Volume60
Issue number240
Early online date2 Jun 2009
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010

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