The representational limits of possible worlds semantics

Nicholas Jones

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This paper evaluates Stalnaker’s recent attempt to outline a realist interpretation of possible worlds semantics that lacks substantive metaphysical commitments. The limitations of his approach are used to draw some more general lessons about the non-representational artefacts of formal representations. Three key conclusions are drawn. (1) Stalnaker’s account of possible worlds semantics’ non-representational artefacts does not cohere with his metaphysics of modality. (2) Invariance-based analyses of non-representational artefacts cannot capture a certain kind of artefact. (3) Stalnaker must treat instrumentally those aspects of possible worlds formalism governing the interaction between quantification and modality, under any analysis whatsoever of non-representational artefacts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Early online date29 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


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