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Modal Realism and Philosophical Analysis: The Case of Island Universes

Filozofia, 2013, vol. 68, No 10, pp. 868-876.
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The paper outlines and immediately discusses the so-called ‘soft’ impossibility, i.e., non-logical impossibility generated by modal realism. It will be shown that although in a particular case genuine modal realism, straightforwardly applied, deems impossible a proposition that other philosophers have claimed to be (intuitively) possible, there is a variety of methodologically acceptable moves available in order to avoid the problem. The impossibility at issue is the existence of island universes. Given the Lewisian analysis there are three points at which we might try to square genuine modal realism with such a controversial and problematic claim of (im)possibility, namely: a) the contraction of our pre-theoretical opinions about possibility, b) the revision of some Lewisian definitions and/or c) the extension of our ontological commitments. I shall look at each of these approaches applied to the problematic case.

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