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Agnosticism about Other Worlds: A New Antirealist Programme in Modality

John Divers
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Vol. 69, No. 3 (Nov., 2004), pp. 660-685
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40040771
Page Count: 26
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Agnosticism about Other Worlds: A New Antirealist Programme in Modality
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Abstract

The modal antirealist, as presented here, aims to secure at least some of the benefits associated with talking in genuine modal realist terms while avoiding commitment to a plurality of Lewisian (or ersatz) worlds. The antirealist stance of agnosticism about other worlds combines acceptance of Lewis's account of what world-talk means with refusal to assert, or believe in, the existence of other worlds. Agnosticism about other worlds does not entail a comprehensive agnosticism about modality, but where such agnosticism about modality is enforced, the aim of the agnostic programme is to show that it is not detrimental to our modal practices. The agnostic programme consists in an attempt to demonstrate the rational dispensability of that disputed class of modal beliefs which the agnostic eschews, but which are held by the realist and the folk. Here I attempt to motivate, describe, and illustrate such an agnostic antirealist programme in modal philosophy.

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