Monday, April 17, 2006

Fictionalist Necessitation

According to modal fictionalism, some modal sentence p is true iff according to PW, p*; where PW is a fiction based on Lewis' theory of possible worlds, and p* is the Lewisian translation of p. Now, Chihara's The Worlds of Possibility (p.181) claims that this analysis makes the necessitation rule: □φ→φ come out invalid. Chihara writes:
The antecedent tells us that, according to PW, (□φ)*. Why should that enable us to conclude that φ is true? After all, PW is acknowledged to be a piece of fiction... how can it be legitimate to infer the truth of φ from what this wildly implausible story says about (□φ)*?

But back on p.170 he quoted Rosen's exposition of modal fictionalism, explaining that PW includes an encyclopedia consisting in a list of the "non-modal truths about the intrinsic character of the universe". That is, PW includes all non-modal truths about our world, in addition to a whole bunch of recombinant falsehoods. On the Lewisian story that PW tells, □φ is true iff φ is true in all possible worlds. So the italicized consequent is what (□φ)* means. Now, note that one of the worlds in the fiction of PW is an accurate representation of the actual world. So if (□φ)* is true according to PW, then this entails that φ is actually true, as required.

Am I missing something here?


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