Sunday, May 14, 2006

In Good Company

Re-reading Naming and Necessity, I find that Kripke anticipates my claim that The Actual World is not a Possible World:
The 'actual world' -- better, the actual state, or history of the world -- should not be confused with the enormous scattered object that surrounds us. The latter might also have been called 'the (actual) world', but it is not the relevant object here. Thus the possible but not actual worlds are not phantom duplicates of the 'world' in this other sense. Perhaps such confusions would have been less likely but for the terminological accident that 'possible worlds' rather than 'possible states', or 'histories', of the world, or 'counterfactual situations' had been used. (pp.19-20)

Note that what he calls the 'actual world' is what I would call the possible world/scenario corresponding to our concrete world. But despite the terminological difference, the key point is the same: this correspondence is not identity.


1 comment:

  1. Personally i think kripke misses the point, which lewis nails; that the only thing distinguishing our 'actual' world state from the (allegedly) counter factual ones is we happen to be experiencing it as real.

    We either have to conclude some mysterious relationship between our experience and actuality, with the world being more than the sum of its logical truths, or we are left with indexical actuality and an unknown plurality of possible worlds... or both, which i favour.

    As a related issue, if a world state is merely a collection of facts, then if we accept Dennet's view of (non) consciousness, what distinguishes a mind in this world from one in a counterfactual world?

    Thanks for blogging about interesting things!


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