Robert Stalnaker's Possible World

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Introduction The following essay is based on the paper „Possible Worlds‟ by Robert C. Stalnaker from Cornell University. The author Robert C. Stalnaker is probably best known as one of the founders along with David Lewis of the possible world theory of conditionals and counterfactuals. Stalnaker takes the possible world framework as a method to look at some problems in the theory of knowledge and philosophy of mind. In this paper, the author recognises four theses in what he calls David Lewis‟s extreme realism about possible worlds. The author explains the reasons which made him disagree with this extreme realism of David Lewis. Stalnaker advocates what he calls moderate realism which is essentially carefully revised version of extreme realism.…show more content…
Stalnaker agrees with Lewis that there are such things as ways things might have been, and is glad to go along with Lewis in calling them „possible worlds‟. But he does not consider, as Lewis does, that they are the same kinds of thing as the actual world. He believes that there is just one world. He believes that the way things are is a property or a state of the world, not the world itself. The statement that the world is the way it is is true in a sense, but not when read as an identity statement. Also, Stalnaker calls problem of general scepticism about whether a theory of possible worlds can have productive application, which, according to Stalnaker is not an independent reason to reject the idea ( it is simply rejecting the existence of possible worlds), Stalnaker discusses the problem of codesignating terms. Stalnaker backtracks slightly at this point to distinguish contingent propositions from necessary ones. He argues that the hope for a solution to this problem is to exploit the gap between the statement and proposition. According to Stalnaker, somewhere in the relation between the proposition and their expressions will be found that there are actually two propositions in the case of question, the contingent one and the necessary one, the first being a function of the rules determining the

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