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Many people seem to think that because some concept doesn’t contain a contradiction that it automatically becomes a live metaphysical possibility. It was demonstrated almost 40 years ago that this is not the case. Naming & Necessity
Video Rating: 4 / 5

25 Responses to metaphysical possibility ? logical possibility

  • Huesos138 says:

    Kripke was mistaken on a few points. Read up on two-dimensional semantics and you will understand why there is no such thing as metaphysical possibilities or necessities.

  • DSBrekus says:

    Nice argument by contradiction

  • theonlyway2truth says:

    Very nice video!

  • WayOfTheBastard says:

    That was interesting. I think I need to watch it it again. Great stuff though.

  • dfthompson says:

    I’m not supposing ‘dfthompson’ is a description, but a proper name and hence a rigid designator. Isn’t that Kripke’s view? So, given that I’m a human being, it’s not possible for me to be a shoe-lace – A world in which neither my body nor my thoughts exists but instead there is a shoe-lace is one in which I don’t exist. Remember K’s remarks about the wooden table? That individual table couldn’t have been made of ice – that would have been a different table.

  • urbanelf says:

    The claim being made is that proper names like dfthompson aren’t descriptions of unique objects, so I don’t know how your last sentence is impossible. It would be surprising if it turned out that you are a shoelace, but not impossible.

  • drsuessre14 says:

    Sorry. It’s there just in case you want look into it. I don’t have the time, and even if I did, I wouldn’t expect that others would.

  • urbanelf says:


  • dfthompson says:

    This seems a bit roundabout to me. “This object is red all over and green all over” is not a logical contradiction – it’s representation in PC would be an atomic sentence, such as “Q”. But it’s a metaphysical impossibility that an object be completely red and completely green (in the same sense, at a single time). Same with “I, dfthompson, am a shoe-lace” (not a thinking shoe-lace – “Oh, no, I’m a shoe lace!” – but an ordinary shoe-lace).

  • bushfingers says:

    That was VERY interesting and very well explained. Thanks

  • JasperAvi says:

    Well, one key issue I have with this, is if you find personal identity to be something like Locke’s notion. That is, our identity is the conglomerate of memories manifest in a certain particular character as a result. So, if there is some “Avi” in another world, he would need to have all the same characteristics as me otherwise it wouldn’t quite designate itself as me. Looking like me wouldn’t quite cut it.

    So, would something be able to “exist in every possible world”, especially a human?

  • urbanelf says:

    Thanks! I think of them as concepts, but I think they have to be ones that are not impossible given potentials that are or were present in the actual world.

  • urbanelf says:

    You keep giving me more homework. Why?

  • urbanelf says:

    I have to admit, that I do have some questions about how these rigid designators work… and when Kripke gets to his arguments about natural kinds I do have a WTF moment.

    Thanks for your compliments. I had to read the book about 5 times before I started getting it.

  • urbanelf says:

    Thank you very much!

  • urbanelf says:

    NASA hoax ftw.

  • migkillertwo says:

    Very interesting video. So what does it mean to say that some world is “possible”?

  • drsuessre14 says:

    “Yay,” for Kripke! You’re right, they’re not the same thing at all. However, I was talking to Tom Crisp the other day, and he said certain people – Chalmers and Soames – conceive of logical possibility in very different ways than maybe we’re used to. So that’s something to keep in mind.

  • JasperAvi says:

    Though, I will admit, you did a great job breaking these points down. Took a class on Philosophy of Language in undergrad and it was wildly confusing when not presented appropriately. Thanks!

  • JasperAvi says:

    While this whole “rigid designator” business seems appropriate via common sense, there are countless presuppositions about personal identity, classificatory systems, and sentimentality that I’m not sure I’m on board with.

  • theowarner says:

    Thanks… this naming theory is, I think, useful. There is a lot to say about God the proper noun now.

  • pfarabee says:

    I was unsure exactly where you were headed with your argument until the very last part. I guess it’s a reflection on how interesting the video was, however, that I watched it to the end.

    In all, very good point.

  • LennyBound says:

    In other words, he sees the actual world as on par ontologically with any other conceivable world. When we use the word “actual” we are referring to our world, but when individuals in other worlds use the term “actual” they are referring to their world. Both of these utterances are equally “real” in the context of their own world.

    Yeah… it’s pretty much the most bloated ontology imaginable (no pun intended).

  • LennyBound says:

    No worries. I don’t know much about them either, but you should really look into Lewis’ views on possible worlds if you get the chance.

    He believes that all logically possible worlds exist in the same sense that the actual world exists. Consequently, he sees “actuality” as indexical.

  • TenThousandSubbies says:

    See, the flaw in your argument is that it is totally unsurprising that Neil Armstrong is a robot built by NASA.


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