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The Nature of Necessity$
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Alvin Plantinga

Print publication date: 1978

Print ISBN-13: 9780198244141

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198244142.001.0001

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Possible But Unactual Objects: The Classical Argument

Possible But Unactual Objects: The Classical Argument

Chapter:
(p.121) VII Possible But Unactual Objects: The Classical Argument
Source:
The Nature of Necessity
Author(s):

Alvin Plantinga (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198244142.003.0007

Chapter 7 explores the question: Are there or could there be, possible but non‐existent objects? In the first half of the chapter, I critically assess the claim that an applied semantics for modal logic commits us to the claim that there are non‐existent possible objects. I conclude that it does commit us to there being some possible world distinct from the actual world that contains some object distinct from anything that exists in the actual world; but it does not, however, commit us to the claim that there really are some things that do not exist. In the second half of the chapter, I develop a historically based argument for the conclusion that there are non‐existent possible objects, which I call the Classical Argument. Importantly, the Classical Argument presupposes that singular negative existentials are possible. I end the chapter by showing that certain objections to the possibility of singular negative existentials fail, and that such existentials are indeed possible.

Keywords:   actual, existence, modal logic, possible, possible object, possible worlds, proposition, singular existential

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