PhilSci Archive

Counting Possibilia

Tomasetta, Alfredo (2010) Counting Possibilia. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 25 (2). ISSN 2171-679X

639-1324-1-PB.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (238kB)


Timothy Williamson supports the thesis that every possible entity necessarily exists and so he needs to explain how a possible son of Wittgenstein’s, for example, exists in our world: he exists as a merely possible object (MPO), a pure locus of potential. Williamson presents a short argument for the existence of MPOs: how many knives can be made by fitting together two blades and two handles? Four: two, at the most, are concrete objects, the others being merely possible knives and merely possible objects. This paper defends the idea that one can avoid reference and ontological commitment to MPOs. My proposal is that MPOs
can be dispensed with by using the notion of ‘rule of an art’. I first present a solution according to which
we count instructions describing physical combinations between components. This account, however, is not completely satisfactory and I claim that one can find a better one: in answering Williamson’s question, we count classes of possible worlds in which the same instance of a general rule is applied.

Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Additional Information: ISSN: 0495-4548 (print)
Keywords: Williamson, merely possible object, possible world, rule, artifact
Depositing User: Users 15304 not found.
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2014 00:42
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2014 00:42
Item ID: 10315
Journal or Publication Title: THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science
Publisher: Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
Official URL:
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1387/theoria.639
Date: June 2010
Volume: 25
Number: 2
ISSN: 2171-679X

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item