World-Relative Truth and Pre-Worldly Truth (Sungil Han)

The Logic and Metaphysics Workshop will meet on April 30th from 4:15-6:15 in room 3309 of the CUNY Graduate Center for a talk by Sungil Han (Seoul National University).

Title: World-Relative Truth and Pre-Worldly Truth

Abstract: The problem of contingent existence – the problem of how an actual individual, say Socrates, could have not existed – has been a thorny problem in actualist theorists of modality. To solve the problem, Robert Adams divides world-relative truth into truth-in-a-world and truth-at-a-world and proposes that Socrates’s nonexistence is possible in the sense that his nonexistence is true at some possible world, not in some possible world. Adams’s solution relies on a semantic principle by which to determine what are true at a world, but, as he noted himself, the semantic principle leads to implausible consequences. My aim in this talk is to offer a solution along the line of Adams’s proposal without relying on his semantic principle. The fundamental limitation of Adams’s proposal is that his semantic principle is intended to determine what propositions are true at a world, but he provides no proper account of what it means to say that a proposition is true at a world. I offer an account of the notion of truth-at-a-world: to say that a proposition p is true at a world w is to say that the supposition of p is a precondition for w to perform its representational function qua a world-story in the sense that we need to suppose that p if we are to take w to be a world-story. Then I argue that propositions of identity, nonidentity and essences about all actual individuals are true at any world, which vindicates the view, notably espoused by Kit Fine, that these ‘pre-worldly’ truths are unqualifiedly necessary truths.

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