The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 5, 2007

Logic and Philosophy of the Sciences

Wen-Fang Wang
Pages 51-56

Modal Fictionalism and Hale's Dilemma Against It

Gideon Rosen proposes a view called "modal fictionalism" which Rosen thinks has all the benefits of modal realism without its ontological costs. Whereas modal realists have a paraphrase r(0) of a modal claim "0", modal fictionalists claim that the correct translation of "0" is rather the result of prefixing "according to the hypothesis of a plurality of worlds" to r(0). Rosen takes the prefix to be primitive and defines other modal notions in terms of it. Bob Hale, however, thinks the fictionalist's project suffers from a "simple" dilemma. The purpose of this paper is to show that Rosen is right in taking the prefix as primitive and Hale is wrong in thinking fictionalism as being threatened by the dilemma.