Modal Noneism: Transworld Identity, Identification, and Individuation

Francesco Berto


Noneism a is form of Meinongianism, proposed by Richard Routley and developed and improved by Graham Priest in his widely discussed book Towards Non-Being. Priest's noneism is based upon the double move of (a) building a worlds semantics including impossible worlds, besides possible ones, and (b) admitting a new comprehension principle for objects, differerent from the ones proposed in other kinds of neo-Meinongian theories, such as Parsons' and Zalta's. The new principle has no restrictions on the sets of properties that can deliver objects, but parameterizes the having of properties by objects to worlds. Modality is therefore explicitly built in - so the approach can be conveniently labeled as "modal noneism". In this paper, I put modal noneism to work by testing it against classical issues in modal logic and semantics. It turns out that - perhaps surprisingly - the theory (1) performs well in problems of transworld identity, which are frequently considered to be the difficult ones in the literature; (2) faces a limitation, albeit not a severe one, when one comes to transworld individuation, which is often taken (especially after Kripke's notorious 'stipulation' solution) as an easy issue, if not a pseudo-problem; and (3) may stumble upon a real trouble when dealing with what I shall call 'extensionally indiscernible entities' - particular nonexistent objects modal noneism is committed to.

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