Chisholm's Modal Paradox(es) and Counterpart Theory 50 Years On

Murali Ramachandran



Lewis’s [1968] counterpart theory (LCT for short), motivated by his modal realism, made its appearance within a year of Chisholm’s modal paradox [1967]. We are not modal realists, but we argue that a satisfactory resolution to the paradox calls for a counterpart-theoretic (CT-)semantics. We make our case by showing that the Chandler–Salmon strategy of denying the S4 axiom [◊◊ψ →◊ψ] is inadequate to resolve the paradox – we take on Salmon’s attempts to defend that strategy against objects from Lewis and Williamson. We then consider three substantially different CT-approaches: Lewis’s LCT, Forbes’s (FCT), including his fuzzy version, and Ramachandran’s (RCT). We argue that the best approach is a mish-mash of FCT and RCT.


Chisholm’s paradox; counterpart theory; Lewis; Salmon; Forbes;Williamson

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ISSN: 1425-3305 (print version)

ISSN: 2300-9802 (electronic version)

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