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Hans Burkhardt

From Origen to Kripke

A History of Possible Worlds

ISBN: 978-3-88405-504-5

Price: €8.00 (including 19 % tax)


Abstract to  Contribution

Hans Burkhardt  presents in his contrition a philosophically informed history of the notion of a possible world. Contrary to some popular views, Burkhardt shows that Leibniz was not the first philosopher to introduce possible worlds. The second-third century philosopher Origen had previously projected a plurality of worlds, compared them in terms of superiority and inferiority, and discussed the notion of transworld identity. John Duns Scotus and Francisco Suàrez in the Scholastic era similarly reflected on systems of possible worlds before Leibniz. Particularly notable for Burkhardt is the fact that medieval philosophers had already considered the key concept of compossibility. Yet it is only with the rationalists René Descartes and Leibniz that the idea of compossible totalities is fully developed, as Burkhardt argues. Burkhardt also examines some highlights in the history of the notion before and in the beginnings of contemporary development, including such later authors as Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, Christian August Crusius, Immanuel Kant, J.S. Mill, G.E. Moore, C.I. Lewis and Heinrich Scholz, showing that many contemporary discussions were anticipated by these earlier philosophers.

Authors Biography

Hans Burkhardt, in this contribution, presents a philosophically informed history of the notion of a possible world. Contrary to some popular views, Burkhardt shows that Leibniz was not the first philosopher to introduce possible worlds. The second-third century philosopher Origen had previously projected a plurality of worlds, compared them in terms of superiority and inferiority, and discussed the notion of transworld identity. John Duns Scotus and Francisco Suàrez in the Scholastic era similarly reflected on systems of possible worlds before Leibniz. Particularly notable for Burkhardt is the fact that medieval philosophers had already considered the key concept of compossibility. Yet it is only with the rationalists René Descartes and Leibniz that the idea of compossible totalities is fully developed, as Burkhardt argues. Burkhardt also examines some highlights in the history of the notion before and in the beginnings of contemporary development, including such later authors as Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, Christian August Crusius, Immanuel Kant, J.S. Mill, G.E. Moore, C.I. Lewis and Heinrich Scholz, showing that many contemporary discussions were anticipated by these earlier philosophers.


 





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