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Classifying and the Classifications of Possible Worlds. P. 88–98

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Section: Philosophy






Vladimir V. Voloshin
Donetsk National University; ul. Sportsmenov 4-1, Donetsk, 283037, Ukraine;


This article deals with the scope (extension) and content (intension) of the concept of possible world. The aim of this paper is to determine the applicability of the classification theory to the class of objects called possible worlds by means of detecting correspondence between the existing classifications and the rules of the theory in question. Due to the fact that during the process of classification the extensional program (taxonomy) intersects with the intensional program (meronomy), the achievement of the aim is preceded by the analysis of the definitions of the article’s key concept. The author treats possible worlds as mental constructs representing possible configurations of the individuals’ existence, events and histories relevant in a certain system of modal coordinates. The novelty of the article consists in the fact that the problems of application of the classification theory to the concept of possible world have been neither formulated nor solved earlier. The theoretical importance of the work lies in broadening and crossing the classification paradigm and the problem areas of the doctrine of possible worlds. The obtained results are of practical significance for studies within such domains as ontology, epistemology, and logic. Moreover, the results reveal certain specifics and difficulties in the classification procedure (typology) aimed at mental constructs. In addition, some obstacles hampering the standard classification of possible worlds were identified. The classifications considered in this article appear to be artificial typological descriptions, characterized by relativity and prescriptivity as well as by a deficit of predictive power. The groups are created arbitrarily, breaching the rules of logic; both the grounds and the principles of classification are fuzzy, while many of the groups singled out are falsifiable. Thus, it is concluded that the process under study has considerable limitations as far as the extensional aspect is concerned – its cognitive potential is only fulfilled within the intensional diagnostic program.


possible worlds, modality, accessibility, classifying, classification, taxonomy, meronomy
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