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Eduard
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Actualism
« on: 2005-11-18 16:21:33 »
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Actualism

To understand the thesis of actualism, consider the following example. Imagine a race of beings — call them ‘Aliens’ — that is very different from any life-form that exists anywhere in the universe; different enough, in fact, that no actually existing thing could have been an Alien, any more than a given gorilla could have been a fruitfly. Now, even though there are no Aliens, it seems intuitively the case that there could have been such things. After all, life could have evolved very differently than the way it did in fact — differently enough, at least, that other, very different kinds of things might have existed. So in virtue of what is it true that there could have been Aliens when in fact there are none, and when, moreover, nothing that actually exists could have been an Alien?

To answer this question, a philosopher should try to identify the special features of the world that are responsible for the truth of claims about what could have been the case. One group of philosophers, the possibilists, offers the following answer: ‘It is possible that there are Aliens’ is true because there are in fact individuals that could have been Aliens. At first blush, this might appear directly to contradict the premise that no actually existing thing could possibly have been an Alien. The possibilist's thesis, however, is that actual existence encompasses only a subset of the things that, in the broadest sense, are. Rather, in addition to things like us that actually exist, there are merely possible things — possible Aliens, for example — that could be actual, but, as it happens are not. So there are such things, but they just happen to exhibit a rather less robust but nonetheless fully-fledged type of being than we do. For the possibilist, then, ‘It is possible that there are Aliens’ is true simply in virtue of the fact that there are possible-but-nonactual Aliens, i.e., things that are not actual but which could have been, and such that, moreover, if they had been actual, they would have been Aliens.

Actualists reject this answer; they deny that there are any nonactual individuals. Actualism is the philosophical position that everything there is — everything that can be said to exist in any sense — is actual. Put another way, actualism denies that there is any kind of being beyond actuality; to be is to be actual. Actualism therefore stands in stark contrast to possibilism, which, as we've seen, takes the things there are to include possible but non-actual objects.

Of course, actualists will agree that there could have been Aliens. Actualism, therefore, can be thought of as the metaphysical theory that attempts to account for the truth of claims like ‘It is possible that there are Aliens’ without appealing to any nonactual objects whatsoever. What makes actualism so philosophically interesting, is that there is no obviously correct way to account for the truth of claims like ‘It is possible that there are Aliens’ without appealing to possible but nonactual objects. In the rest of this article, we will lay out the various attempts to do so in some detail and assess their effectiveness.

The source and bit more on the topic: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/actualism/
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David Lucifer
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Re:Actualism
« Reply #1 on: 2005-11-21 19:30:59 »
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Quote from: Eduard on 2005-11-18 16:21:33   

What makes actualism so philosophically interesting, is that there is no obviously correct way to account for the truth of claims like ‘It is possible that there are Aliens’ without appealing to possible but nonactual objects.

I don't see a problem with this. Possible but nonactual objects are merely descriptions of things that don't exist. Dragons of the western traditional variety (giant flying fire-breathing reptiles) almost certainly don't exist anywhere outside of fiction for various physical and biological reasons yet there is no difficulty describing them with words or creating pictures of them with paint or pixels.
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Eduard
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Re:Actualism
« Reply #2 on: 2005-11-22 07:48:03 »
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That guy may had possible world semantics and semantics of fiction in mind.

How could we get these pictures in our minds? (Like he picture of dragon; and as universal as it is in whole world.)

The most practical answer is that we simply connect some ideas which we already now to each other and get those fictitious ideas, like just dragon. Dragon being a reptile which has a cabability to fly (often) and breathe out fire (the most often). I'm no archeologist, but I have thought hat dragons are known in very many and somewhat distinct cultures. Does anyne of you know more about just dragons and their history in mythologies of the world? 

Hey there is that possible worlds semantics in detaisl: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-modal/#6 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Possible_world

Some of these guys are even possible world realists, thinking that possible worlds exists
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Eduard
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Re:Actualism
« Reply #3 on: 2005-11-22 07:48:16 »
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Not that I do believe in such possible word's reality but that modal logics maybe even practically valueable.
« Last Edit: 2005-11-22 08:35:12 by Eduard » Report to moderator   Logged

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David Lucifer
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Re:Actualism
« Reply #4 on: 2005-11-22 11:33:26 »
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Considering that the connection between ideas and the real world are tenuous at best, and considering that ideas can be combined in vast arrays of permutations with little constraint, it shouldn't be at all surprising that many ideological chimeras have no real world counterpart.
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