Possible Worlds

  • M. J. Cresswell
Part of the Studies in Linguistics and Philosophy book series (SLAP, volume 36)


Who is the Pickwick Papers about? Well it’s about Mr Pickwick and Mr Snodgrass and Mr Tupman and Mr Winkle. Is the Pickwick Papers true? No it’s fiction. Did these men actually exist? No they did not. There never was a Mr Pickwick or a Mr Snodgrass or a Mr Tupman or a Mr Winkle (though of course there may have been other people with the same names, but the Pickwick Papers wasn’t about them). But if there never were such people, it seems that the Pickwick Papers is not about anybody. And that’s absurd, because the Pickwick Papers is about someone. It’s about Mr Pickwick and Mr Snodgrass and Mr Tupman and Mr Winkle and Sam Weller and Mrs Bardell and Ben Allen and Bob Sawyer and Uncle Tom Cobbly and all.


Modal Logic Actual World Metaphysical Theory Subjunctive Conditional Belief World 
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  1. 1.
    It is in fact wrong to speak of the possible world in which the events of The Pickwick Papers occurred, for there are many different ones, representing the many different ways the world could be, about which the novel is silent. It is no trivial matter to get at the relevant set of worlds. One of the most lucid accounts of these problems may be found in Lewis (1978).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. Cresswell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyVictoria University of WellingtonNew Zealand

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