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The Ontology Of Many Worlds: Modality And Time

2079 words - 8 pages

The Ontology of Many-Worlds: Modality and Time

ABSTRACT: There are two types of theories regarding many worlds: one is modal, while the other is temporal. The former regards reality as consisting of many possible worlds, while the latter holds that reality consists of many momentary worlds, which are usually called moments. I compare these two theories, paying close attention to the concept of transworld identity and compare trans-possible world identity with trans-momentary world identity (or transmoment identity). I characterize time from the point of many-worlds view, believing this to be one of the best ways of grasping the reality of time. First, I show that there is reason to adopt the many-worlds view because transworld identity is meaningful for both of them, while it is not for space. Second, I argue that transmoment identity is different from transpossible world identity concerning reality. The former is a realistic relation, while the latter is not. Thus, I find that the reality of time is in the relation of transmoment identity. Such a view, I contend, has merit on the basis that it recognizes the reality of time in a sense that is not true of space.


There are two kinds of theories of many-worlds; the one is modal and the other temporal. The former regards the reality as consisting of many possible worlds, while the latter as consisting of many momentary worlds, which usually are called 'moments'. (1)

In this paper I make a comparison between modal and temporal theories of many-worlds, especially paying attention to the concept of transworld identity and so making a comparison between trans-possible-world identity and trans-momentary-world identity (or trans-moment identity abbreviately). (2) My final aim is to characterize time from the point of many-worlds view, since I believe it is one of the best ways to grasp the reality of time.

I show first that there is a reason to adopt many-worlds view on modality and time; in short, transworld identity is meaningful for both of them, while it is not for space. In that sense time is closer to modality than to space. Second I argue however that trans-moment identity is different from trans-possible-world identity concerning reality; the former is a realistic relation, while the latter is not. Thus I find the reality of time in the relation of trans-moment identity. Such a view has a merit of recognizing the reality of time in a sense that is not true of space.


At first let's compare the following six sentences:

<a> : 'Actually (now,here) D. K. is meeting Prof. M.'

<a'> : 'In another possible world (now,here) D. K. is meeting Prof. M.'

<b> : 'Now (actually,here) D. K. is meeting Prof. M.'

<b'> : 'Someday (actually,here) D. K. is meeting Prof. M.'

<c> : 'Here(now,actually) D. K. is meeting Prof. M.'

<c'> : 'Overthere(now,actually) D. K. is meeting Prof. M.'

Among them, <a> and <a'> are compatible and so are...

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