The Barcan Formula in Metaphysics



Published 15-07-2013
Ori Simchen


The Barcan formula (BF) is commonly paraphrased as the schematic conditional that if it is possible that there be a phi then something or other is possibly a phi.  It is validated by the most straightforward systems of quantified modal logic.  It is also widely considered to pose a threat to the commonsensical metaphysical view that there are no non-actual (or 'merely possible') things.  I show how BF can be cleared of such a charge by construing it as a bridge principle connecting modality de dicto and modality de re while retaining a Russellian robust sense of reality in modal matters.

How to Cite

Simchen, O. (2013). The Barcan Formula in Metaphysics. THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 28(3), 375–392.
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Barcan formula, modality, de dicto and de re