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, 28(3), 375–392.
Abstract 995 | PDF Downloads 423



Barcan formula, modality, de dicto and de re