rigid designation and esentialism

If possible worlds are causally isolated from one another, and not located in space or time, and every object in one world has counterparts at least one other world, and we identify these counterparts with one another by using rigid designators, does that mean that we have to assume some kind of essentialism?

How can counterparts be identical and pluralistic without some kind of essentialism?

What sorts of properties of objects would we have to consider to be the essences of them if not physical ones?

Would it just be that we call them the same thing, and in that they have identity?

Is something so just because we say it is?

Why would objects have essential counterparts, multiple worlds or not? Aren’t essences and identity imputed?

I’m just asking like, if I’m here in the actual world, and I have counterparts in another possible world, do I have to assume that I have some kind of essence that’s shared by those counterparts in order to call them counterparts at all?

Then I’m asking how I could be Scott in this world, and how a counterpart of mine could be Scott in another possible world without there being some kind of essence to me that it shares?

I don’t want to believe in essences, but I do want to believe in causally isolated possible worlds in which I have counterparts. So how can I have it both ways?

Right now that is my problem with modal realism. The existence of a thing is relational, so it is not sufficient to talk about “a fan”, instead we have to talk about “the fan in my house”. Now, that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about broad categories (such as fans), but when we want to talk about whether something exists in this and at least one other world, I don’t think we can talk about broad categories so much as specific things. But if things are relational, then it follows that for a particular thing to exist in another world, those things held in relation to it must also exist. In turn, those things in relation to the things in relation to the fan must also exist in order for their identity, and thus the fan’s identity, to be said to exist. Now if we extrapolate this to the nth order, what we’ve created is an alternate world that is, necessarily, just like our own. But multiple identical worlds would defeat the purpose of modal realism. So either my conceptualization of an object is wrong or modal realism defeats itself. Admittedly, I could be wrong, but I don’t see how.

I’m a little mystified by what your looking for. Why can’t you have it both ways? “Counterparts” are likenesses imputed by the conceptual mind. If anything in say two worlds were actually the same, they wouldn’t exist in two worlds at all.

Is this “counterpart” thing a technical thing that’s part of some complex philosophy that I’m unaware of? If not, it’s hard to conceive of why you want to believe in them.

I’m still trying to figure out just how to word all this stuff. In my opinion the best thing we can do with modal realism is to get rid of all the things that aren’t possible and only talk about what is. I think of it as a conversation. One person says “I think x is the case in this, the actual world” and another says “i think -x is the case in this, the actual world”. So they start doing reductio ad absurdums to one another’s positions until they make both arguments as consistent as they can be. Then you take the arguements and compare them to the things, or states of affairs or whatever that are right in front of both of them until they get down just what exactly the definition of “this the actual world is” be it in logical terms or physical ones or what have you. Then all the disputes are settled, and the only thing left is sorting out the two people’s doxastic positions until harmony is achieved and knowledge of the actual world is had by both.

Don’t get me wrong, I really don’t think it’s that simple. But the problem I have is with the counterpart relation. It’s like I say “here I am in the actual world, a world where I believe pot is good for me”. And you say “here I am in the actual world, a world where I believe that pot is bad for me.” Both of those statements can be correct because we’ve added the whole “i believe” thing. But we shouldn’t believe or desire things that aren’t the case. We shouldn’t be talking about beliefs at all when it comes to knowledge in my opinion. I think we need to determine first what CAN be true and what can’t, then sort out what we should believe based on our experiences of the propositions that are before us and agreed upon.

You might say I’m not going to get cancer from smoking, and you might tell me that I’ve misidentified myself with a counterpart of mine in another possible world, because here in the actual world you know it to be the case that I will get cancer. So how would you convince me of who and where I am? By pointing out things to me here in this world which contradict my beliefs. You’d be doing me a favor. You’d be modifying my doxastic alternatives or something like that.

I’ll have to think about this some more. I really like talking about this stuff, it’s just really hard to get a good conversation going as it seems difficult to really formulate good questions.

I think what’s getting to me is that if I’m supposed to have a counterpart in other possible worlds, and it’s supposed to be called Scott, and it’s a counterpart and it’s called Scott because it’s identical to me, then I can’t figure out what exactly about it is identical other than that all of them are called Scott. I might say that they are identical in that they all have the same function or something like that, or I might say that they are all identical in that they have the same name. But I don’t think that functions and names are essences. Maybe I’m confusing myself here. I just can’t see how something could be rigidly designated, as in duplicated and called the same thing throughout all possible worlds without it becoming a set or something. How can there be multiple instances of individuals? Don’t they cease to be individuals? I’m so confused right now. If this post doesn’t make sense just disregard it. I’ll be back later on.

Why are you supposed to have a counterpart? Anyway, even if we stick to one world, i.e. the one we share, am I your counterpart on some level because we are both human? Are we even more of a counterpart to each other if we both have brown hair? But “human” and “brown” are imputed characteristics. No matter how it’s looked at, I’m here and you’re there. Or I’m there and you’re here. My brown hair is not your brown hair. If we were identical we would exist in the same place, and I could read your mind. If there are two worlds, nothing can be truly or essentially identical between them or else there would be only one world.

That’s my logic anyway. :-"

The problem with the essentialist argument is that it runs into a brick wall when it hits emptiness, either in the Buddhist or Humean sense. And both are pretty tough to get around. We known that shit since Thales. So when we talk about any object, we necessarily need to discuss it relationally, at least in terms of the objects of the moments preceding it and the moments proceeding from it. Otherwise, you aren’t talking about anything – and Lewis et al. seem a poor fit for nihilism.

As for beliefs and all that, what you are doing is courting empty formalism unless you place it within a situated context of values. Oftentimes, the world where you believe pot is good for you and I believe it is bad for you is the same world, but we are merely talking at crossed purposes because of our differences in values. Say I want to run a marathon, or avoid pulmonary cancer, then smoking anything would be severely detrimental to those ends. But let’s suppose that you want to get high, then pot is required for that end. Or if you just want to escape the world, then pot is a very useful tool. Discussing things like what is good for someone requires knowledge of that someone. The Enlightenment Project forgets that, and so it runs into all sorts of problems.

Now, I can try to convince you that my goods, my ends, my values are superior to yours and harmonize our positions that way, but that is a matter of aesthetics.

agreement upon definition (of an external event or object), and that which exists outside of the mind (the external event or object itself) never quite get it done…

we have decided that this term means this event…

we have…

the fact that the other parties that make up the we have the same status (outside the mind) as the event being described is conveniently overlooked…

language itself assumes an audience…

“…What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms—in short, a sum of human relations which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins…” -Nietzsche (italics mine)