Propositional contingentism and possible worlds

Christopher James Masterman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Propositional contingentism is the view that what propositions there are is a contingent matter—certain propositions ontologically depend on objects which themselves only contingently exist. Possible worlds are, loosely, complete ways the world could have been. That is to say, the ways in which everything in its totality could have been. Propositional contingentists make use of possible worlds frequently. However, a neglected, but important, question concerns whether there are any notions of worlds which are both theoretically adequate and consistent with propositional contingentism. Some notion of a possible world is adequate if the systematic connection between, at least, possibility and truth at some possible world holds. Here, I argue that no adequate notion of a possible world is available to at least those who subscribe to one natural formulation of propositional contingentism. I also show that this result contrasts with a simple and adequate definition of a possible world available to the necessitist—those who hold that necessarily everything necessarily exists.
Original languageEnglish
Article number409
Number of pages34
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2022


  • Propositional contingentism
  • Possible worlds
  • Contingentism
  • Modality
  • Propositions
  • Necessitism


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