(Im)Possible Worlds

Wow, I'm so pissed off! Really, you idiot philosophers and logicians? Really? You keep on talking about "possible worlds", all the time, possible worlds this, possible worlds that, always using the word, "possible" (which ought to mean "possible", shouldn't it?), which means "actually possible in actuality", for if not so then it's not possible. Actually. Right? Hello?!

What you mean to say with the phrase 'possible worlds' is actually 'conceiveable worlds'. There are plenty of concieveable worlds which are not actually possible. It's conceiveable that the sun goes around the earth, rather than the earth going around the sun. We are pretty clear about gravity (except for certain idiots among us, evidently), enough to know the alternative is not actually possible at all. Possibility is MUCH more limited than conceiveability. Possibility is limited by the limits on actuality. If some idea can't actually be so in the actual, real world, then it may well be entirely conceiveable but it's not actually possible. Indeed it's not possible at all, because possible means possible, do you get it?!, it means possible in the real world.

Sorry, at least that was true where I grew up.

So all this history of Kripke and Montague and semantic theory and logic whether propositional or predicate, modal or temporal or otherwise, all you great philosophers of the theory of thinking itself, as far as I can tell, you need to get your connection with reality a little better connected. Because in reality we are all living in reality. Where the conceivable might not actually be possible. And often isn't.

So please talk about "conceiveable worlds" and then I'll rest easier. Meanwhile you guys are all raising my blood pressure, so quit it!


P.S. Sorry for the venom and vitriol. I've just been a little bit pissed about this since I taught Logic to the linguistics grad students at Stanford in 1984, but I tried to just be calm and not worry about it and let wiser heads prevail and see how things turn out. Well it's 35 years later and I go to wikipedia and it's STILL saying Possible worlds where people really, actually, mean to say Conceiveable worlds. Wow. I just can't keep my mouth shut one more minute. Will you wake up, please!