All Possible Worlds and Natural Selection

Nathan Smith
18 min readJan 21, 2018
Photo by Tim Johnson on Unsplash

Recently (for the past couple months, in fact) I’ve been down quite the rabbit hole. More or less, it can be described as an as-in-depth-as-I-can-manage exploration of “multiverse theories.” I’d like to give a relatively brief synopsis of my findings thus far, with the caveat that none of these descriptions of various theories will be exhaustive (though I’ll provide links to further reading, if you’re interested), hoping to arrive at a point that rang a little truer for me recently: speculation is healthy, sometimes even necessary, in order to more fully grasp the concrete and actual. That’s not at all to say speculation can’t be outlandish, especially when it becomes masturbatory speculation for speculation’s sake; but when it remains rooted in the actual and concrete, when it moves from the mortifying realm of “conspiracy theories” to something more like mapping possible upcoming roads, I believe it’s quite useful. I believe the immediate use for writing will be apparent, but this perspective seems to me to be broadly applicable to other fields as well.

Modal Realism and Platonic Selectors

My deliberate leaning over the rabbit hole (followed by an arguably accidental slip of footing and a headlong dive) started with interest in the speculative metaphysics of Eric Steinhart (whom I’ve mentioned before), which in turn led to a study of David K. Lewis’ “ modal realism” (which you can find outlined in his book On the Plurality of Worlds). Lewis, ever the philosopher, specializes in what’s called modal logic, which deals primarily in logical statements which utilize what does not exist. An example would be, “I could have been born with red hair”; I was not born with red hair (dirty blond, with more cowlicks than I’d like), but something about that previous statement still rings true. There’s nothing to state that I could not have been born with red hair (so long as my gene pool allows for it), yet it never happened-so in what sense is it true?

Long story short (and this is cutting out a lot here, so I highly recommend you look into modal realism for yourself), and fully acknowledging how radical a view this is, Lewis suggests that this may indicate that all possible worlds (all worlds one can reasonably imagine in modal logic) are not merely abstract possibilities but concrete…

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Nathan Smith

Writer, therapy student, queer; interested in psychology, philosophy, literature, religion/spirituality. YouTube.com/@MindMakesThisWorld @NateSmithSNF