Philosophical Studies 164 (3), 767–789. The final publication is available at www.springerlink.com
Abstract: The role of possible worlds in philosophy is hard to overestimate. Nevertheless, their nature and existence is very controversial. This is particularly serious, since their standard applications depend on there being sufficiently many of them. The paper develops an account of possible worlds on which it is particularly easy to believe in their existence: an account of possible worlds as pleonastic entities. Pleonastic entities are entities whose existence can be validly inferred from statements that neither refer to nor quantify over them as a matter of conceptual necessity. Definitions are proposed that ensure that this is the case for possible worlds.