Contrastivity and indistinguishability

Social Epistemology 22 (3):271 – 280 (2008)
Abstract
We give a general description of a class of contrastive constructions, intended to capture what is common to contrastive knowledge, belief, hope, fear, understanding and other cases where one expresses a propositional attitude in terms of “rather than”. The crucial element is the agent's incapacity to distinguish some possibilities from others. Contrastivity requires a course-graining of the set of possible worlds. As a result, contrastivity will usually cut across logical consequence, so that an agent can have an attitude to p rather than q but not to r rather than q , where r is a logical consequence of p . We relate these ideas to some general issues about thought, such as the question of whether all possibilities that can be distinguished in emotion can be distinguished in belief.
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