On the Pragmatics of Counterfactuals

Noûs 46 (3):561-586 (2012)
Recently, von Fintel (2001) and Gillies (2007) have argued that certain sequences of counterfactuals, namely reverse Sobel sequences, should motivate us to abandon standard truth conditional theories of counterfactuals for dynamic semantic theories. I argue that we can give a pragmatic account of our judgments about counterfactuals without giving up the standard semantics. In particular, I introduce a pragmatic principle governing assertability, and I use this principle to explain a variety of subtle data concerning reverse Sobel sequences.
Keywords counterfactuals  reverse Sobel sequences  dynamic semantics
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0068.2010.00798.x
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References found in this work BETA
Robert Stalnaker (2002). Common Ground. Linguistics and Philosophy 25 (5-6):701-721.
Anthony S. Gillies (2007). Counterfactual Scorekeeping. Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (3):329 - 360.

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Citations of this work BETA
Lee Walters (2014). Against Hypothetical Syllogism. Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (5):979-997.

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