“Any theory of conditionals has consequences for less-than-certain judgements. Something is proposed of the form: If A, B is true iff A*B. If a clear-headed person, free from confusions of a logical, linguistic or referential sort, can be nearly sure that A*B yet far from sure that if A, B, or vice versa, then this is strong evidence against the proposal.” (Edgington 1995/2007).
Sly Pete and Mr. Stone are playing poker on a Mississippi riverboat. It is now up to Pete to call or fold. My henchman Zack sees Stone’s hand, which is quite good, and signals its content to Pete. My henchman Jack sees both hands, and sees that Pete’s hand is rather low, so that Stone’s is the winning hand. At this point, the room is cleared. A few minutes later, Zack slips me a note which says “If Pete called, he (...) won,” and Jack slips me a note which says “If Pete called, he lost”. (shrink)
What we want to be true about ordinary indicative conditionals seems to be more than we can possibly get: there just seems to be no good way to assign truth-conditions to ordinary indicative conditionals. Some take this argument as reason to make our wantings more modest. Others take it to show that indicative conditionals don't have truth-conditions in the first place. But we have overlooked two possibilities for assigning truth-conditions to indicatives. What's more, those possibilities deliver what we want and (...) turn out to be equivalent. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us Digg Reddit Technorati What's this? (shrink)
The simplest story about modals—might, must, possibly, necessary, have to, can, ought to, presumably, likelier, and the rest—is also the canon: modals are context-dependent quantiﬁers over a domain of possibilities. Diﬀerent ﬂavors of modality correspond to quantiﬁcation over diﬀerent domains of possibilities. Logical modalities quantify over all the possibilities there are, physical modalities over possibilities compatible with the..
Epistemic modals are standardly taken to be context-dependent quantifiers over possibilities. Thus sentences containing them get truth-values with respect to both a context and an index. But some insist that this relativization is not relative enough: `might'-claims, they say, only get truth-values with respect to contexts, indices, and—the new wrinkle—points of assessment (hence, CIA). Here we argue against such "relativist" semantics. We begin with a sketch of the motivation for such theories and a generic formulation of them. Then we catalogue (...) central problems that any such theory faces. We end by outlining an alternative story. (shrink)
Counterfactuals are typically thought--given the force of Sobel sequences--to be variably strict conditionals. I go the other way. Sobel sequences and (what I call) Hegel sequences push us to a strict conditional analysis of counterfactuals: counterfactuals amount to some necessity modal scoped over a plain material conditional, just which modal being a function of context. To make this worth saying I need to say just how counterfactuals and context interact. No easy feat, but I have something to say on the (...) matter. (shrink)
way on the information available in the contexts in which they are used, it’s not surprising that there is a minor but growing industry of work in semantics and the philosophy of language concerned with the precise nature of the context-dependency of epistemically modalized sentences. Take, for instance, an epistemic might-claim like..
Chalmers' anti-materialist arguments are an interesting twist on a well-known argument form, and his naturalistic dualism is exciting to contemplate. Nevertheless, we think we can save materialism from the Chalmerian attack. This is what we do in the present paper.
Moore's paradox pits our intuitions about semantic oddnessagainst the concept of truth-functional consistency. Most solutions tothe problem proceed by explaining away our intuitions. But``consistency'' is a theory-laden concept, having different contours indifferent semantic theories. Truth-functional consistency is appropriateonly if the semantic theory we are using identifies meaning withtruth-conditions. I argue that such a framework is not appropriate whenit comes to analzying epistemic modality. I show that a theory whichaccounts for a wide variety of semantic data about epistemic modals(Update Semantics) buys (...) us a solution to Moore's paradox as a corollary.It turns out that Moorean propositions, when looked at through the lenseof an appropriate semantic theory, are inconsistent after all. (shrink)
Features of experimental design impose auxiliary hypotheses on experimenters. Hertwig & Ortmann rightly argue that the ways some variables are implemented in psychology cloud results, whereas the different implementations in economics provide for more robust results. However, not all design variables support this general conclusion. The repetition of trials may confuse results depending on what theory is being tested. We explore this in the case of simple bargaining games.
Postulational approaches attempt to understand the dynamics of belief revision by appealing to no more than the set of beliefs held by an agent and the logical relations between them. It is argued there that such an approach cannot work. A proper account of belief revision must also appeal to the arguments supporting beliefs, and recognize that those arguments can be defeasible. If we begin with a mature epistemological theory that accommodates this, it can be seen that the belief revision (...) operators on which the postulational theories are based are ill-defined. It is further argued that there is no way to repair the definitions so as to retain the spirit of those theory. Belief revision is better studied from within an independently motivated epistemological theory. (shrink)