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  1. Counterfactual Fallacies.Andrea Iacona - 2011 - Humana Mente 4 (19).
    A widely accepted claim about counterfactuals is that they differ from strict conditionals, that is, there is no adequate representation of them as sentences of the form   . To justify this claim, Stalnaker and Lewis have argued that some fallacious inferences would turn out valid if counterfactuals were so represented. However, their argument has a flaw, as it rests on a questionable assumption about the relation between surface grammar and logical form. Without that assumption, no consequence of the (...)
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  • VI-BayesianExpressivism.Seth Yalcin - 2012 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (2pt2):123-160.
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  • Hume's Dictum and the Asymmetry of Counterfactual Dependence.Jessica M. Wilson - 2014 - In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. Oxford University Press. pp. 258-279.
    Why believe Hume's Dictum, according to which there are, roughly speaking, no necessary connections between wholly distinct entities? Schaffer suggests that HD, at least as applied to causal or nomological connections, is motivated as required by the best account of of counterfactuals---namely, a similarity-based possible worlds account, where the operative notion of similarity requires 'miracles'---more specifically, worlds where entities of the same type that actually exist enter into different laws. The main cited motivations for such an account of similarity are (...)
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  • Counteridenticals.Alexander W. Kocurek - 2018 - The Philosophical Review 127 (3):323-369.
    A counteridentical is a counterfactual with an identity statement in the antecedent. While counteridenticals generally seem non-trivial, most semantic theories for counterfactuals, when combined with the necessity of identity and distinctness, attribute vacuous truth conditions to such counterfactuals. In light of this, one could try to save the orthodox theories either by appealing to pragmatics or by denying that the antecedents of alleged counteridenticals really contain identity claims. Or one could reject the orthodox theory of counterfactuals in favor of a (...)
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  • Still Going Strong.Kai von Fintel & Anthony S. Gillies - manuscript
    In "*Must* ...stay ...strong!" (von Fintel & Gillies 2010) we set out to slay a dragon, or rather what we called The Mantra: that epistemic *must* has a modal force weaker than expected from standard modal logic, that it doesn't entail its prejacent, and that the best explanation for the evidential feel of *must* is a pragmatic explanation. We argued that all three sub-mantras are wrong and offered an explanation according to which *must* is strong, entailing, and the felt indirectness (...)
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  • The Case of the Missing ‘If’: Accessibility Relations in Stalnaker’s Theory of Conditionals.Matthew Mandelkern - forthcoming - Semantics and Pragmatics.
    A part of Stalnaker (1968)’s influential theory of conditionals has been neglected, namely the role for an accessibility relation between worlds. I argue that the accessibility relation does not play the role intended for it in the theory as stated, and propose a minimal revision which solves the problem, and brings the theory in line with the formulation in Stalnaker & Thomason 1970.
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  • Subjunctive Credences and Semantic Humility.Sarah Moss - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (2):251-278.
    This paper argues that several leading theories of subjunctive conditionals are incompatible with ordinary intuitions about what credences we ought to have in subjunctive conditionals. In short, our theory of subjunctives should intuitively display semantic humility, i.e. our semantic theory should deliver the truth conditions of sentences without pronouncing on whether those conditions actually obtain. In addition to describing intuitions about subjunctive conditionals, I argue that we can derive these ordinary intuitions from justified premises, and I answer a possible worry (...)
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  • On the Pragmatics of Counterfactuals.Sarah Moss - 2012 - Noûs 46 (3):561-586.
    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.
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  • Talking About Worlds.Matthew Mandelkern - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives 33.
    I explore the logic of the conditional, using credence judgments to argue against Duality and in favor of Conditional Excluded Middle. I then explore how to give a theory of the conditional which validates the latter and not the former, developing a variant on Kratzer (1981)'s restrictor theory, as well as a proposal which combines Stalnaker (1968)'s theory of the conditional with the theory of epistemic modals I develop in Mandelkern 2019a. I argue that the latter approach fits naturally with (...)
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  • On the Substitution of Identicals in Counterfactual Reasoning.Alexander W. Kocurek - forthcoming - Noûs:1-32.
    It is widely held that counterfactuals, unlike attitude ascriptions, preserve the referential transparency of their constituents, i.e., that counterfactuals validate the substitution of identicals when their constituents do. The only putative counterexamples in the literature come from counterpossibles, i.e., counterfactuals with impossible antecedents. Advocates of counterpossibilism, i.e., the view that counterpossibles are not all vacuous, argue that counterpossibles can generate referential opacity. But in order to explain why most substitution inferences into counterfactuals seem valid, counterpossibilists also often maintain that counterfactuals (...)
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  • A Probabilistic Semantics for Counterfactuals. Part B.Hannes Leitgeb - 2012 - Review of Symbolic Logic 5 (1):85-121.
    This is part B of a paper in which we defend a semantics for counterfactuals which is probabilistic in the sense that the truth condition for counterfactuals refers to a probability measure. Because of its probabilistic nature, it allows a counterfactual to be true even in the presence of relevant -worlds, as long such exceptions are not too widely spread. The semantics is made precise and studied in different versions which are related to each other by representation theorems. Despite its (...)
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  • Counterpossibles in Science: The Case of Relative Computability.Matthias Jenny - 2018 - Noûs 52 (3):530-560.
    I develop a theory of counterfactuals about relative computability, i.e. counterfactuals such as 'If the validity problem were algorithmically decidable, then the halting problem would also be algorithmically decidable,' which is true, and 'If the validity problem were algorithmically decidable, then arithmetical truth would also be algorithmically decidable,' which is false. These counterfactuals are counterpossibles, i.e. they have metaphysically impossible antecedents. They thus pose a challenge to the orthodoxy about counterfactuals, which would treat them as uniformly true. What’s more, I (...)
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  • The Metaphysical Consequences of Counterfactual Skepticism.Nina Emery - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):399-432.
    A series of recent arguments purport to show that most counterfactuals of the form if A had happened then C would have happened are not true. These arguments pose a challenge to those of us who think that counterfactual discourse is a useful part of ordinary conversation, of philosophical reasoning, and of scientific inquiry. Either we find a way to revise the semantics for counterfactuals in order to avoid these arguments, or we find a way to ensure that the relevant (...)
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  • Connectives Without Truth Tables.Nathan Klinedinst & Daniel Rothschild - 2012 - Natural Language Semantics 20 (2):137-175.
    There are certain uses of and and or that cannot be explained by their normal meanings as truth-functional connectives, even with sophisticated pragmatic resources. These include examples such as The cops show up, and a fight will break out (‘If the cops show up, a fight will break out’), and I have no friends, or I would throw a party (‘I have no friends. If I did have friends, I would throw a party.’). We argue that these uses are indeed (...)
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  • Counterfactual Discourse in Context.Karen S. Lewis - 2018 - Noûs 52 (3):481-507.
    The classic Lewis-Stalnaker semantics for counterfactuals captures that Sobel sequences are consistent sequences, for example: a.If Sophie had gone to the parade, she would have seen Pedro dance. b.But if Sophie had gone to the parade and been stuck behind someone tall, she would not have seen Pedro dance. But reverse a sequence like this one and it no longer sounds so good, which is surprising on the classic semantics. This observation motivated Kai von Fintel and Thony Gillies to propose (...)
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  • Assertibility and Sensitivity.Geoff Pynn - 2014 - Acta Analytica 29 (1):99-117.
    Epistemologists have proposed various norms of assertion to explain when a speaker is in an epistemic position to assert a proposition. In this article I propose a distinct necessary condition on assertibility: that a speaker should assert only what she sensitively believes, where a subject's belief is sensitive just in case the subject would not hold it if it were false. I argue that the Sensitivity Rule underwrites simple explanations for three key features of assertibility that pose explanatory challenges to (...)
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  • Thought Experiments Without Possible Worlds.Daniel Dohrn - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (2):363-384.
    The method of thought experiments or possible cases is widespread in philosophy and elsewhere. Thought experiments come with variegated theoretical commitments. These commitments are risky. They may turn out to be false or at least controversial. Other things being equal, it seems preferable to do with minimal commitments. I explore exemplary ways of minimising commitments, focusing on modal ones. There is a near-consensus to treat the scenarios considered in thought experiments as metaphysical possibilities. I challenge this consensus. Paradigmatic thought experiments (...)
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  • Counterfactual Skepticism and Multidimensional Semantics.H. Stefánsson - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (5):875-898.
    It has recently been argued that indeterminacy and indeterminism make most ordinary counterfactuals false. I argue that a plausible way to avoid such counterfactual skepticism is to postulate the existence of primitive modal facts that serve as truth-makers for counterfactual claims. Moreover, I defend a new theory of ‘might’ counterfactuals, and develop assertability and knowledge criteria to suit such unobservable ‘counterfacts’.
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  • Hurford Conditionals.Matthew Mandelkern & Jacopo Romoli - 2018 - Journal of Semantics 35 (2):357-367.
    Compare the following conditionals: 'If John is not in Paris, he is in France' versus 'If John is in France, he is not in Paris.' The second sounds entirely natural, whereas the first sounds quite strange. This contrast is puzzling, because these two conditionals have the same structure at a certain level of logical abstraction, namely 'If ¬p+, then p.' -/- We argue that existing theories of informational oddness do not distinguish between these conditionals. We do not have an account (...)
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  • Elusive Counterfactuals.Karen S. Lewis - 2016 - Noûs 50 (2):286-313.
    I offer a novel solution to the problem of counterfactual skepticism: the worry that all contingent counterfactuals without explicit probabilities in the consequent are false. I argue that a specific kind of contextualist semantics and pragmatics for would- and might-counterfactuals can block both central routes to counterfactual skepticism. One, it can explain the clash between would- and might-counterfactuals as in: If you had dropped that vase, it would have broken. and If you had dropped that vase, it might have safely (...)
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  • A Logic for the Natural Language Conditional.Monique Whitaker - 2018 - South African Journal of Philosophy 37 (3):261-283.
    Ordinary speakers intuitively assign truth-values to conditional utterances in everyday conversation, but, despite the general ease with which this occurs, it is notoriously difficult to give an account of the implicit logic that is followed in making these truth-value assignments. I propose a twofold logic of the conditional – a relatively simple “factual” logic for conditionals interpreted with regard to what is actually the case, largely following the logic of the material conditional; combined with a variably strict possible-worlds counterfactual logic (...)
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  • Three Notions of Dynamicness in Language.Daniel Rothschild & Seth Yalcin - 2016 - Linguistics and Philosophy 39 (4):333-355.
    We distinguish three ways that a theory of linguistic meaning and communication might be considered dynamic in character. We provide some examples of systems which are dynamic in some of these senses but not others. We suggest that separating these notions can help to clarify what is at issue in particular debates about dynamic versus static approaches within natural language semantics and pragmatics.
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  • New Foundations for Counterfactuals.Franz Huber - 2014 - Synthese 191 (10):2167-2193.
    Philosophers typically rely on intuitions when providing a semantics for counterfactual conditionals. However, intuitions regarding counterfactual conditionals are notoriously shaky. The aim of this paper is to provide a principled account of the semantics of counterfactual conditionals. This principled account is provided by what I dub the Royal Rule, a deterministic analogue of the Principal Principle relating chance and credence. The Royal Rule says that an ideal doxastic agent’s initial grade of disbelief in a proposition \(A\) , given that the (...)
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  • Conversation and Conditionals.J. Robert G. Williams - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (2):211 - 223.
    I outline and motivate a way of implementing a closest world theory of indicatives, appealing to Stalnaker's framework of open conversational possibilities. Stalnakerian conversational dynamics helps us resolve two outstanding puzzles for a such a theory of indicative conditionals. The first puzzle -- concerning so-called 'reverse Sobel sequences' -- can be resolved by conversation dynamics in a theoryneutral way: the explanation works as much for Lewisian counterfactuals as for the account of indicatives developed here. Resolving the second puzzle, by contrast, (...)
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  • Against Hypothetical Syllogism.Lee Walters - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (5):979-997.
    The debate over Hypothetical Syllogism is locked in stalemate. Although putative natural language counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism abound, many philosophers defend Hypothetical Syllogism, arguing that the alleged counterexamples involve an illicit shift in context. The proper lesson to draw from the putative counterexamples, they argue, is that natural language conditionals are context-sensitive conditionals which obey Hypothetical Syllogism. In order to make progress on the issue, I consider and improve upon Morreau’s proof of the invalidity of Hypothetical Syllogism. The improved proof (...)
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  • The Defective Conditional in Mathematics.Mathieu Vidal - 2014 - Journal of Applied Non-Classical Logics 24 (1-2):169-179.
    This article focuses on defective conditionals ? namely indicative conditionals whose antecedents are false and whose truth-values therefore cannot be determined. The problem is to decide which formal connective can adequately represent this usage. Classical logic renders defective conditionals true whereas traditional mathematics dismisses them as irrelevant. This difference in treatment entails that, at the propositional level, classical logic validates some sentences that are intuitively false in plane geometry. With two proofs, I show that the same flaw is shared by (...)
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  • Simplifying with Free Choice.Malte Willer - 2018 - Topoi 37 (3):379-392.
    This paper offers a unified semantic explanation of two observations that prove to be problematic for classical analyses of modals, conditionals, and disjunctions: the fact that disjunctions scoping under possibility modals give rise to the free choice effect and the fact that counterfactuals license simplification of disjunctive antecedents. It shows that the data are well explained by a dynamic semantic analysis of modals and conditionals that uses ideas from the inquisitive semantic tradition in its treatment of disjunction. The analysis explains (...)
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  • Counterfactuals as Strict Conditionals.Andrea Iacona - 2015 - Disputatio 7 (41):165-191.
    This paper defends the thesis that counterfactuals are strict conditionals. Its purpose is to show that there is a coherent view according to which counterfactuals are strict conditionals whose antecedent is stated elliptically. Section 1 introduces the view. Section 2 outlines a response to the main argument against the thesis that counterfactuals are strict conditionals. Section 3 compares the view with a proposal due to Aqvist, which may be regarded as its direct predecessor. Sections 4 and 5 explain how the (...)
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  • Conditional Heresies.Fabrizio Cariani & Simon Goldstein - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    The principles of Conditional Excluded Middle (CEM) and Simplification of Disjunctive Antecedents (SDA) have received substantial attention in isolation. Both principles are plausible generalizations about natural language conditionals. There is however little or no discussion of their inter- action. This paper aims to remedy this gap and explore the significance of having both principles constrain the logic of the conditional. Our negative finding is that, together with elementary logical assumptions, CEM and SDA yield a variety of implausible consequences. Despite these (...)
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  • Subjunctive Conditionals’ Local Contexts.John Mackay - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-15.
    Philippe Schlenker gives a method of deriving local contexts from an expression’s classical semantics. In this paper I show that this method, when applied to the traditional variably strict semantics for subjunctive conditionals of Robert Stalnaker, David Lewis, and Angelika Kratzer, delivers an empirically incorrect prediction. The prediction is that the antecedent of a conditional should have the whole domain of possible worlds as its local context and therefore should be allowed to have only necessary presuppositions. In the later part (...)
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  • Quantifiers, Knowledge, and Counterfactuals.Jonathan Ichikawa - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (2):287 - 313.
    Many of the motivations in favor of contextualism about knowledge apply also to a contextualist approach to counterfactuals. I motivate and articulate such an approach, in terms of the context-sensitive 'all cases', in the spirit of David Lewis's contextualist view about knowledge. The resulting view explains intuitive data, resolves a puzzle parallel to the skeptical paradox, and renders safety and sensitivity, construed as counterfactuals, necessary conditions on knowledge.
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  • A Puzzle About Conditionals.Murali Ramachandran - 2016 - South African Journal of Philosophy 35 (1):28-36.
    This paper examines a neglected puzzle about conditionals: namely, the fact that each of a pair of conditionals with incompatible consequents, [A > C] and [B > C*], may be properly affirmable in circumstances when one does not believe, and is not entitled to infer, the denial of the conjunction of the antecedents, i.e. ~(A & B). The puzzle is why this should be so, since the conditionals entail the conjunction on the popular accounts of conditionals. I present a pragmatic (...)
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  • Morgenbesser's Coin and Counterfactuals with True Components.Lee Walters - 2009 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 109 (1pt3):365-379.
    Is A & C sufficient for the truth of ‘if A were the case, C would be the case’? Jonathan Bennett thinks not, although the counterexample he gives is inconsistent with his own account of counterfactuals. In any case, I argue that anyone who accepts the case of Morgenbesser's coin, as Bennett does, should reject Bennett’s counterexample. Moreover, I show that the principle underlying his counterexample is unmotivated and indeed false. More generally, I argue that Morgenbesser’s coin commits us to (...)
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  • A Uniform Theory of Conditionals.William B. Starr - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (6):1019-1064.
    A uniform theory of conditionals is one which compositionally captures the behavior of both indicative and subjunctive conditionals without positing ambiguities. This paper raises new problems for the closest thing to a uniform analysis in the literature (Stalnaker, Philosophia, 5, 269–286 (1975)) and develops a new theory which solves them. I also show that this new analysis provides an improved treatment of three phenomena (the import-export equivalence, reverse Sobel-sequences and disjunctive antecedents). While these results concern central issues in the study (...)
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  • Conditional Preferences and Practical Conditionals.Nate Charlow - 2013 - Linguistics and Philosophy 36 (6):463-511.
    I argue that taking the Practical Conditionals Thesis seriously demands a new understanding of the semantics of such conditionals. Practical Conditionals Thesis: A practical conditional [if A][ought] expresses B’s conditional preferability given A Paul Weirich has argued that the conditional utility of a state of affairs B on A is to be identified as the degree to which it is desired under indicative supposition that A. Similarly, exploiting the PCT, I will argue that the proper analysis of indicative practical conditionals (...)
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  • Conditional Excluded Middle Without the Limit Assumption.Eric Swanson - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2):301-321.