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Impossible Worlds

Noûs 47 (3):713-728 (2013)

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  1. Sensitivity, Safety, and Impossible Worlds.Guido Melchior - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-17.
    Modal knowledge accounts that are based on standards possible-worlds semantics face well-known problems when it comes to knowledge of necessities. Beliefs in necessities are trivially sensitive and safe and, therefore, trivially constitute knowledge according to these accounts. In this paper, I will first argue that existing solutions to this necessity problem, which accept standard possible-worlds semantics, are unsatisfactory. In order to solve the necessity problem, I will utilize an unorthodox account of counterfactuals, as proposed by Nolan, on which we also (...)
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  • Fictionalism, the Safety Result and Counterpossibles.Lukas Skiba - 2019 - Analysis 79 (4):647-658.
    Fictionalists maintain that possible worlds, numbers or composite objects exist only according to theories which are useful but false. Hale, Divers and Woodward have provided arguments which threaten to show that fictionalists must be prepared to regard the theories in question as contingently, rather than necessarily, false. If warranted, this conclusion would significantly limit the appeal of the fictionalist strategy rendering it unavailable to anyone antecedently convinced that mathematics and metaphysics concern non-contingent matters. I try to show that their arguments (...)
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  • Superexplanations for Counterfactual Knowledge.Antonella Mallozzi - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    I discuss several problems for Williamson’s counterfactual-theory of modal knowledge and argue that they have a common source, in that the theory neglects to elucidate the proper constraints on modal reasoning. Williamson puts forward an empirical hypothesis that rests on the role of counterfactual reasoning for modal knowledge. But he overlooks central questions of normative modal epistemology. In order for counterfactual reasoning to yield correct beliefs about modality, it needs to be suitably constrained. I argue that what is needed is, (...)
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  • Composition and Identities.Manuel Lechthaler - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Otago
    Composition as Identity is the view that an object is identical to its parts taken collectively. I elaborate and defend a theory based on this idea: composition is a kind of identity. Since this claim is best presented within a plural logic, I develop a formal system of plural logic. The principles of this system differ from the standard views on plural logic because one of my central claims is that identity is a relation which comes in a variety of (...)
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  • A Counterfactual Approach to Explanation in Mathematics.Sam Baron, Mark Colyvan & David Ripley - 2020 - Philosophia Mathematica 28 (1):1-34.
    ABSTRACT Our goal in this paper is to extend counterfactual accounts of scientific explanation to mathematics. Our focus, in particular, is on intra-mathematical explanations: explanations of one mathematical fact in terms of another. We offer a basic counterfactual theory of intra-mathematical explanations, before modelling the explanatory structure of a test case using counterfactual machinery. We finish by considering the application of counterpossibles to mathematical explanation, and explore a second test case along these lines.
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  • The Stories of Logics.Andreas Kapsner - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Logic 16 (4):133.
    In this paper, I investigate how far we can use stories to learn about logic. How can we engage with fiction in order to come to find out what logical principles are actually valid? Is that possible at all? I claim that it is, and I propose two case studies to make the point.
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  • How Close Are Impossible Worlds? A Critique of Brogaard and Salerno’s Account of Counterpossibles.Dan Baras - 2019 - Dialectica 73 (3):315-329.
    Several theorists have been attracted to the idea that in order to account for counterpossibles, i.e. counterfactuals with impossible antecedents, we must appeal to impossible worlds. However, few have attempted to provide a detailed impossible worlds account of counterpossibles. Berit Brogaard and Joe Salerno’s ‘Remarks on Counterpossibles’ is one of the few attempts to fill in this theoretical gap. In this article, I critically examine their account. I prove a number of unanticipated implications of their account that end up implying (...)
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  • Semantics for Counterpossibles.Yale Weiss - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Logic 14 (4):383-407.
    The object of this paper is to examine two approaches to giving non-vacuous truth conditions for counterpossibles, counterfactuals with impossible antecedents. I first develop modifications of a Lewis-style sphere semantics with impossible worlds. I argue that this approach sanctions intuitively invalid inferences and is supported by philosophically problematic foundations. I then develop modifications of certain ceteris paribus conditional logics with impossible worlds. Tableaux are given for each of these in an appendix and soundness and completeness results are proved. While certain (...)
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  • Frontiers of Conditional Logic.Yale Weiss - 2019 - Dissertation, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
    Conditional logics were originally developed for the purpose of modeling intuitively correct modes of reasoning involving conditional—especially counterfactual—expressions in natural language. While the debate over the logic of conditionals is as old as propositional logic, it was the development of worlds semantics for modal logic in the past century that catalyzed the rapid maturation of the field. Moreover, like modal logic, conditional logic has subsequently found a wide array of uses, from the traditional (e.g. counterfactuals) to the exotic (e.g. conditional (...)
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  • Omission Impossible.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2575-2589.
    This paper gives a framework for understanding causal counterpossibles, counterfactuals imbued with causal content whose antecedents appeal to metaphysically impossible worlds. Such statements are generated by omissive causal claims that appeal to metaphysically impossible events, such as “If the mathematician had not failed to prove that 2+2=5, the math textbooks would not have remained intact.” After providing an account of impossible omissions, the paper argues for three claims: (i) impossible omissions play a causal role in the actual world, (ii) causal (...)
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  • Abstract Objects.Gideon Rosen - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Logically Impossible Worlds.Koji Tanaka - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Logic 15 (2):489.
    What does it mean for the laws of logic to fail? My task in this paper is to answer this question. I use the resources that Routley/Sylvan developed with his collaborators for the semantics of relevant logics to explain a world where the laws of logic fail. I claim that the non-normal worlds that Routley/Sylvan introduced are exactly such worlds. To disambiguate different kinds of impossible worlds, I call such worlds logically impossible worlds. At a logically impossible world, the laws (...)
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  • Impossible Worlds and Partial Belief.Edward Elliott - 2019 - Synthese 196 (8):3433-3458.
    One response to the problem of logical omniscience in standard possible worlds models of belief is to extend the space of worlds so as to include impossible worlds. It is natural to think that essentially the same strategy can be applied to probabilistic models of partial belief, for which parallel problems also arise. In this paper, I note a difficulty with the inclusion of impossible worlds into probabilistic models. Under weak assumptions about the space of worlds, most of the propositions (...)
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  • The Truth About Impossibility.Janine Reinert - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (271):307-327.
    Any worlds semantics for intentionality has to provide a plenitudinous theory of impossibility: For any impossible proposition, it should provide a world where it is true. Hence, also any semantics for impossibility statements that extends Lewis’s concretism about possible worlds should be plenitudinous. However, several such proposals for impossibilist semantics fail to accommodate two kinds of impossibility that, albeit not unheard of, have been largely neglected in the literature on impossible worlds, but that are bound to arise in the Lewisian (...)
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  • Explanation impossible.Sam Baron & Mark Colyvan - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-18.
    We argue that explanations appealing to logical impossibilities are genuine explanations. Our defense is based on a certain picture of impossibility. Namely, that there are impossibilities and that the impossibilities have structure. Assuming this broad picture of impossibility we defend the genuineness of explanations that appeal to logical impossibilities against three objections. First, that such explanations are at odds with the perceived conceptual connection between explanation and counterfactual dependence. Second, that there are no genuinely contrastive why-questions that involve logical impossibilities (...)
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  • Grounding Entails Counterpossible Non‐Triviality.Alastair Wilson - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (3):716-728.
    This paper outlines a non-reductive counterfactual account of grounding along interventionist lines, and uses the account to argue that taking grounding seriously requires ascribing non-trivial truth-conditions to a range of counterpossible counterfactuals. This result allows for a diagnosis of a route to scepticism about grounding, as deriving at least in part from scepticism about non-trivial counterpossible truth and falsity.
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  • Co‐Hyperintensionality.Federico L. G. Faroldi - 2017 - Ratio 30 (3):270-287.
    Co-hyperintensionality, or hyperintensional equivalence, is a relation holding between two or more contents that can be substituted in a hyperintensional context salva veritate. I argue that two strategies used to provide criteria for co-hyperintensionality fail. I argue that there is no generalized notion of co-hyperintensionality that meets plausible desiderata, by showing that the opposite thesis leads to falsity. As a conclusion, I suggest to take co-hyperintensionality as a primitive and I provide a general criterion of co-hyperintensionality whose content depends on (...)
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