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Counterfactual Discourse in Context

Noûs 52 (3):481-507 (2018)

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  1. Varieties of Sobel sequences.Michela Ippolito - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (6):633-671.
    In this paper I provide a unified analysis of a number of pragmatic anomalies that have been discussed in the literature. The paper’s main goal is to account for Sobel sequences of conditionals and sequences of disjunctive sentences, but I will also propose that this analysis can be extended to sequences of sentences with superlatives. The starting point is the observation that, while all these sequences are felicitous in one order, they are infelicitous when the order is reversed. Previous proposals (...)
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  • Counterfactuals and Modality.Gabriel Greenberg - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 1:1-26.
    This essay calls attention to a set of linguistic interactions between counterfactual conditionals, on one hand, and possibility modals like could have and might have, on the other. These data present a challenge to the popular variably strict semantics for counterfactual conditionals. Instead, they support a version of the strict conditional semantics in which counterfactuals and possibility modals share a unified quantificational domain. I’ll argue that pragmatic explanations of this evidence are not available to the variable analysis. And putative counterexamples (...)
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  • Heim Sequences and Why Most Unqualified ‘Would’-Counterfactuals Are Not True.Yael Loewenstein - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-14.
    The apparent consistency of Sobel sequences (example below) famously motivated David Lewis to defend a variably strict conditional semantics for counterfactuals. (a) If Sophie had gone to the parade she would have seen Pedro. (b) If Sophie had gone to the parade and been stuck behind someone tall she would not have seen Pedro. But if the order of the counterfactuals in a Sobel sequence is reversed – in the example, if (b) is asserted prior to (a) – the second (...)
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  • On the Substitution of Identicals in Counterfactual Reasoning.Alexander W. Kocurek - 2020 - Noûs 54 (3):600-631.
    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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  • Strict Conditional Accounts of Counterfactuals.Cory Nichols - 2017 - Linguistics and Philosophy 40 (6):621-645.
    von Fintel and Gillies : 329–360, 2007) have proposed a dynamic strict conditional account of counterfactuals as an alternative to the standard variably strict account due to Stalnaker and Lewis. Von Fintel’s view is motivated largely by so-called reverse Sobel sequences, about which the standard view seems to make the wrong predictions. More recently Moss :561–586, 2012) has offered a pragmatic/epistemic explanation that purports to explain the data without requiring abandonment of the standard view. So far the small amount of (...)
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  • Contra counterfactism.Alan Hájek - forthcoming - Synthese:1-30.
    ‘If I were to toss a coin 1000 times, then it would land heads exactly n times’. Is there a specific value of n that renders this counterfactual true? According to an increasingly influential view, there is. A precursor of the view goes back to the Molinists; more recently it has been inspired by Stalnaker, and versions of it have been advocated by Hawthorne, Bradley, Moss, Schulz, and Stefánsson. More generally, I attribute to these authors what I call Counterfactual Plenitude:For (...)
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