The Paradox of Counterfactual Tolerance


Counterfactuals are somewhat tolerant. Had Socrates been at least six feet tall, he need not have been exactly six feet tall. He might have been a little taller—he might have been six one or six two. But while he might have been a little taller, there are limits to how tall he would have been. Had he been at least six feet tall, he would not have been more than a hundred feet tall, for example. Counterfactuals are not just tolerant, then, but bounded. This paper presents a surprising paradox: If counterfactuals are tolerant and bounded, then we can prove a flat contradiction using natural rules of inference. Something has to go then. But what?



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Author's Profile

Daniel Berntson
Uppsala University

References found in this work

Vagueness.Timothy Williamson - 1996 - New York: Routledge.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 36 (3):602-605.
Modality and Explanatory Reasoning.Boris Christian Kment - 2014 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Vagueness.Timothy Williamson - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (4):589-601.

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