The Paradox of Counterfactual Tolerance

Abstract

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
Rutgers University - New Brunswick

References found in this work

Vagueness.Timothy Williamson - 1994 - London and 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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