Changing the modal context

Theoria 74 (4):331-351 (2008)
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Abstract

Conditionals that contain a modality in the consequent give rise to a particular semantic phenomenon whereby the antecedent of the conditional blocks possibilities when interpreting the modality in the consequent. This explains the puzzling logical behaviour of constructions like "If you don't buy a lottery ticket, you can't win", "If you eat that poison, it is unlikely that you will survive the day" and "If you kill Harry, you ought to kill him gently". In this paper it is argued that a semantic version of the Ramsey Test provides a key in the analysis of such constructions. The logic for this semantics is axiomatized and some examples are studied, among them a well-known puzzle for contrary-to-duty obligations.

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2009-01-28

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John Cantwell
Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm

Citations of this work

A Counterexample to Modus Tollens.Seth Yalcin - 2012 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 41 (6):1001-1024.
One's Modus Ponens: Modality, Coherence and Logic.Una Stojnić - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (1):167-214.
Indicative Conditionals and Graded Information.Ivano Ciardelli - 2020 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 49 (3):509-549.

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References found in this work

Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Blackwell.
Studies in Logical Theory.Robert Stalnaker - 1968 - Oxford: Blackwell.
A counterexample to modus ponens.Vann McGee - 1985 - Journal of Philosophy 82 (9):462-471.

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