Counterfactuals, hyperintensionality and Hurford disjunctions

Linguistics and Philosophy 46 (1):169-195 (2023)
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Abstract

This paper investigates propositional hyperintensionality in counterfactuals. It starts with a scenario describing two children playing on a seesaw and studies the truth-value predictions for counterfactuals by four different semantic theories. The theories in question are Kit Fine’s truthmaker semantics, Luis Alonso-Ovalle’s alternative semantics, inquisitive semantics and Paolo Santorio’s syntactic truthmaker semantics. These predictions suggest that the theories that distinguish more of a given set of intensionally equivalent sentences (Fine and Alonso-Ovalle’s) fare better than those that do not (inquisitive semantics and Santorio’s). Then we investigate how inquisitive semantics and Santorio can respond to these results. They can respond to them by helping themselves to considerations from Hurford disjunctions, disjunctions whose disjuncts stand in an entailment relation to one another. I argue that considerations from Hurford disjunctions are ad hoc modifications merely to predict the expected results. I conclude that the scenarios suggest a need for more fine-grained theories of sentential meaning in general.

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Hüseyin Güngör
Princeton University

Citations of this work

That’s It! Hyperintensional Total Logic.Stephan Krämer - 2023 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 52 (4):963-1004.

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References found in this work

Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Foundations of Language 13 (1):145-151.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 36 (3):602-605.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Philosophy of Science 42 (3):341-344.
Inquisitive Semantics.Ivano Ciardelli, Jeroen Groenendijk & Floris Roelofsen - 2018 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. Edited by J. A. G. Groenendijk & Floris Roelofsen.

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