Antirealism and the Conditional Fallacy: The Semantic Approach

Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (4):761-783 (2014)
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Abstract

The expression conditional fallacy identifies a family of arguments deemed to entail odd and false consequences for notions defined in terms of counterfactuals. The antirealist notion of truth is typically defined in terms of what a rational enquirer or a community of rational enquirers would believe if they were suitably informed. This notion is deemed to entail, via the conditional fallacy, odd and false propositions, for example that there necessarily exists a rational enquirer. If these consequences do indeed follow from the antirealist notion of truth, alethic antirealism should probably be rejected. In this paper we analyse the conditional fallacy from a semantic (i.e. model-theoretic) point of view. This allows us to identify with precision the philosophical commitments that ground the validity of this type of argument. We show that the conditional fallacy arguments against alethic antirealism are valid only if controversial metaphysical assumptions are accepted. We suggest that the antirealist is not committed to the conditional fallacy because she is not committed to some of these assumptions.

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Author Profiles

Patrick Girard
University of Auckland
Luca Moretti
University of Aberdeen

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References found in this work

Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Malden, Mass.: Blackwell.
Truth and objectivity.Crispin Wright - 1992 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Truth and Objectivity.Crispin Wright - 1992 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Counterfactuals.David Lewis - 1973 - Foundations of Language 13 (1):145-151.

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