Williamson on counterpossibles

The Reasoner (2007)
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Abstract

Lewis/Stalnaker semantics has it that all counterpossibles (i.e., counterfactual conditionals with impossible antecedents) are vacuously true. Non-vacuism, by contrast, says the truth-values of counterpossibles are affected by the truth-values of the consequents. Some counterpossibles are true, some false. Williamson objects to non-vacuism. He asks us to consider someone who answered ‘11’ to ‘What is 5 + 7?’ but who mistakenly believes that he answered ‘13’. For the non-vacuist, (1) is false, (2) true: (1) If 5 + 7 were 13, x would have got that sum right (2) If 5 + 7 were 13, x would have got that sum wrong Williamson is not persuaded by the initial intuitiveness of such examples: ... they tend to fall apart when thought through. For example, if 5 + 7 were 13 then 5 + 6 would be 12, and so (by another eleven steps) 0 would be 1, so if the number of right answers I gave were 0, the number of right answers I gave would be 1. (2006) That’s the whole argument—much of it implicit. Alan Baker’s critique (2007) of Brogaard and Salerno (2007) prompts us to say something less abbreviated about a less abbreviated form of Wiliamson’s argument. Then we further develop our (2007) counterfactual analysis of essense

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Author Profiles

Berit Brogaard
University of Miami
Joe Salerno
Saint Louis University

Citations of this work

Modality and Explanatory Reasoning.Boris Christian Kment - 2014 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The modal view of essence.Sam Cowling - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (2):248-266.
Counterpossibles (not only) for dispositionalists.Barbara Vetter - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2681-2700.
Essence in abundance.Alexander Skiles - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (1):100-112.
Intuitive knowledge.Elijah Chudnoff - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (2):359-378.

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