Triviality Results, Conditional Probability, and Restrictor Conditionals

Abstract

Conditional probability is often used to represent the probability of the conditional. However, triviality results suggest that the thesis that the probability of the conditional always equals conditional probability leads to untenable conclusions. In this paper, I offer an interpretation of this thesis in a possible worlds framework, arguing that the triviality results make assumptions at odds with the use of conditional probability. I argue that these assumptions come from a theory called the operator theory and that the rival restrictor theory can avoid these problematic assumptions. In doing so, I argue that recent extensions of the triviality arguments to restrictor conditionals fail, making assumptions which are only justified on the operator theory.

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Jonathan Vandenburgh
Stanford University

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Epistemic Modals.Seth Yalcin - 2007 - Mind 116 (464):983-1026.
On conditionals.Dorothy Edgington - 1995 - Mind 104 (414):235-329.
Inquiry.Robert Stalnaker - 1986 - Philosophy of Science 53 (3):425-448.

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