The conditional,if an agent did something, then the agent could have done otherwise, is analyzed usingstit theory, which is a logic of seeing to it that based on agents making choices in the context of branching time. The truth of the conditional is found to be a subtle matter that depends on how it is interpreted (e.g., on what otherwise refers to, and on the difference between could and might) and also on whether or not there are busy choosers that (...) can make infinitely many choices in a finite span of time. (shrink)
Stit theory (a logic of seeing-to-it-that) is applied to cases involving many agents. First treated are complex nestings of stits involving distinct agents. The discussion is driven by the logical impossibility of "a sees to it that b sees to it that Q" in the technical sense, even though that seems to make sense in everyday language, Of special utility are the concepts of "forced choice", of the creation of deontic states, and of probabilities, Second, joint agency, both plain and (...) strict (every participant is essential) is given a rigorous treatment. A central theorem is that strict joint agency is itself agentive. (shrink)
Using Aristotle's well-known sea battle as our example, we offer a precise, intelligible analysis of future contingent assertions in the presence of indeterminism. After explaining our view of the problem, we present a picture of indeterminism in the context of a tree ofbranching histories. There follows a brief description ofthe semantic bases for our double-time-reference theory of future contingents. We then set out our account. Before concluding, we discuss some ramifications of, and alternatives to, a double-time-reference approach to the problem (...) of future contingents. There are some technical ideas at the foundation of our analysis, ideas of which most philosophers are largely ignorant; on our view, in the absence of mastery ofthese ideas it is quite impossible to speak responsibly about either indeterminism or free will. (shrink)
Stit, a sentence form first introduced in Belnap and Perloff (1988), encourages a modal approach to agency. Von Wright, Chisholm, Kenny, and Castañeda have all attempted modal treatments of agency, while Davidson has rejected such treatments. After a brief explanation of the syntax and semantics of stit and a restatement of several of the important claims of the earlier paper, I discuss the virtues of stit against the background of proposals made by these philososphers.