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Milo Phillips-Brown
Oxford University
  1. What Does Decision Theory Have to Do with Wanting?Milo Phillips-Brown - forthcoming - Mind.
    Decision theory and folk psychology both purport to represent the same phenomena: our belief-like and desire- and preference-like states. They also purport to do the same work with these representations: explain and predict our actions. But they do so with different sets of concepts. There's much at stake in whether one of these two sets of concepts can be accounted for with the other. Without such an account, we'd have two competing representations and systems of prediction and explanation, a dubious (...)
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  2.  72
    (Counter)Factual Want Ascriptions and Conditional Belief.Thomas Grano & Milo Phillips-Brown - manuscript
    What are the truth conditions of want ascriptions? According to a highly influential and fruitful approach, championed by Heim (1992) and von Fintel (1999), the answer is intimately connected to the agent’s beliefs: ⌜S wants p⌝ is true iff within S’s belief set, S prefers the p worlds to the ~p worlds. This approach faces a well-known and as-yet unsolved problem, however: it makes the entirely wrong predictions with what we call '(counter)factual want ascriptions', wherein the agent either believes p (...)
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  3.  45
    I Want to, But...Milo Phillips-Brown - 2018 - Sinn Und Bedeutung 21:951-968.
    I want to see the concert, but I don’t want to take the long drive. Both of these desire ascriptions are true, even though I believe I’ll see the concert if and only if I take the drive.Yet they, and strongly conflicting desire ascriptions more generally, are predicted incompatible by the standard semantics, given two standard constraints. There are two proposed solutions. I argue that both face problems because they misunderstand how what we believe influences what we desire. I then (...)
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  4. Getting what you want.Lyndal Grant & Milo Phillips-Brown - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):1791-1810.
    It is commonly accepted that if an agent wants p, then she has a desire that is satisfied in exactly the worlds where p is true. Call this the ‘Satisfaction-is-Truth Principle’. We argue that this principle is false: an agent may want p without having a desire that is satisfied when p obtains in any old way. For example, Millie wants to drink milk but does not have a desire that is satisfied when she drinks spoiled milk. Millie has a (...)
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  5.  55
    Anankastic Conditionals Are Still a Mystery.Milo Phillips-Brown - 2019 - Semantics and Pragmatics 12 (13):1-17.
    ‘If you want to go to Harlem, you have to take the A train’ doesn’t look special. Yet a compositional account of its meaning, and the meaning of anankastic conditionals more generally, has proven an enigma. Semanticists have responded by assigning anankastics a unique status, distinguishing them from ordinary indicative conditionals. Condoravdi & Lauer (2016) maintain instead that “anankastic conditionals are just conditionals.” I argue that Condoravdi and Lauer don’t give a general solution to a well-known problem: the problem of (...)
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