In this note I discuss what seems to be a new kind of counterexample to Lewis’s account of counterfactuals. A coin is to be tossed twice. I bet on ‘Two heads’, and I win. Common sense says that (1) is false. But Lewis’s theory says that it is true. (1) If at least one head had come up, I would have won.
The standard semantics for counterfactuals ensures that any counterfactual with a true antecedent and true consequent is itself true. There have been many recent attempts to amend the standard semantics to avoid this result. I show that these proposals invalidate a number of further principles of the standard logic of counterfactuals. The case against the automatic truth of counterfactuals with true components does not extend to these further principles, however, so it is not clear that rejecting (...) the latter should be a consequence of rejecting the former. Instead I consider how one might defuse putative counterexamples to the truth of true-true counterfactuals. (shrink)
Are counterfactuals with trueantecedents and consequents automatically true? That is, is Conjunction Conditionalization: if (X & Y), then (X > Y) valid? Stalnaker and Lewis think so, but many others disagree. We note here that the extant arguments for Conjunction Conditionalization are unpersuasive, before presenting a family of more compelling arguments. These arguments rely on some standard theorems of the logic of counterfactuals as well as a plausible and popular semantic claim about certain semifactuals. Denying Conjunction (...) Conditionalization, then, requires rejecting other aspects of the standard logic of counterfactuals, or else our intuitive picture of semifactuals. (shrink)
Early commentators on David Lewis's account of counterfactuals noted that certain examples suggest that some counterfactuals with trueantecedents and true consequents are false. Lewis's account has the consequence that all such counterfactuals are true, leaving us to choose between explaining away our intuitions about the examples in question or offering an alternative to Lewis's account. Here I argue that a simple modification of the familiar Lewisian truth conditions yields the intuitively correct verdicts about these examples, (...) and so we can take our intuitions about these examples at face value without any major departure from Lewis's approach to counterfactuals. (shrink)
In this paper I explore the ambiguity that arises between two readings of the counterfactual construction, then–d and thel–p, analyzed in my bookA Theory of Counterfactuals. I then extend the analysis I offered there to counterfactuals with trueantecedents, and offer a more precise formulation of the conception of temporal divergence points used in thel–p interpretation. Finally, I discuss some ramifications of these issues for counterfactual analyses of knowledge.
Consumer actions towards multinationals encompass not just expressions of dissatisfaction and ethical identity but also what are problematically termed ‘instrumental actions’ entailing perceived purposes and likely impacts. This term may seem inappropriate where insufficient information exists for instrumentally linking means to ends, yet we consider it useful for describing purposive consumer action in its subjective aspect because it reflects the psychological reality whereby complexity-reducing social constructions give consumer actions instrumentally rational form for purposes of meaningful understanding and justification. This paper (...) is particularly concerned to explore the complexities of cause and intention—particularly ethical intention—which are thus reduced. In particular, it considers complex interaction between individual ethical values, demographic factors and contexts of societal practice. It seeks to highlight primary antecedents among these interactants in order to guide both consumers and multinationals in their complexity-reducing social constructions to improve their fit to true causes and intentions. Study 1 involved 606 United Kingdom nationals, while study 2 involved 2561 individuals from 15 nations. Both sets of findings link higher personal income levels to propensity to engage in instrumental actions towards multinationals. Overwhelmingly, however, individual ethical values seem to matter most, irrespective of demographic or cultural contexts. These findings suggest that both consumers and multinationals engaged in ethical dialogue with consumers are best advised to articulate a universalising and not culturally or nationally bound ethical intelligence, which speaks directly to conscience within a global ethical discourse. (shrink)
The principle that a necessarily false proposition implies any proposition, and that a necessarily true proposition is implied by any proposition, was apparently first propounded in twelfth century Latin logic, and came to be widely, though not universally, accepted in the fourteenth century. These principles seem never to have been accepted, or even seriously entertained, by Arabic logicians. In the present study, I explore some thirteenth century Arabic discussions of conditionals with impossible antecedents. The Persian-born scholar Afdal al-Dīn (...) al-Kh najī (d.1248) suggested the novel idea that two contradictory propositions may follow from the same impossible antecedent, and closely related to this point, he suggested that if an antecedent implies a consequent, then it will do so no matter how it is strengthened. These ideas led him, and those who followed him, to reject what has come to be known as 'Aristotle's thesis' that no proposition is implied by its own negation. Even these suggestions were widely resisted. Particularly influential were the counter-arguments of Na īr al-Dīn al-T ī (d.1274). (shrink)
That all subjunctive conditionals with trueantecedents and trueconsequents are themselves also true is implied by every plausibleand popularly endorsed account. But I am wary of endorsing thisimplication. I argue that all presently endorsed accounts fail tocapture the nature of certain subjunctive conditionals in contextsof consequentialist reasoning. I attempt to show that we must allowfor the possibility that some subjunctive conditionals with trueantecedents and true consequents are false, if we are to believethat certain types of straightforward (...) consequentialist reasoningare coherent. I begin by evaluating a pair of morally releventcounterfactuals in a case via David Lewis's account. I then turnto a slight modification of the case, arguing that Lewis'ssemantics fails to generate the correct truth values of thesubjunctive conditionals in the modified case. Finally, I presenta modified version of Lewis's semantics that generates the correctresults in all of the cases. (shrink)
Matching bias refers to the non-normative performance that occurs when elements mentioned in a rule do not correspond with those in a test item. One aim of the present work is to capture matching bias via reaction times as participants carry out truth-table evaluation tasks. Experiment 1 requires participants to verify conditional rules, and Experiment 2 to falsify them as the paradigm employs four types of conditional sentences that systematically rotate negatives in the antecedent and consequent; and presents predominantly cases (...) having trueantecedents. These experiments reveal that mismatching is linked to higher rates of incorrect responses and slower evaluation times. A second aim is to investigate the way not is processed. We compare a narrow view of negations, which argues that negation only denies information, to a search for alternatives view, which says that negations function to prime appropriate alternatives. Findings from both experiments support a narrow reading view. (shrink)
Since the publication of David Lewis’ Counterfactuals, the standard line on subjunctive conditionals with impossible antecedents (or counterpossibles) has been that they are vacuously true. That is, a conditional of the form ‘If p were the case, q would be the case’ is trivially true whenever the antecedent, p, is impossible. The primary justification is that Lewis’ semantics best approximates the English subjunctive conditional, and that a vacuous treatment of counterpossibles is a consequence of that very elegant (...) theory. Another justification derives from the classical lore than if an impossibility were true, then anything goes. In this paper we defend non-vacuism, the view that counterpossibles are sometimes non-vacuously true and sometimes non-vacuously false. We do so while retaining a Lewisian semantics, which is to say, the approach we favor does not require us to abandon classical logic or a similarity semantics. It does however require us to countenance impossible worlds. An impossible worlds treatment of counterpossibles is suggested (but not defended) by Lewis (Counterfactuals. Blackwell, Oxford, 1973), and developed by Nolan (Notre Dame J Formal Logic 38:325–527, 1997), Kment (Mind 115:261–310, 2006a: Philos Perspect 20:237–302, 2006b), and Vander Laan (In: Jackson F, Priest G (eds) Lewisian themes. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004). We follow this tradition, and develop an account of comparative similarity for impossible worlds. (shrink)
This paper examines a passage in the Theaetetus where Plato distinguishes knowledge from true belief by appealing to the example of a jury hearing a case. While the jurors may have true belief, Socrates puts forward two reasons why they cannot achieve knowledge. The reasons for this nescience have typically been taken to be in tension with each other . This paper proposes a solution to the putative difficulty by arguing that what links the two cases of nescience (...) is that in neither case do the jurors act from an epistemic virtue and that doing so is a necessary condition of knowledge. Appreciating that it is a necessary condition of knowledge that it be the result of an epistemic agent's agency in a distinctive way provides a satisfying solution to the difficulty Burnyeat detected and also does justice to an otherwise neglected aspect of Plato's epistemology: his talk of cognitive capacities and virtues and his focus on what it is that is active and passive in epistemic processes. (shrink)
Past research has identified a number of asymmetries based on moral judgments. Beliefs about what a person values, whether a person is happy, whether a person has shown weakness of will, and whether a person deserves praise or blame seem to depend critically on whether participants themselves find the agent's behavior to be morally good or bad. To date, however, the origins of these asymmetries remain unknown. The present studies examine whether beliefs about an agent's “true self” explain these (...) observed asymmetries based on moral judgment. Using the identical materials from previous studies in this area, a series of five experiments indicate that people show a general tendency to conclude that deep inside every individual there is a “true self” calling him or her to behave in ways that are morally virtuous. In turn, this belief causes people to hold different intuitions about what the agent values, whether the agent is happy, whether he or she has shown weakness of will, and whether he or she deserves praise or blame. These results not only help to answer important questions about how people attribute various mental states to others; they also contribute to important theoretical debates regarding how moral values may shape our beliefs about phenomena that, on the surface, appear to be decidedly non-moral in nature. (shrink)
People sometimes explain behavior by appealing to an essentialist concept of the self, often referred to as the true self. Existing studies suggest that people tend to believe that the true self is morally virtuous; that is deep inside, every person is motivated to behave in morally good ways. Is this belief particular to individuals with optimistic beliefs or people from Western cultures, or does it reflect a widely held cognitive bias in how people understand the self? To (...) address this question, we tested the good true self theory against two potential boundary conditions that are known to elicit different beliefs about the self as a whole. Study 1 tested whether individual differences in misanthropy—the tendency to view humans negatively—predict beliefs about the good true self in an American sample. The results indicate a consistent belief in a good true self, even among individuals who have an explicitly pessimistic view of others. Study 2 compared true self-attributions across cultural groups, by comparing samples from an independent country and a diverse set of interdependent countries. Results indicated that the direction and magnitude of the effect are comparable across all groups we tested. The belief in a good true self appears robust across groups varying in cultural orientation or misanthropy, suggesting a consistent psychological tendency to view the true self as morally good. (shrink)
Adams’s Thesis, the claim that the probabilities of indicative conditionals equal the conditional probabilities of their consequents given their antecedents, has proven impossible to accommodate within orthodox possible-world semantics. This essay proposes a modification to the orthodoxy that removes this impossibility. The starting point is a proposal by Jeffrey and Stalnaker that conditionals take semantic values in the unit interval, interpreting these (à la McGee) as their expected truth-values at a world. Their theories imply a false principle, namely, that (...) the probability of a conditional is independent of any proposition inconsistent with its antecedent. But they also point to something important, namely, that our uncertainty about conditionals is not confined to uncertainty about the facts (what the actual world is like) but also expresses uncertainty about the counterfacts (what the world would be like if one or another supposition were true). To capture this observation, this essay proposes that the semantic contents of conditionals be treated as sets of vectors of possible worlds, not singleton worlds, with the coordinates of each specifying the world that is or would be true under the supposition that it represents. The probabilities of truth for conditionals will then depend on the joint probabilities of the facts and counterfacts, the latter in turn depending on the mode of supposition. The implication of this treatment is that the probabilities of conditionals are conditional probabilities whenever the mode of supposition is evidential. (shrink)
The traditional Lewis–Stalnaker semantics treats all counterfactuals with an impossible antecedent as trivially or vacuously true. Many have regarded this as a serious defect of the semantics. For intuitively, it seems, counterfactuals with impossible antecedents—counterpossibles—can be non-trivially true and non-trivially false. Whereas the counterpossible "If Hobbes had squared the circle, then the mathematical community at the time would have been surprised" seems true, "If Hobbes had squared the circle, then sick children in the mountains of Afghanistan (...) at the time would have been thrilled" seems false. Many have proposed to extend the Lewis–Stalnaker semantics with impossible worlds to make room for a non-trivial or non-vacuous treatment of counterpossibles. Roughly, on the extended Lewis–Stalnaker semantics, we evaluate a counterfactual of the form "If A had been true, then C would have been true" by going to closest world—whether possible or impossible—in which A is true and check whether C is also true in that world. If the answer is "yes", the counterfactual is true; otherwise it is false. Since there are impossible worlds in which the mathematically impossible happens, there are impossible worlds in which Hobbes manages to square the circle. And intuitively, in the closest such impossible worlds, sick children in the mountains of Afghanistan are not thrilled—they remain sick and unmoved by the mathematical developments in Europe. If so, the counterpossible "If Hobbes had squared the circle, then sick children in the mountains of Afghanistan at the time would have been thrilled" comes out false, as desired. In this paper, I will critically investigate the extended Lewis–Stalnaker semantics for counterpossibles. I will argue that the standard version of the extended semantics, in which impossible worlds correspond to maximal, logically inconsistent entities, fails to give the correct semantic verdicts for many counterpossibles. In light of the negative arguments, I will then outline a new version of the extended Lewis–Stalnaker semantics that can avoid these problems. (shrink)
The paper clarifies and defends the orthodox view that counterfactual conditionals with impossible antecedents are vacuously true against recent criticisms. It argues that apparent counterexamples to orthodoxy result from uncritical reliance on a fallible heuristic used in the processing of conditionals. A comparison is developed between such counterpossibles and vacuously true universal generalizations.
It is argued that to believe is to believe true. That is, when one believes a proposition one thereby believes the proposition to be true. This is a point about what it is to believe rather than about the aim of belief or the standard of correctness for belief. The point that to believe is to believe true appears to be an analytic truth about the concept of belief. It also appears to be essential to the state (...) of belief that to believe is to believe true. This is not just a contingent fact about our ordinary psychology, since even a non-ordinary believer must believe a proposition that they believe to be true. Nor is the idea that one may accept a theory as empirically adequate rather than as true a counter-example, since such acceptance combines belief in the truth of the observational claims of a theory with suspension of belief with respect to the non-observational claims of a theory. Nor is the fact that to believe is to believe true to be explained in terms of an inference governed by the T-scheme from the belief that P to the belief that P is true, since there is no inference from the former to the latter. To believe that P just is to believe that P is true. (shrink)
The debate over Hypothetical Syllogism is locked in stalemate. Although putative natural language counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism abound, many philosophers defend Hypothetical Syllogism, arguing that the alleged counterexamples involve an illicit shift in context. The proper lesson to draw from the putative counterexamples, they argue, is that natural language conditionals are context-sensitive conditionals which obey Hypothetical Syllogism. In order to make progress on the issue, I consider and improve upon Morreau’s proof of the invalidity of Hypothetical Syllogism. The improved proof (...) relies upon the semantic claim that conditionals with antecedents irrelevant to the obtaining of an already true consequent are themselves true. Moreover, this semantic insight allows us to provide compelling counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism that are resistant to the usual contextualist response. (shrink)
A heterogeneous survey sample of for-profit, non-profit and government employees revealed that organizational factors but not personal characteristics were significant antecedents of misconduct and job satisfaction. Formal organizational compliance practices and ethical climate were independent predictors of misconduct, and compliance practices also moderated the relationship between ethical climate and misconduct, as well as between pressure to compromise ethical standards and misconduct. Misconduct was not predicted by level of moral reasoning, age, sex, ethnicity, job status, or size and type of (...) organization. Demographic variables predicted job satisfaction and organizational variables added significant incremental variance. Results suggest the importance of promoting a moral organization through the words and actions of senior managers and supervisors, independent of formal mechanisms such as codes of conduct. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to raise two questions. The first question is: How is pessimism related to Buddhism (and vice versa)? The second question is: What relation does an immanent philosophy have to pessimism and Buddhism, if any? Using True Detective, an American television crime drama, as my point of departure, first I will outline some of the likenesses between Buddhism and pessimism. At the same time, I will show how the conduct of one of the main (...) characters in True Detective resembles the paths of Buddhism and pessimism, even though he is ethical in a strictly non-pessimistic and non-Buddhist fashion. Last, I will try to place these findings in perspective through the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s thoughts. Hereby, I hope to illustrate that joy, not suffering, is basic to human existence, and how human beings may overcome a spiritual pessimism. (shrink)
I develop a theory of counterfactuals about relative computability, i.e. counterfactuals such as 'If the validity problem were algorithmically decidable, then the halting problem would also be algorithmically decidable,' which is true, and 'If the validity problem were algorithmically decidable, then arithmetical truth would also be algorithmically decidable,' which is false. These counterfactuals are counterpossibles, i.e. they have metaphysically impossible antecedents. They thus pose a challenge to the orthodoxy about counterfactuals, which would treat them as uniformly true. (...) What’s more, I argue that these counterpossibles don’t just appear in the periphery of relative computability theory but instead they play an ineliminable role in the development of the theory. Finally, I present and discuss a model theory for these counterfactuals that is a straightforward extension of the familiar comparative similarity models. (shrink)
Given the recent ethics scandals in the United States, there has been a renewed focus on understanding the antecedents to ethical decision-making in the research literature. Since ethical norms and standards of behavior are not universally consistent, an individual’s choice of referent may exert a large influence on his/her ethical decision-making. This study used a social identity theory lens to empirically examine the relative influence of the macro- and micro-level variables of national culture and peers on an individual’s intention (...) to behave ethically. Our sample consisted of respondents from Germany, Italy, and Japan. The results indicated that both national culture and peers were found to act as significant referents in ethical decision-making dilemmas. Although peers exerted a much stronger influence on an individual’s ethical decision-making, the impact of peers varied depending on the national culture levels of individualism and power distance. (shrink)
Closest-possible-world analyses of counterfactuals suffer from what has been called the ‘problem of counterpossibles’: some counterfactuals with metaphysically impossible antecedents seem plainly false, but the proposed analyses imply that they are all (vacuously) true. One alleged solution to this problem is the addition of impossible worlds. In this paper, I argue that the closest possible or impossible world analyses that have recently been suggested suffer from the ‘new problem of counterpossibles’: the proposed analyses imply that some plainly (...) class='Hi'>true counterpossibles (viz., ‘counterlogicals’) are false. After motivating and presenting the ‘new problem’, I give reasons to think that the most plausible objection to my argument is not compelling. (shrink)
Many philosophers have believed that the laws of nature differ from the accidental truths in their invariance under counterfactual perturbations. Roughly speaking, the laws would still have held had q been the case, for any q that is consistent with the laws. (Trivially, no accident would still have held under every such counterfactual supposition.) The main problem with this slogan (even if it is true) is that it uses the laws themselves to delimit qs range. I present a means (...) of distinguishing the laws (and their logical consequences) from the accidents, in terms of their range of invariance under counterfactual antecedents, that does not appeal to physical modalities (or any cognate notion) in delimiting the relevant range of counterfactual perturbations. I then argue that this approach explicates the sense in which the laws possess a kind of necessity. (shrink)
In When is True Belief Knowledge? (2012) Richard Foley proposes an original and strikingly simple theory of knowledge: a subject S knows some proposition p if and only if S truly believes that p and does not lack any important information. If this view is correct, Foley allegedly solves a wide variety of epistemological problems, such as the Gettier problem, the lottery paradox, the so-called ‘value problem’, and the problem of skepticism. However, a central component of his view is (...) that whether a true belief counts as knowledge depends on the importance of the information that one has or lacks. My paper raises doubts about whether there is a non-circular way to distinguish important information from unimportant information. I argue that there is no way to distinguish important information from unimportant information without ultimately making reference to knowledge; thus, Foley’s new theory of knowledge does not achieve its goals. (shrink)
In this paper, I respond to Pierre Le Morvan’s critique of my thesis that ignorance is lack of true belief rather than absence of knowledge. I argue that the distinction between dispositional and non-dispositional accounts of belief, as I made it in a previous paper, is correct as it stands. Also, I criticize the viability and the importance of Le Morvan’s distinction between propositional and factive ignorance. Finally, I provide two arguments in favor of the thesis that ignorance is (...) lack of true belief rather than absence of knowledge. (shrink)
I begin with an exposition of the two main variants of the Prosentential Theory of Truth (PT), those of Dorothy Grover et al. and Robert Brandom. Three main types of criticisms are then put forward: (1) material criticisms to the effect that (PT) does not adequately explain the linguistic data, (2) an objection to the effect that no variant of (PT) gives a properly unified account of the various occurrences of "true" in English, and, most importantly, (3) a charge (...) that the comparison with proforms is explanatorily idle. The last objection is that, given a complete semantic account of pronouns, proadjectives, antecedents, etc., together with a complete (PT), the essential semantic character of "true" could be deduced, but then, the idleness of the comparison with pronouns would be apparent. It turns out that objections (2) and (3) are related in the following way: the prosentential terminology is held to conceal the lack of unity in (PT), by describing the different data in the same terms ("proform", "antecedent", etc.). But this, I argue, is only a way of truly describing, rather than explaining, the data, these being certain relations of equivalence and consequence between sentences. I consider a language for which (PT) would be not only true, but also explanatory, but note that this language is very different from English. I end by showing that Robert Brandom's case that "is true" is not a predicate fails, and that his motivation for saying so is based on fallacious reasoning (namely, Boghossian's argument against deflationism). (shrink)
[ES] En este breve trabajo, se presenta una edición bilingüe de Is Justified True Belief Knowledge? (1963), de Edmund L. Gettier, donde se presentan contraejemplos a la definición de «conocimiento» como «creencia verdadera justificada». [ES] In this brief text, a bilingual edition of Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?, (1963) by Edmund L. Gettier, some counterexamples are presented to the definition of «knowledge» as «justified true belief».
Kit Fine (1994. “Essence and Modality”, Philosophical Perspectives 8: 1-16) argues that the standard modal account of essence as de re modality is ‘fundamentally misguided’ (p. 3). We agree with his critique and suggest an alternative counterfactual analysis of essence. As a corollary, our counterfactual account lends support to non-vacuism the thesis that counterpossibles (i.e., counterfactual conditionals with impossible antecedents) are not always vacuously true.
Paraconsistent and dialetheist approaches to a theory of truth are faced with a problem: the expressive resources of the logic do not suffice to express that a sentence is just true—i.e., true and not also false—or to express that a sentence is consistent. In his recent book, Spandrels of Truth, Jc Beall proposes a ‘just true’-operator to identify sentences that are true and not also false. Beall suggests seven principles that a ‘just true’-operator must fulfill, (...) and proves that his operator indeed fulfills all of them. He concludes that just true has been expressed in the language. I argue that, while the seven conditions may be necessary for an operator to express just true, they are not jointly sufficient. Specifically, first, I prove that a further plausible desideratum for necessary conditions on ‘just true’ is not fulfilled by Beall's proposal, namely that ‘just true’ ascriptions should themselves be just true, and not also false (or equivalently, that the ‘just true’-operator iterates). Second, I show that Beall's operator does not adequately express just true, but that it merely captures an arbitrary proper subset of the just true sentences. Further, there is no prospect of extending the proposal in order to encompass a more reasonable subset of the just true sentences without presupposing that we have antecedent means to characterize the class of just true sentences. (shrink)
Suppose that knowledge and ignorance are complements in the sense of being mutually exclusive: for person S and fact p, either S knows that p or is ignorant that p. Understood in this way, ignorance amounts to a lack or absence of knowledge: S is ignorant that p if and only if it is not the case that S knows that p. Let us call the thesis that knowledge and ignorance are opposites the “Complement Thesis”. In this article, I discuss (...) its deployment in an ingenious new argument advanced by Alvin Goldman and Erik Olsson (2009) which, if sound, establishes that there is a kind of knowledge that amounts to nothing more than true belief. I rebut their argument and in doing so delineate some important epistemological lessons brought to light by the contrast between ignorance and knowledge. (shrink)
This article focuses on defective conditionals ? namely indicative conditionals whose antecedents are false and whose truth-values therefore cannot be determined. The problem is to decide which formal connective can adequately represent this usage. Classical logic renders defective conditionals true whereas traditional mathematics dismisses them as irrelevant. This difference in treatment entails that, at the propositional level, classical logic validates some sentences that are intuitively false in plane geometry. With two proofs, I show that the same flaw is (...) shared by a family of trivalent logics. I go on to examine the strict conditional and its derivatives. This family is the only one to avoid the faulty inference but it does so without addressing the status of the truth-value assigned to defective conditionals. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
It has been generally assumed in the Theory of Mind literature of the past 30 years that young children fail standard false-belief tasks because they attribute their own knowledge to the protagonist. Contrary to the traditional view, we have recently proposed that the children's bias is task induced. This alternative view was supported by studies showing that 3 year olds are able to pass a false-belief task that allows them to focus on the protagonist, without drawing their attention to the (...) target object in the test phase. For a more accurate comparison of these two accounts, the present study tested the true-belief default with adults. Four experiments measuring eye movements and response inhibition revealed that adults do not have an automatic tendency to respond to the false-belief question according to their own knowledge and the true-belief response need not be inhibited in order to correctly predict the protagonist's actions. The positive results observed in the control conditions confirm the accuracy of the various measures used. I conclude that the results of this study undermine the true-belief default view and those models that posit mechanisms of response inhibition in false-belief reasoning. Alternatively, the present study with adults and recent studies with children suggest that participants' focus of attention in false-belief tasks may be key to their performance. (shrink)
One well-known objection to the traditional Lewis-Stalnaker semantics of counterfactuals is that it delivers counterintuitive semantic verdicts for many counterpossibles (counterfactuals with necessarily false antecedents). To remedy this problem, several authors have proposed extending the set of possible worlds by impossible worlds at which necessary falsehoods may be true. Linguistic ersatz theorists often construe impossible worlds as maximal, inconsistent sets of sentences in some sufficiently expressive language. However, in a recent paper, Bjerring (2014) argues that the “extended” Lewis-Stalnaker (...) semantics delivers the wrong truth-values for many counterpossibles if impossible worlds are required to be maximal. To make room for non-maximal or partial impossible worlds, Bjerring considers two alternative world-ontologies: either (i) we construe impossible worlds as arbitrary (maximal or partial) inconsistent sets of sentences, or (ii) we construe them as (maximal or partial) inconsistent sets of sentences that are closed and consistent with respect to some non-classical logic. Bjerring raises an objection against (i), and suggests that we opt for (ii). In this paper, I argue, first, that Bjerring’s objection against (i) conflates two different conceptions of what it means for a logic to be true at a world. Second, I argue that (ii) imposes too strong constraints on what counts as an impossible world. I conclude that linguistic ersatzists should construe impossible worlds as arbitrary (maximal or partial) inconsistent sets of sentences. (shrink)
Empirical findings may be relevant for aesthetic evaluation in at least two ways. First — within criticism — they may help us to identify the aesthetic value of objects. Second— whithin philosophy — they may help us to decide which theory of aesthetic value and evaluation to prefer. In this paper, I address both kinds of relevance. My focus is thereby on empirical evidence gathered, not by means of first-personal experiences, but by means of third-personal scientific investigations of individual artworks (...) or, more generally, our interaction with art. The main thesis to be defended is that third-personal empirical findings are of limited significance for both critical and philosophical aesthetics. Indeed, they matter only to the extent to which they draw our attention to features or facts that we then iden- tify, from our first-personal perspective, as aesthetically relevant — for instance, as reasons counting for or against certain ascriptions of aesthetic value, or as factors that causally influence our actual as- sessments and thus render them partly inadequate or irrational. This limited significance of empirical findings is in line with the rationalist approach to the formation and justification of aesthetic judgements, that I have already started to defend elsewhere. -/- With respect to critical aesthetics, one problem is that empirical investigations cannot capture the normativity of the aesthetic relevance of lower-level features or facts: the respective studies can tell us what we take to be reason-giving or valuable, but not what is reason-giving or valuable. Furthermore, we cannot use empirically knowable principles to infer the presence of aesthetic values or reasons on the basis of recognising measurable lower-level features because the only available principles are too specific to allow for their actual application to more than one existing object, or even for their actual formulation. For their antecedents make reference to a large number of very determinate properties, as well as sometimes to particular events of creation. The only exception are conceptual principles (such as ‘something symmetrical is balanced’) or default principles (such as ‘something elegant is, by default, beautiful’). But knowledge of these principles is of little inferential use due to the holistic character of the justificatory power of aesthetic reasons and, moreover, does not allow for empirical acquisition. -/- With respect to philosophical aesthetics, I start with considering the limits of evolutionary accounts of aesthetic value. Even if it is true that humans originally came to value artworks because they recognised that artworks reveal certain skills or features of artists (such as imaginativeness or resourcefulness) that are desirable in sexual partners, it does not value that our reasons for valuing art have not changed, or at least not become much more complex. In addition, the answer to the question of why we value art from an evolutionary perspective has no obvious bearing on the issue of how we should appreciate art from an aesthetic perspective, or what such aesthetic appreciation would consist in. On the other hand, experimental studies showing that our actual aesthetic evaluations are influenced by factors (such as exposure e ects, or knowledge of the prices of objects), that undermine the good standing of our responses, just reveal that it is more difficult than perhaps expected to form sound aesthetic judgements; and that we need to improve our future aesthetic judgements by diminishing as much as possible the impact of those factors. (shrink)
Theorists have consistently maintained that the most plausible forms of objective consequentialism must be probabilistic if and only if indeterminism is true. This standard position, however popular, lacks sufficient motivation. Assume determinism to be true and an attempt will be made to show that attractive forms of objective consequentialism must be probabilistic - and not for reasons related to our epistemic limitations either. -/- Here it is argued that all extant objective formulations of consequentialism fail to deliver the (...) normative implications that the spirit of objective consequentialism requires. My argument rests upon the claim that certain pairs of subjunctive conditionals with identical antecedents and incompatible consequents are such that neither of the pair is true. -/- Upon leveling the objection, the concept of an "objective" subjunctive probability is introduced and utilized in the transformation of a subjective version of expected act utility consequentialism into an objective version, one that is capable of dealing with the difficulties posed by the objection. I end by indicating some ways in which the closest thing to a plausible, objective form of consequentialism might be developed. (shrink)
Bob Hale in Hale 1995b posed a dilemma for modal fictionalism (more specifically, Rosen's version of modal fictionalism). A modal fictionalist who maintains the version outlined in Rosen 1990 believes that the fiction of possible worlds (PW, to use Rosen and Hale's abbreviation) is not literally true. The question arises, however, about its modal status. Is it necessarily false, or contingently false? In either case, Hale argues, the modal fictionalist is in trouble. Should the modal fictionalist claim that the (...) story of possible worlds is necessarily false, then the modal fictionalist cannot gloss their "according to the fiction of possible worlds ... ." prefix as "were the fiction of possible worlds true, then ... would be true". This is because, according to Hale, conditional claims with antecedents which are necessarily false are automatically true, so it follows that if the fiction of possible worlds is taken to be necessarily false, all conditionals of the form "were the fiction of possible worlds true then ..." are true, and not merely the ones that the modal fictionalist wishes to endorse. If the modal fiction is to be useful, not everything should be true according to it: examples of claims that had better not be true according to it include the claim that 2+2=7, or the claim that there are no possible worlds. On the other hand, if the fiction of possible worlds (PW) is only contingently false, Hale claims this also lands the Rosen's fictionalism in unacceptable trouble, though it is not so clear why (see below). Let me discuss these horns in turn. (shrink)
one hand, it raises fundamental doubts about the Davidsonian project, which seems to involve isolating specifically semantic knowledge from any other knowledge or skill in a way reflected by the ideal of homophony. Indexicality forces a departure from this ideal, and so from the aspiration of deriving the truth conditions of an arbitrary utterance on the basis simply of axioms which could hope to represent purely semantic knowledge. In defence of Davidson, I argue that once his original idea for dealing (...) with the familiar indexical expressions is suitably implemented, in terms of theorems expressing conditional truth-conditions, the contrast between semantic and nonsemantic knowledge occurs in an appropriate place: between knowledge of the conditional truth conditions themselves (semantic), and knowledge of their antecedents (non-semantic). For example, a simplified version of a conditional truth condition for an utterance u of “That is a cat” will say that for all x, if the utterer in uttering “that” in u thereby referred to x, u is true iff x is a cat. The conditional fact belongs to semantic knowledge; non-semantic knowledge is required to work out what the utterer referred to; the two kinds of knowledge conspire to enable a truth condition to be detached. The other kind of worry relates to difficult technical questions, relating to specific idioms, raised by context-dependence. I consider whether an argument by Travis (2006), designed to establish that there can be no correct truth conditional semantics, can be turned on its head, and used to establish a general method for bringing all forms of context-dependence within Davidsonʼs framework (using quantification into the qualifier “on understanding U”). I argue that this will not work, and that we are committed to a piecemeal examination of various cases, of which I give some examples. One of these relates directly to Travisʼs argument concerning the context-dependence of “grunt”. In addition, Davidsonians need to have a sharp eye for the distinction between pragmatic and semantic content, to be specified by a test akin to Griceʼs notion of cancelability; they should treat sentences like “Itʼs raining” by the conditional truth-condition method; and they should treat possessives as semantically very unspecific. It is part of the thesis of the paper that this list of examples by no means exhausts the cases a Davidsonian needs to address. (shrink)
The connective or can be treated as an inclusive disjunction or else as an exclusive disjunction. Although researchers are aware of this distinction, few have examined the conditions under which each interpretation should be anticipated. Based on linguistic-pragmatic analyses, we assume that interpretations are initially inclusive before either (a) remaining so, or (b) becoming exclusive by way of an implicature ( but not both ). We point to a class of situations that ought to predispose disjunctions to inclusive interpretations and (...) to situations that encourage exclusive interpretations. A disjunction's ultimate interpretation is based on its potential informativeness, where the interpretation of the disjunctive utterance having the smallest number of true conditions is considered most informative. Our investigation leads to five experiments employing arbitrary materials. Among the problems expected to encourage inclusive interpretations are those that present disjunctions in the antecedents of conditionals and in question forms. The best candidates to produce implicatures are those disjunctions that underdetermine an expected conjunctive conclusion, although other disjunctive utterances that are more informative as exclusive are discussed and tested. (shrink)
In the correspondence with Arnauld, Leibniz contends that each corporeal substance has a substantial form. In support he argues that to be real a corporeal substance must be one and indivisible, a true unity. I will show how this argument precludes a tempting interpretation of corporeal substances as composite unities. Rather it mandates the interpretation that each corporeal substance is a single monad.
The main goal of this paper is to investigate the relation between the meaning of a sentence and its truth conditions. We report on a comprehension experiment on counterfactual conditionals, based on a context in which a light is controlled by two switches. Our main finding is that the truth-conditionally equivalent clauses (i) "switch A or switch B is down" and (ii) "switch A and switch B are not both up" make different semantic contributions when embedded in a conditional antecedent. (...) Assuming compositionality, this means that (i) and (ii) differ in meaning, which implies that the meaning of a sentential clause cannot be identified with its truth conditions. We show that our data have a clear explanation in inquisitive semantics: in a conditional antecedent, (i) introduces two distinct assumptions, while (ii) introduces only one. Independently of the complications stemming from disjunctive antecedents, our results also challenge analyses of counterfactuals in terms of minimal change from the actual state of affairs: we show that such analyses cannot account for our findings, regardless of what changes are considered minimal. (shrink)
By a theorem of R. Kaye, J. Paris and C. Dimitracopoulos, the class of the Πn+1-sentences true in the standard model is the only consistent Πn+1-theory which extends the scheme of induction for parameter free Πn+1-formulas. Motivated by this result, we present a systematic study of extensions of bounded quantifier complexity of fragments of first-order Peano Arithmetic. Here, we improve that result and show that this property describes a general phenomenon valid for parameter free schemes. As a consequence, we (...) obtain results on the quantifier complexity, finite axiomatizability and relative strength of schemes for Δn+1-formulas. (shrink)
Chrysippus claims that some propositions perish. including some true conditionals whose consequent is impossible and antecedent is possible, to which he appeals against Diodorus?s Master Argument. On the standard interpretation. perished propositions lack truth values. and these conditionals are true at the same time as their antecedents arc possible and consequents impossible. But perished propositions are false, and Chrysippus?s conditionals are true when their antecedent and consequent arc possible, and false when their antecedent is possible and (...) consequent impossible. The claim of the Master Argument that Chrysippus rejects, then, is stronger ihan usually supposed. (shrink)
In a series of influential papers and in his groundbreaking book Knowledge in a Social World Alvin Goldman argues that sometimes “know” just means “believe truly” (Goldman 1999; 2001; 2002b; Goldman & Olsson 2009). I argue that Goldman's (and Olsson's) case for “weak knowledge”, as well as a similar argument put forth by John Hawthorne, are unsuccessful. However, I also believe that Goldman does put his finger on an interesting and important phenomenon. He alerts us to the fact that sometimes (...) we ascribe knowledge to people even though we are not interested in whether their credal attitude is based on adequate grounds. I argue that when in such contexts we say, or concede, that S knows that p , we speak loosely. What we mean is that S would give the correct answer when asked whether p . But this doesn't entail that S knows that her answer is right or that S knows that p . My alternative analysis of the Hawthorne-Goldman-Olsson examples preserves the view that knowledge requires, even in the contexts in question, true (firm) belief that is based on adequate grounds. (shrink)
Modal fictionalists propose to defuse the unwanted ontological commitments of modal realism by treating modal realism as a fictional story, and modal assertions as assertions, prefixed by a fictionalist operator, that something is true in that story. However, consideration of conditionals with modal antecedents raises the problem ofembedding, which shows that the simple prefixing strategy cannotsucceed. A compositional version of the fictionalist strategy isdeveloped and critiqued, and some general semantic morals aredrawn from the failures of both strategies.
Nina Emery and Christopher Hill proposed a pragmatic approach toward the debate about counterpossibles—i.e., counterfactuals with impossible antecedents. The core of this approach is to move the burden of the problem from the notion of truth value into the notion of assertion. This is meant to explain our pre-theoretical intuitions about counterpossibles while claiming that each and every counterpossible is vacuously true. The aim of this paper is to indicate a problematic aspect of this view.
The benchmark theory of conditionals maintains that conditionals quantify over a contextually restricted domain of worlds (Kratzer 1991). They are modal statements. The antecedent contributes to the interpretation of the whole conditional a proposition, a set of worlds. Conditionals quantify over a contextually restricted domain of worlds in which the proposition that the antecedent expresses is true. This is all antecedents do. In particular, the semantic import of its tense and mood inflection is neglected: it is - at (...) most - a merely formal reflection of the type of modal in the consequent (Fintel 1998; Heim 1992; Kratzer 1991). (shrink)
For the first time, full coverage of the intersections of philosophy and law From articles centering on the detailed and doctrinal exposition of the law to those which reside almost wholly within the realm of philosophical ethics, this volume affords comprehensive treatment to both sides of the philosophicolegal equation. Systematic and sustained coverage of the many dimensions of legal thought gives ample expression to the true breadth and depth of the philosophy of law, with coverage of: *The modes of (...) knowing and the kinds of normativity used in the law *Studies in international, constitutional, criminal, administrative, persons and property, contracts and tort law-including their historical origins and worldwide ramifications *Current legal cultures-such as common law and civilian, European, and Aboriginal *Influential jurisprudents and their biographies *All influential schools and methods Coverage of all major historical, cultural, and geographical settings for legal philosophy A thorough understanding of any legal issue necessitates an acquaintance with its antecedents and its corollaries. Thus, added to the consideration of other current legal cultures outside of North America are treatments of other periods significant to legal thinking, such as the Hellenistic, Sixteenth-century, or Federalist. Discussion of the practice of legal philosophy today In every major area where public policy gives rise to philosophical inquiry regarding the law, debates and discussions are covered in full: tort reform, protection of life and death, gay rights, objectives in punishment, non-putative detention, international deterrence, legitimacy of government. And the historical and international dimensions of these issues-how they are resolved in other times and places-are not lost. Contributions from prominent legal and philosophical scholars from around the world The international array of more than 300 contributors from over forty countries complements the volume's international scope. With many contributors being forces in the very debates they write of, some fifty percent of them work in the law-as judges, jurists or jurisprudence-and another half are philosophers in the social sciences and humanities. Their work spans the practice that is taken for philosophy of law today. Special features *Contributions of more than 300 international scholars from more than 40 countires *Extensive bibliographies at the end of each entry *Detailed subject guide for easy access to the main topics covered *Comprehensive, analytical index. (shrink)