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  1. Dispositions and Modals: A Short History.Alex Anthony - manuscript
    http://alexanthony.org/dispositions%20and%20modality.pdf.
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  2. Near Closeness and Conditionals.Daniel Berntson - manuscript
    This paper presents a new system of conditional logic B2, which is strictly intermediate in strength between the existing systems B1 and B3 from John Burgess (1981) and David Lewis (1973a). After presenting and motivating the new system, we will show that it is characterized by a natural class of frames. These frames correspond to the idea that conditionals are about which worlds are nearly closest, rather than which worlds are closest. Along the way, we will also give new characterization (...)
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  3. The Paradox of Counterfactual Tolerance.Daniel Berntson - manuscript
    Counterfactuals are somewhat tolerant. Had Socrates been at least six feet tall, he need not have been exactly six feet tall. He might have been a little taller—he might have been six one or six two. But while he might have been a little taller, there are limits to how tall he would have been. Had he been at least six feet tall, he would not have been more than a hundred feet tall, for example. Counterfactuals are not just tolerant, (...)
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  4. The Modal Future Hypothesis Debugged.Fabrizio Cariani - manuscript
    This note identifies and corrects some problems in developments of the thesis that predictive expressions, such as English "will", are modals. I contribute a new argument supporting Cariani and Santorio's recent claim that predictive expressions are non-quantificational modals. At the same time, I improve on their selectional semantics by fixing an important bug. Finally, I show that there are benefits to be reaped by integrating the selection semantics framework with standard ideas about the future orientation of modals.
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  5. Breaking de Morgan's Law in Counterfactual Antecedents.Lucas Champollion, Ivano Ciardelli & Linmin Zhang - manuscript
    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. (...)
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  6. Subjunctive Conditionals Are Material.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    The material account claims that indicative conditionals are material. However, the conventional wisdom even among material account enthusiasts is that the material account cannot be extended to subjunctive conditionals. There are mainly three reasons that motivate this consensus: (1) the belief that if subjunctives were material, most subjunctive conditionals would be vacuously true, which is implausible; (2) its inconsistency with Adams pair, which suggest that indicative and subjunctive conditionals have different truth conditions; and (3) the belief that it is an (...)
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  7. If Counterfactuals Were Neg-Raisers, Conditional Excluded Middle Wouldn’T Be Valid.Patrick Todd & Brian Rabern - manuscript
    The principle of Conditional Excluded Middle has been a matter of longstanding controversy in both semantics and metaphysics. According to this principle, we are, inter alia, committed to claims like the following: If the coin had been flipped, it would have landed heads, or if the coin had been flipped, it would not have landed heads. In favour of the principle, theorists have appealed, primarily, to linguistic data such as that we tend to hear ¬(A > B) as equivalent to (...)
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  8. The Temporal Asymmetry of Counterfactuals.Terrance A. Tomkow & Kadri Vihvelin - manuscript
  9. Causal Models and the Logic of Counterfactuals.Jonathan Vandenburgh - manuscript
    Causal models provide a framework for making counterfactual predictions, making them useful for evaluating the truth conditions of counterfactual sentences. However, current causal models for counterfactual semantics face limitations compared to the alternative similarity-based approach: they only apply to a limited subset of counterfactuals and the connection to counterfactual logic is not straightforward. This paper argues that these limitations arise from the theory of interventions where intervening on variables requires changing structural equations rather than the values of variables. Using an (...)
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  10. Counterfactuals of Ontological Dependence.Sam Baron - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
    A great deal has been written about 'would' counterfactuals of causal dependence. Comparatively little has been said regarding 'would' counterfactuals of ontological dependence. The standard Lewis-Stalnaker semantics is inadequate for handling such counterfactuals. That's because some of these counterfactuals are counterpossibles, and the standard Lewis-Stalnaker semantics trivializes for counterpossibles. Fortunately, there is a straightforward extension of the Lewis-Stalnaker semantics available that handles counterpossibles: simply take Lewis's closeness relation that orders possible worlds and unleash it across impossible worlds. To apply the (...)
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  11. Counterfactual Similarity, Nomic Indiscernibility, and the Paradox of Quidditism.Andrew D. Bassford & C. Daniel Dolson - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Aristotle is essentially human; that is, for all possible worlds metaphysically consistent with our own, if Aristotle exists, then he is human. This is a claim about the essential property of an object. The claim that objects have essential properties has been hotly disputed, but for present purposes, we can bracket that issue. In this essay, we are interested, rather, in the question of whether properties themselves have essential properties (or features) for their existence. We call those who suppose they (...)
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  12. The Evidential Conditional.Vincenzo Crupi & Andrea Iacona - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-25.
    This paper outlines an account of conditionals, the evidential account, which rests on the idea that a conditional is true just in case its antecedent supports its consequent. As we will show, the evidential account exhibits some distinctive logical features that deserve careful consideration. On the one hand, it departs from the material reading of ‘if then’ exactly in the way we would like it to depart from that reading. On the other, it significantly differs from the non-material accounts which (...)
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  13. Counterfactual Contamination.Simon Goldstein & John Hawthorne - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-17.
    Many defend the thesis that when someone knows p, they couldn’t easily have been wrong about p. But the notion of easy possibility in play is relatively undertheorized. One structural idea in the literature, the principle of Counterfactual Closure (CC), connects easy possibility with counterfactuals: if it easily could have happened that p, and if p were the case, then q would be the case, it follows that it easily could have happened that q. We first argue that while CC (...)
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  14. Synesthe Volume.Vincent Hendricks (ed.) - forthcoming
  15. Does Chance Undermine Would?Alexander W. Kocurek - forthcoming - Mind.
    Counterfactual skepticism holds that most ordinary counterfactuals are false. The main argument for this view appeals to a ‘chance undermines would’ principle: if ψ would have some chance of not obtaining had φ obtained, then φ []–> ψ is false. This principle seems to follow from two fairly weak principles, viz., that ‘chance ensures could’ and that φ []–> ψ and φ <>–> ψ clash. Despite their initial plausibility, I show that these principles are independently problematic: given some modest closure (...)
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  16. The Case of the Missing ‘If’: Accessibility Relations in Stalnaker’s Theory of Conditionals.Matthew Mandelkern - forthcoming - Semantics and Pragmatics.
    A part of Stalnaker (1968)’s influential theory of conditionals has been neglected, namely the role for an accessibility relation between worlds. I argue that the accessibility relation does not play the role intended for it in the theory as stated, and propose a minimal revision which solves the problem, and brings the theory in line with the formulation in Stalnaker & Thomason 1970.
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  17. Revisiting McKay and Johnson's Counterexample to Beta.Pedro Merlussi - forthcoming - Philosophical Explorations.
    In debates concerning the consequence argument, it has long been claimed that McKay and Johnson (1996) demonstrated the invalidity of rule (β). Here, I argue that their result is not as robust as we might like to think. First, I argue that McKay and Johnson’s counterexample is successful if one adopts a certain interpretation of “no choice about” and if one is willing to deny the conditional excluded middle principle. In order to make this point I demonstrate that (β) is (...)
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  18. Counterfactuals, Indeterminacy, and Value: A Puzzle.Eli Pitcovski & Andrew Peet - forthcoming - Synthese.
    According to the Counterfactual Comparative Account of harm and benefit (CCA), an event is overall harmful (/beneficial) for a subject to the extent that this subject would have been better (/worse) off if it had not occurred. In this paper we present a challenge for CCA. We argue that if physical processes are chancy in the manner suggested by our best physical theories, then CCA faces a dilemma: If it is developed in line with the standard approach to counterfactuals, then (...)
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  19. Team Semantics for Interventionist Counterfactuals: Observations vs. Interventions.Fausto Barbero & Gabriel Sandu - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 50 (3):471-521.
    Team semantics is a highly general framework for logics which describe dependencies and independencies among variables. Typically, the dependencies considered in this context are properties of sets of configurations or data records. We show how team semantics can be further generalized to support languages for the discussion of interventionist counterfactuals and causal dependencies, such as those that arise in manipulationist theories of causation. We show that the “causal teams” we introduce in the present paper can be used for modelling some (...)
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  20. How Strong Is a Counterfactual?David Boylan & Ginger Schultheis - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (7):373-404.
    The literature on counterfactuals is dominated by strict accounts and variably strict accounts. Counterexamples to the principle of Antecedent Strengthening were thought to be fatal to SA; but it has been shown that by adding dynamic resources to the view, such examples can be accounted for. We broaden the debate between VSA and SA by focusing on a new strengthening principle, Strengthening with a Possibility. We show dynamic SA classically validates this principle. We give a counterexample to it and show (...)
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  21. Counterfactuals and Modality.Gabriel Greenberg - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 1 (6):1-26.
    This essay calls attention to a set of linguistic interactions between counterfactual conditionals, on one hand, and possibility modals like could have and might have, on the other. These data present a challenge to the popular variably strict semantics for counterfactual conditionals. Instead, they support a version of the strict conditional semantics in which counterfactuals and possibility modals share a unified quantificational domain. I’ll argue that pragmatic explanations of this evidence are not available to the variable analysis. And putative counterexamples (...)
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  22. List and Menzies on High‐Level Causation.Jens Jäger - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 102 (4):570-591.
    I raise two objections against Christian List and Peter Menzies' influential account of high-level causation. Improving upon some of Stephen Yablo's earlier work, I develop an alternative theory which evades both objections. The discussion calls into question List and Menzies' main contention, namely, that the exclusion principle, applied to difference-making, is false.
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  23. Counterpossibles.Alexander W. Kocurek - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (11):e12787.
  24. Logic Talk.Alexander W. Kocurek - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13661-13688.
    Sentences about logic are often used to show that certain embedding expressions are hyperintensional. Yet it is not clear how to regiment “logic talk” in the object language so that it can be compositionally embedded under such expressions. In this paper, I develop a formal system called hyperlogic that is designed to do just that. I provide a hyperintensional semantics for hyperlogic that doesn’t appeal to logically impossible worlds, as traditionally understood, but instead uses a shiftable parameter that determines the (...)
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  25. Counterlogicals as Counterconventionals.Alexander W. Kocurek & Ethan J. Jerzak - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 50 (4):673-704.
    We develop and defend a new approach to counterlogicals. Non-vacuous counterlogicals, we argue, fall within a broader class of counterfactuals known as counterconventionals. Existing semantics for counterconventionals, 459–482 ) and, 1–27 ) allow counterfactuals to shift the interpretation of predicates and relations. We extend these theories to counterlogicals by allowing counterfactuals to shift the interpretation of logical vocabulary. This yields an elegant semantics for counterlogicals that avoids problems with the usual impossible worlds semantics. We conclude by showing how this approach (...)
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  26. Counterfactuals, counteractuals, and free choice.Fabio Lampert & Pedro Merlussi - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (2):445-469.
    In a recent paper, Pruss proves the validity of the rule beta-2 relative to Lewis’s semantics for counterfactuals, which is a significant step forward in the debate about the consequence argument. Yet, we believe there remain intuitive counter-examples to beta-2 formulated with the actuality operator and rigidified descriptions. We offer a novel and two-dimensional formulation of the Lewisian semantics for counterfactuals and prove the validity of a new transfer rule according to which a new version of the consequence argument can (...)
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  27. Heim Sequences and Why Most Unqualified ‘Would’-Counterfactuals Are Not True.Yael Loewenstein - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (3):597-610.
    ABSTRACT The apparent consistency of Sobel sequences famously motivated David Lewis to defend a variably strict conditional semantics for counterfactuals. If Sophie had gone to the parade, she would have seen Pedro. If Sophie had gone to the parade and had been stuck behind someone tall, she would not have seen Pedro. But if the order of the counterfactuals in a Sobel sequence is reversed—in the example, if is asserted prior to —the second counterfactual asserted no longer rings true. This (...)
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  28. If P, Then P!Matthew Mandelkern - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (12):645-679.
    The Identity principle says that conditionals with the form 'If p, then p' are logical truths. Identity is overwhelmingly plausible, and has rarely been explicitly challenged. But a wide range of conditionals nonetheless invalidate it. I explain the problem, and argue that the culprit is the principle known as Import-Export, which we must thus reject. I then explore how we can reject Import-Export in a way that still makes sense of the intuitions that support it, arguing that the differences between (...)
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  29. Counterfactual Scepticism and Antecedent-Contextualism.Alan Hájek - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):637-659.
    I have argued for a kind of ‘counterfactual scepticism’: most counterfactuals ever uttered or thought in human history are false. I briefly rehearse my main arguments. Yet common sense recoils. Ordinary speakers judge most counterfactuals that they utter and think to be true. A common defence of such judgments regards counterfactuals as context-dependent: the proposition expressed by a given counterfactual can vary according to the context in which it is uttered. In normal contexts, the counterfactuals that we utter are typically (...)
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  30. Counterfactuals and Probability. [REVIEW]Justin Khoo - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (3):489-495.
  31. Relevance First: Relocating Similarity in Counterfactual Semantics.Cory Nichols - 2020 - Synthese 198 (11):10529-10564.
    The last several decades of research on counterfactual conditionals in the fields of philosophy and linguistics have yielded a predominant paradigm according to which the notion of similarity plays the starring role. Roughly, a counterfactual of the form A > C is true iff the closest A-worlds are all C-worlds, where the closeness of a world is a function of its similarity, in a certain sense, to the actual world. I argue that this is deeply misguided. In some cases we (...)
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  32. Might Generics.Brian Rabern - 2020 - Snippets 39:8-9.
    How do generics interact with modals? This note offers one observation about an interaction with 'might' that presents a challenge for standard theories.
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  33. Metaphysical explanations and the counterfactual theory of explanation.Stefan Roski - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):1971-1991.
    According to an increasingly popular view among philosophers of science, both causal and non-causal explanations can be accounted for by a single theory: the counterfactual theory of explanation. A kind of non-causal explanation that has gained much attention recently but that this theory seems unable to account for are grounding explanations. Reutlinger :239-256, 2017) has argued that, despite these appearances to the contrary, such explanations are covered by his version of the counterfactual theory. His idea is supported by recent work (...)
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  34. Levelling Counterfactual Scepticism.Katie Steele & Alexander Sandgren - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):927-947.
    In this paper, we develop a novel response to counterfactual scepticism, the thesis that most ordinary counterfactual claims are false. In the process we aim to shed light on the relationship between debates in the philosophy of science and debates concerning the semantics and pragmatics of counterfactuals. We argue that science is concerned with many domains of inquiry, each with its own characteristic entities and regularities; moreover, statements of scientific law often include an implicit ceteris paribus clause that restricts the (...)
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  35. Counterpossibles and Normal Defaults in the Filioque Controversy.Jacob Archambault - 2019 - Logica Universalis 13 (4):443-455.
    A counterpossible conditional, or counterpossible for short, is a conditional proposition whose antecedent is impossible. The filioque doctrine is a dogma of western Christian Trinitarian theology according to which the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. The filioque doctrine was the principal theological reason for the Great Schism, the split between Eastern Orthodoxy and western Christianity, which continues today. In the paper, I review one of the earliest medieval defenses of the doctrine in Anselm of Canterbury, and (...)
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  36. How Close Are Impossible Worlds? A Critique of Brogaard and Salerno’s Account of Counterpossibles.Dan Baras - 2019 - Dialectica 73 (3):315-329.
    Several theorists have been attracted to the idea that in order to account for counterpossibles, i.e. counterfactuals with impossible antecedents, we must appeal to impossible worlds. However, few have attempted to provide a detailed impossible worlds account of counterpossibles. Berit Brogaard and Joe Salerno’s ‘Remarks on Counterpossibles’ is one of the few attempts to fill in this theoretical gap. In this article, I critically examine their account. I prove a number of unanticipated implications of their account that end up implying (...)
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  37. Wierenga on Theism and Counterpossibles.Fabio Lampert - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):693-707.
    Several theists, including Linda Zagzebski, have claimed that theism is somehow committed to nonvacuism about counterpossibles. Even though Zagzebski herself has rejected vacuism, she has offered an argument in favour of it, which Edward Wierenga has defended as providing strong support for vacuism that is independent of the orthodox semantics for counterfactuals, mainly developed by David Lewis and Robert Stalnaker. In this paper I show that argument to be sound only relative to the orthodox semantics, which entails vacuism, and give (...)
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  38. Frontiers of Conditional Logic.Yale Weiss - 2019 - Dissertation, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
    Conditional logics were originally developed for the purpose of modeling intuitively correct modes of reasoning involving conditional—especially counterfactual—expressions in natural language. While the debate over the logic of conditionals is as old as propositional logic, it was the development of worlds semantics for modal logic in the past century that catalyzed the rapid maturation of the field. Moreover, like modal logic, conditional logic has subsequently found a wide array of uses, from the traditional (e.g. counterfactuals) to the exotic (e.g. conditional (...)
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  39. Presupposing Counterfactuality.Julia Zakkou - 2019 - Semantics and Pragmatics.
    There is long standing agreement both among philosophers and linguists that the term ‘counterfactual conditional’ is misleading if not a misnomer. Speakers of both non-past subjunctive (or ‘would’) conditionals and past subjunctive (or ‘would have’) conditionals need not convey counterfactuality. The relationship between the conditionals in question and the counterfactuality of their antecedents is thus not one of presupposing. It is one of conversationally implicating. This paper provides a thorough examination of the arguments against the presupposition view as applied to (...)
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  40. Benardete’s Paradox and the Logic of Counterfactuals.Michael Caie - 2018 - Analysis 78 (1):22-34.
    I consider a puzzling case presented by Jose Benardete, and by appeal to this case develop a paradox involving counterfactual conditionals. I then show that this paradox may be leveraged to argue for certain non-obvious claims concerning the logic of counterfactuals.
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  41. Will Done Better: Selection Semantics, Future Credence, and Indeterminacy.Fabrizio Cariani & Paolo Santorio - 2018 - Mind 127 (505):129-165.
    Statements about the future are central in everyday conversation and reasoning. How should we understand their meaning? The received view among philosophers treats will as a tense: in ‘Cynthia will pass her exam’, will shifts the reference time forward. Linguists, however, have produced substantial evidence for the view that will is a modal, on a par with must and would. The different accounts are designed to satisfy different theoretical constraints, apparently pulling in opposite directions. We show that these constraints are (...)
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  42. Two Switches in the Theory of Counterfactuals: A Study of Truth Conditionality and Minimal Change.Ivano Ciardelli, Linmin Zhang & Lucas Champollion - 2018 - Linguistics and Philosophy (6).
    Based on a crowdsourced truth value judgment experiment, we provide empirical evidence challenging two classical views in semantics, and we develop a novel account of counterfactuals that combines ideas from inquisitive semantics and causal reasoning. First, we show that two truth-conditionally equivalent clauses can make different semantic contributions when embedded in a counterfactual antecedent. Assuming compositionality, this means that the meaning of these clauses is not fully determined by their truth conditions. This finding has a clear explanation in inquisitive semantics: (...)
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  43. Counterfactual Donkeys Don't Get High.Michael Deigan - 2018 - Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 22 1:367--384.
    I present data that suggest the universal entailments of counterfactual donkey sentences aren’t as universal as some have claimed. I argue that this favors the strategy of attributing these entailments to a special property of the similarity ordering on worlds provided by some contexts, rather than to a semantically encoded sensitivity to assignment.
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  44. On Conditionals.Theresa Helke - 2018 - Dissertation, National University of Singapore
    This thesis is about indicative conditionals and apparent counterexamples to classically valid argument forms. Specifically, it applies the following four theories: - material (inspired by Grice (1961, 1975 and 1989)); - possible-worlds (inspired by Stalnaker (1981); Lewis (1976); and Kratzer (2012)), - suppositional (inspired by Adams (1975) and Edgington (1995 and 2014)); and - hybrid (inspired by Jackson (1987)) to try and solve the following two counterexamples: - Vann McGee’s to modus ponens (1985); and - Lewis Carroll’s to modus tollens (...)
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  45. A New Future Similarity Objection.Thomas Kroedel - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1477-1493.
    The future similarity objection against David Lewis’s theory of counterfactuals re-emerges once the space-time of possible worlds is adequately represented. Given such a representation, it can be shown that a number of counterfactuals that seem clearly true, such as Kit Fine’s example ‘If Nixon had pressed the button, there would have been a nuclear holocaust’, come out false, even if determinism is assumed. Lewis’s similarity criteria can be modified in different ways to avoid the problem, but some of the modifications (...)
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  46. A Logic for the Natural Language Conditional.Monique Whitaker - 2018 - South African Journal of Philosophy 37 (3):261-283.
    Ordinary speakers intuitively assign truth-values to conditional utterances in everyday conversation, but, despite the general ease with which this occurs, it is notoriously difficult to give an account of the implicit logic that is followed in making these truth-value assignments. I propose a twofold logic of the conditional – a relatively simple “factual” logic for conditionals interpreted with regard to what is actually the case, largely following the logic of the material conditional; combined with a variably strict possible-worlds counterfactual logic (...)
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  47. Strengthening Principles and Counterfactual Semantics.David Boylan & Ginger Schultheis - 2017 - Proceedings of the 21st Amsterdam Colloquium.
  48. Presuppositional Anaphora Is The Sobel Truth.Daniel Dohrn - 2017 - In Salvatore Pistoia-Reda & Filippo Domaneschi (eds.), Linguistic and Psycholinguistic Approaches on Implicatures and Presuppositions. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 199-238.
    Sobel sequences have had a huge impact on the discussion of counterfactuals. They can be composed of conditionals and mere descriptions. What is especially puzzling about them is that they are often felicitously uttered when their reversal is not. Up to now, there is no unified explanation. I examine two strategies. We might begin with conditionals and proceed to descriptions. Or we might begin with descriptions and proceed to conditionals. I argue for the latter variant and outline a universal theory (...)
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  49. The Metaphysical Consequences of Counterfactual Skepticism.Nina Emery - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):399-432.
    A series of recent arguments purport to show that most counterfactuals of the form if A had happened then C would have happened are not true. These arguments pose a challenge to those of us who think that counterfactual discourse is a useful part of ordinary conversation, of philosophical reasoning, and of scientific inquiry. Either we find a way to revise the semantics for counterfactuals in order to avoid these arguments, or we find a way to ensure that the relevant (...)
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  50. Counterfactuals of Freedom and the Luck Objection to Libertarianism.Robert J. Hartman - 2017 - Journal of Philosophical Research 42 (1):301-312.
    Peter van Inwagen famously offers a version of the luck objection to libertarianism called the ‘Rollback Argument.’ It involves a thought experiment in which God repeatedly rolls time backward to provide an agent with many opportunities to act in the same circumstance. Because the agent has the kind of freedom that affords her alternative possibilities at the moment of choice, she performs different actions in some of these opportunities. The upshot is that whichever action she performs in the actual-sequence is (...)
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