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  1. Dispositions and modals: a short history.Alex Anthony - manuscript
  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. Humean Laws: Stability, Undermining, and Context.Antony Eagle - manuscript
    I respond to some challenges to Humean laws deriving from the claimed non-resilience of such laws under counterfactual assumptions.
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  7. Causal Modeling Semantics for Counterfactuals with Disjunctive Antecedents.Giuliano Rosella & Jan Sprenger - manuscript
    This paper applies Causal Modeling Semantics (CMS, e.g., Galles and Pearl 1998; Pearl 2000; Halpern 2000) to the evaluation of the probability of counterfactuals with disjunctive antecedents. Standard CMS is limited to evaluating (the probability of) counterfactuals whose antecedent is a conjunction of atomic formulas. We extend this framework to disjunctive antecedents, and more generally, to any Boolean combinations of atomic formulas. Our main idea is to assign a probability to a counterfactual ( A ∨ B ) > C at (...)
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  8. 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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  9. The Inextricable Link Between Conditionals and Logical Consequence.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    There is a profound, but frequently ignored relationship between the classical notion of logical consequence (formal implication) and material implication. The first repeats the patterns of the latter, but with a wider modal reach. It is argued that this kinship between formal and material implication simply means that they express the same variety of implication, but differ in scope. Formal implication is unrestricted material implication. This apparently innocuous observation has some significant corollaries: (1) conditionals are not connectives, but arguments; (2) (...)
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  10. 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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  11. The Temporal Asymmetry of Counterfactuals.Terrance A. Tomkow & Kadri Vihvelin - manuscript
  12. Causal Models and the Logic of Counterfactuals.Jonathan Vandenburgh - manuscript
    Causal models show promise as a foundation for the semantics of counterfactual sentences. However, current approaches face limitations compared to the alternative similarity theory: they only apply to a limited subset of counterfactuals and the connection to counterfactual logic is not straightforward. This paper addresses these difficulties using exogenous interventions, where causal interventions change the values of exogenous variables rather than structural equations. This model accommodates judgments about backtracking counterfactuals, extends to logically complex counterfactuals, and validates familiar principles of counterfactual (...)
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  13. Actual Value in Decision Theory.Andrew Bacon - forthcoming - Analysis.
    Decision theory is founded on the principle that we ought to take the action that has the maximum expected value from among actions we are in a position to take. But prior to the notion of expected value is the notion of the actual value of that action: roughly, a measure of the good outcomes you would in fact procure if you were to take it. Surprisingly many decision theories operate without an analysis of actual value. I offer a definition (...)
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  14. 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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  15. Counterfactual Skepticism Is (Just) Skepticism.David Boylan - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Counterfactual skepticism says that most ordinary counterfactuals are false. While few endorse counterfactual skepticism, the precise costs of the view are disputed and not generally well-understood. I have two aims in this paper. My first and primary aim is to establish, on grounds acceptable to all parties, that counterfactual skepticism is not benign. I argue it leads to significant skepticism about the future: if counterfactual skepticism is true, then we can have only very limited knowledge about the future. I give (...)
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  16. Sufficient Conditions for Counterfactual Transitivity and Antecedent Strengthening.Tristan Grøtvedt Haze - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly.
    This paper is about two controversial inference-patterns involving counterfactual or subjunctive conditionals. Given a plausible assumption about the truth-conditions of counterfactuals, it is shown that one can’t go wrong in applying hypothetical syllogism (i.e. transitivity) so long as the set of worlds relevant for the conclusion is a subset of the sets of worlds relevant for the premises. It is also shown that one can't go wrong in applying antecedent strengthening so long as the set of worlds relevant for the (...)
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  17. Synesthe Volume.Vincent Hendricks (ed.) - forthcoming
  18. The Logic of Hyperlogic. Part B: Extensions and Restrictions.Alexander W. Kocurek - forthcoming - Review of Symbolic Logic:1-28.
    This is the second part of a two-part series on the logic of hyperlogic, a formal system for regimenting metalogical claims in the object language (even within embedded environments). Part A provided a minimal logic for hyperlogic that is sound and complete over the class of all models. In this part, we extend these completeness results to stronger logics that are sound and complete over restricted classes of models. We also investigate the logic of hyperlogic when the language is enriched (...)
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  19. 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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  20. Revisiting McKay and Johnson's counterexample to beta.Pedro Merlussi - forthcoming - Philosophical Explorations:1-15.
    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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  21. Counterfactuals, hyperintensionality and Hurford disjunctions.Hüseyin Güngör - 2023 - Linguistics and Philosophy 46 (1):169-195.
    This paper investigates propositional hyperintensionality in counterfactuals. It starts with a scenario describing two children playing on a seesaw and studies the truth-value predictions for counterfactuals by four different semantic theories. The theories in question are Kit Fine’s truthmaker semantics, Luis Alonso-Ovalle’s alternative semantics, inquisitive semantics and Paolo Santorio’s syntactic truthmaker semantics. These predictions suggest that the theories that distinguish more of a given set of intensionally equivalent sentences (Fine and Alonso-Ovalle’s) fare better than those that do not (inquisitive semantics (...)
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  22. Counterfactuals of Ontological Dependence.Sam Baron - 2022 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 8 (2):278-299.
    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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  23. Counterfactual Contamination.Simon Goldstein & John Hawthorne - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (2):262-278.
    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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  24. Tossing Morgenbesser’s Coin.Zachary Goodsell - 2022 - Analysis 82 (2):214-221.
    Morgenbesser's Coin is a thought experiment that exemplifies a widespread disposition to infer counterfactual independence from causal independence. I argue that this disposition is mistaken by analysing a closely related thought experiment.
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  25. Strict conditionals.Jan Heylen & Leon Horsten - 2022 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 22 (64):123-131.
    Both Lowe and Tsai have presented their own versions of the theory that both indicative and subjunctive conditionals are strict conditionals. We critically discuss both versions and we find each version wanting.
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  26. Counterparts and Counterpossibles: Impossibility without Impossible Worlds.Michael Townsen Hicks - 2022 - Journal of Philosophy 119 (10):542-574.
    Standard accounts of counterfactuals with metaphysically impossible antecedents take them to by trivially true. But recent work shows that nontrivial countermetaphysicals are frequently appealed to in scientific modeling and are indispensable for a number of metaphysical projects. I focus on three recent discussions of counterpossible counterfactuals, which apply counterpossibles in both scientific and metaphysical modeling. I show that a sufficiently developed modal counterpart theory can provide a semantics for a wide range of counterpossibles without any inconsistent possibilities or other forms (...)
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  27. Special-science counterfactuals.Christian List - 2022 - The Monist 105 (2):194–213.
    On the standard analysis, a counterfactual conditional such as “If P had been the case, then Q would have been the case” is true in the actual world if, in all nearest possible worlds in which its antecedent (P) is true, its consequent (Q) is also true. Despite its elegance, this analysis faces a difficulty if the laws of nature are deterministic. Then the antecedent could not have been true, given prior conditions. So, it is unclear what the relevant “nearest (...)
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  28. Aboutness and Modality.Dean McHugh - 2022 - Proceedings of the 23Rd Amsterdam Colloquium.
    In this paper I would like to offer a new framework for hypothetical reasoning, with the goal of predicting what scenarios we consider when we interpret a conditional or causal claim (such as a sentence containing the word ‘because‘). The idea is that when we interpret a conditional or causal claim, we identify a part of the world to change and imagine changing that. Sentences are about parts of the world: when we interpret a conditional antecedent or because clause, we (...)
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  29. Counterfactuals, indeterminacy, and value: a puzzle.Eli Pitcovski & Andrew Peet - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-20.
    According to the Counterfactual Comparative Account of harm and benefit, an event is overall harmful for a subject to the extent that this subject would have been better off if it had not occurred. In this paper we present a challenge for the Counterfactual Comparative Account. 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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  30. Context-indexed Counterfactuals.Mariusz Popieluch - 2022 - Studia Semiotyczne 35 (2):89-123.
    It is commonly believed that the role of context cannot be ignored in the analysis of conditionals, and counterfactuals in particular. On truth conditional accounts involving possible worlds semantics, conditionals have been analysed as expressions of relative necessity: “If A, then B” is true at some world w if B is true at all the A-worlds deemed relevant to the evaluation of the conditional at w. A drawback of this approach is that for the evaluation of conditionals with the same (...)
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  31. 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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  32. 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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  33. Counterfactuals and modality.Gabriel Greenberg - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 44 (6):1255-1280.
    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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  34. 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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  35. Does Chance Undermine Would?Alexander W. Kocurek - 2021 - Mind 131 (523):747-785.
    Counterfactual scepticism 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, namely, 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 (...)
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  36. 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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  37. Counterpossibles.Alexander W. Kocurek - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (11):e12787.
    A counterpossible is a counterfactual with an impossible antecedent. Counterpossibles present a puzzle for standard theories of counterfactuals, which predict that all counterpossibles are semantically vacuous. Moreover, counterpossibles play an important role in many debates within metaphysics and epistemology, including debates over grounding, causation, modality, mathematics, science, and even God. In this article, we will explore various positions on counterpossibles as well as their potential philosophical consequences.
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  38. 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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  39. 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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  40. 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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  41. 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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  42. Interventionist counterfactuals and the nearness of worlds.Reuben Stern - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):10721-10737.
    A number of authors have recently used causal models to develop a promising semantics for non-backtracking counterfactuals. Briggs shows that when this semantics is naturally extended to accommodate right-nested counterfactuals, it invalidates modus ponens, and therefore violates weak centering given the standard Lewis/stalnaker interpretation of the counterfactual in terms of nearness or similarity of worlds. In this paper, I explore the possibility of abandoning the Lewis/stalnaker interpretation for some alternative that is better suited to accommodate the causal modeling semantics. I (...)
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  43. The Evidential Conditional.Vincenzo Crupi & Andrea Iacona - 2020 - Erkenntnis 87 (6):2897-2921.
    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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  44. 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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  45. Counterfactuals and Probability. [REVIEW]Justin Khoo - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (3):489-495.
  46. 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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  47. 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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  48. 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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  49. 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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  50. 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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