Noûs 56 (3):570-601 (2022)

Authors
David Boylan
Texas Tech University
Abstract
This paper is about the principle that success entails ability, which I call Success. I argue the status of Success is highly puzzling: when we focus on past instances of actually successful action, Success is very compelling; but it is in tension with the idea that true ability claims require an action be in the agent's control. I make the above tension precise by considering the logic of ability. I argue Success is appealing because it is classically equivalent to two genuinely valid inferences, which I call Past Success and Can't-Entails-Won't; but also that Success itself has counterexamples. I show how to invalidate Success while validating Past Success and Can't-Entails-Won't by connecting the meaning of ‘can’ to facts about what is settled or open. I define an operator W with features attributed to ‘will’ in the literature on future contingents. I then give a conditional analysis of ability ascriptions stated with W-conditionals, where "S can A" says, roughly, there’s some action available to S such that if S does it, then W(S A). I show this semantics invalidates Success while still explaining its appeal.
Keywords ability  ability modals  logic of ability  open future  indeterminacy
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/nous.12370
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Knowledge and Its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2):452-458.
Knowledge and its Limits.Timothy Williamson - 2000 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 64 (1):200-201.
Inquisitive Semantics.Ivano Ciardelli, Jeroen Groenendijk & Floris Roelofsen - 2018 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Past, Present and Future.Arthur N. Prior - 1967 - Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.

View all 48 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Agentive Free Choice.Melissa Fusco - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-31.
Agential Free Choice.Melissa Fusco - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 50 (1):57-87.
Ability’s Two Dimensions of Robustness.Sophie Kikkert - forthcoming - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society.
Agentive Duality reconsidered.Annina Loets & Julia Zakkou - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-19.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Ability and the Past.Bokai Yao - 2019 - American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (4):397-406.
Platonic Know‐How and Successful Action.Tamer Nawar - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy 25 (4):944-962.
Virtue Epistemology and Environmental Luck.Masashi Kasaki - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Research 39:285-299.
Exercising Abilities.J. Adam Carter - 2021 - Synthese 198 (3):2495-2509.
I Believe I Can Φ.Matthew Mandelkern, Ginger Schultheis & David Boylan - 2015 - In Thomas Brochhagen, Floris Roelofsen & Nadine Theiler (eds.), Proceedings of the 20th Amsterdam Colloquium. pp. 256-265.
Two Puzzles About Ability Can.Malte Willer - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 44 (3):551-586.
Exercising Abilities.J. Adam Carter - 2019 - Synthese (3):1-15.
Agents’ Abilities.Romy Jaster - 2020 - Berlin, New York: De Gruyter.
Knowledge and Success From Ability.John Greco - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (1):17 - 26.
Unreflective Epistemology.Christoph9 Kelp - 2014 - Episteme 11 (4):411-422.
Purifying Impure Virtue Epistemology.Fernando Broncano-Berrocal - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (2):385-410.
Ordinary Ability and Free Action.Paul Benson - 1987 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 17 (June):307-335.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2021-04-14

Total views
430 ( #23,436 of 2,533,593 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
139 ( #4,233 of 2,533,593 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes