Defending a possible-worlds account of indicative conditionals

Philosophical Studies 116 (3):215-269 (2003)
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Abstract

One very popular kind of semantics for subjunctive conditionals is aclosest-worlds account along the lines of theories given by David Lewisand Robert Stalnaker. If we could give the same sort of semantics forindicative conditionals, we would have a more unified account of themeaning of ``if ... then ...'' statements, one with manyadvantages for explaining the behaviour of conditional sentences. Such atreatment of indicative conditionals, however, has faced a battery ofobjections. This paper outlines a closest-worlds account of indicativeconditionals that does better than some of its cousins in explaining thebehaviour of such conditionals. The paper then discusses objectionsoffered by Dorothy Edgington and Frank Jackson to closest-worldsaccounts of indicative conditionals, and shows that these objections canbe met by the account outlined.

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Daniel Nolan
University of Notre Dame

Citations of this work

Hyperintensionality.Francesco Berto & Daniel Nolan - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
A Uniform Theory of Conditionals.William B. Starr - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (6):1019-1064.
Impossible Worlds.Daniel P. Nolan - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (4):360-372.
Stalnaker’s thesis in context.Andrew Bacon - 2015 - Review of Symbolic Logic 8 (1):131-163.

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References found in this work

Philosophical papers.David Kellogg Lewis - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Elusive knowledge.David K. Lewis - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (4):549 – 567.
Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.
Logic and Conversation.H. P. Grice - 1975 - In Donald Davidson & Gilbert Harman (eds.), The Logic of Grammar. Encino, CA: pp. 64-75.

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