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  1. 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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  2. Theism and Secular Modality.Noah Gordon - 2023 - Dissertation, University of Southern California
    I examine issues in the philosophy of religion at the intersection of what possibilities there are and what a God, as classically conceived in the theistic philosophical tradition, would be able to do. The discussion is centered around arguing for an incompatibility between theism and two principles about possibility and ability, and exploring what theists should say about these incompatibilities. -/- I argue that theism entails that certain kinds and amounts of evil are impossible. This puts theism in conflict with (...)
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  3. 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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  4. Are Counterpossibles Epistemic?Daniel Dohrn - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 102 (1):51-72.
    It has been suggested that intuitions supporting the nonvacuity of counterpossibles can be explained by distinguishing an epistemic and a metaphysical reading of counterfactuals. Such an explanation must answer why we tend to neglect the distinction of the two readings. By way of an answer, I offer a generalized pattern for explaining nonvacuity intuitions by a stand-and-fall relationship to certain indicative conditionals. Then, I present reasons for doubting the proposal: nonvacuists can use the epistemic reading to turn the table against (...)
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  5. Strictness and connexivity.Andrea Iacona - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (10):1024-1037.
    .This paper discusses Aristotle’s thesis and Boethius’ thesis, the most distinctive theorems of connexive logic. Its aim is to show that, although there is something plausible in Aristotle’s thesis and Boethius’ thesis, the intuitions that may be invoked to motivate them are consistent with any account of indicative conditionals that validates a suitably restricted version of them. In particular, these intuitions are consistent with the view that indicative conditionals are adequately formalized as strict conditionals.
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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. What if God commanded something horrible? A pragmatics-based defence of divine command metaethics.Philipp Kremers - 2021 - Religious Studies 57 (4):597–617.
    The objection of horrible commands claims that divine command metaethics is doomed to failure because it is committed to the extremely counterintuitive assumption that torture of innocents, rape, and murder would be morally obligatory if God commanded these acts. Morriston, Wielenberg, and Sinnott-Armstrong have argued that formulating this objection in terms of counterpossibles is particularly forceful because it cannot be simply evaded by insisting on God’s necessary perfect moral goodness. I show that divine command metaethics can be defended even against (...)
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  10. Counterpossibles in Scientific Practice - Three Case Studies in support of Worldly Hyperintensionality.Giorgio Lenta - 2021 - Dissertation, University of Turin
    Hyperintensionality – the failure of substitutivity salva veritate of intensionally equivalent expressions – is one of the most debated topics in recent philosophy of language. Being a phenomenon that affects a wide variety of different sentential contexts, a question concerning its source arises: is hyperintensionality something that can originate from actual features of the world, or it is simply some kind of representational phenomenon, which entirely depends on our conceptual faculties and preferred semantics? After a brief general introduction to the (...)
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  11. On the Substitution of Identicals in Counterfactual Reasoning.Alexander W. Kocurek - 2020 - Noûs 54 (3):600-631.
    It is widely held that counterfactuals, unlike attitude ascriptions, preserve the referential transparency of their constituents, i.e., that counterfactuals validate the substitution of identicals when their constituents do. The only putative counterexamples in the literature come from counterpossibles, i.e., counterfactuals with impossible antecedents. Advocates of counterpossibilism, i.e., the view that counterpossibles are not all vacuous, argue that counterpossibles can generate referential opacity. But in order to explain why most substitution inferences into counterfactuals seem valid, counterpossibilists also often maintain that counterfactuals (...)
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  12. Two Kinds of Logical Impossibility.Alexander Sandgren & Koji Tanaka - 2020 - Noûs 54 (4):795-806.
    In this paper, we argue that a distinction ought to be drawn between two ways in which a given world might be logically impossible. First, a world w might be impossible because the laws that hold at w are different from those that hold at some other world (say the actual world). Second, a world w might be impossible because the laws of logic that hold in some world (say the actual world) are violated at w. We develop a novel (...)
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  13. 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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  14. Hyperlogic: A System for Talking about Logics.Alexander W. Kocurek - 2019 - Proceedings for the 22nd Amsterdam Colloquium.
    Sentences about logic are often used to show that certain embedding expressions, including attitude verbs, conditionals, and epistemic modals, are hyperintensional. Yet it not clear how to regiment “logic talk” in the object language so that it can be compositionally embedded under such expressions. This paper does two things. First, it argues against a standard account of logic talk, viz., the impossible worlds semantics. It is shown that this semantics does not easily extend to a language with propositional quantifiers, which (...)
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  15. 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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  16. Fictionalism, the Safety Result and counterpossibles.Lukas Skiba - 2019 - Analysis 79 (4):647-658.
    Fictionalists maintain that possible worlds, numbers or composite objects exist only according to theories which are useful but false. Hale, Divers and Woodward have provided arguments which threaten to show that fictionalists must be prepared to regard the theories in question as contingently, rather than necessarily, false. If warranted, this conclusion would significantly limit the appeal of the fictionalist strategy rendering it unavailable to anyone antecedently convinced that mathematics and metaphysics concern non-contingent matters. I try to show that their arguments (...)
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  17. Williamson on Counterpossibles.Berto Francesco, David Ripley, Graham Priest & Rohan French - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (4):693-713.
    A counterpossible conditional is a counterfactual with an impossible antecedent. Common sense delivers the view that some such conditionals are true, and some are false. In recent publications, Timothy Williamson has defended the view that all are true. In this paper we defend the common sense view against Williamson’s objections.
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  18. Counterpossibles in Science: The Case of Relative Computability.Matthias Jenny - 2018 - Noûs 52 (3):530-560.
    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 (...)
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  19. Causal Counterfactuals and Impossible Worlds.Daniel Nolan - 2017 - In Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock & Huw Price (eds.), Making a Difference. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 14-32.
    A standing challenge in the theory of counterfactuals is to solve the “deviation problem”. Consider ordinary counterfactuals involving an antecedent concerning a difference from the actual course of events at a particular time, and a consequent concerning, at least in part, what happens at a later time. In the possible worlds framework, the problem is often put in terms of which are the relevant antecedent worlds. Desiderata for the solution include that the relevant antecedent worlds be governed by the actual (...)
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  20. Omission impossible.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2575-2589.
    This paper gives a framework for understanding causal counterpossibles, counterfactuals imbued with causal content whose antecedents appeal to metaphysically impossible worlds. Such statements are generated by omissive causal claims that appeal to metaphysically impossible events, such as “If the mathematician had not failed to prove that 2+2=5, the math textbooks would not have remained intact.” After providing an account of impossible omissions, the paper argues for three claims: (i) impossible omissions play a causal role in the actual world, (ii) causal (...)
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  21. Counterpossibles and the nature of impossible worlds.Mattias Skipper Rasmussen - 2016 - SATS 17 (2):145-158.
    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 (...)
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  22. Counterpossibles (not only) for dispositionalists.Barbara Vetter - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2681-2700.
    Dispositionalists try to provide an account of modality—possibility, necessity, and the counterfactual conditional—in terms of dispositions. But there may be a tension between dispositionalist accounts of possibility on the one hand, and of counterfactuals on the other. Dispositionalists about possibility must hold that there are no impossible dispositions, i.e., dispositions with metaphysically impossible stimulus and/or manifestation conditions; dispositionalist accounts of counterfactuals, if they allow for non-vacuous counterpossibles, require that there are such impossible dispositions. I argue, first, that there are in (...)
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  23. Counterfactuals as Strict Conditionals.Andrea Iacona - 2015 - Disputatio 7 (41):165-191.
    This paper defends the thesis that counterfactuals are strict conditionals. Its purpose is to show that there is a coherent view according to which counterfactuals are strict conditionals whose antecedent is stated elliptically. Section 1 introduces the view. Section 2 outlines a response to the main argument against the thesis that counterfactuals are strict conditionals. Section 3 compares the view with a proposal due to Aqvist, which may be regarded as its direct predecessor. Sections 4 and 5 explain how the (...)
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  24. On counterpossibles.Jens Christian Bjerring - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 168 (2):327-353.
    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 (...)
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  25. Counterpossibles and Similarity.David Vander Laan - 2004 - In Frank Jackson & Graham Priest (eds.), Lewisian Themes: The Philosophy of David K. Lewis. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. pp. 258-275.
    Several themes of David Lewis's theory of counterfactuals, especially their sensitivity to context, pave the way for a viable theory of non-trivial counterpossibles. If Lewis was successful in defending his account against the early objections, a semantics of counterpossibles can be defended from similar objections in the same way. The resulting theory will be extended to address 'might' counterfactuals and questions about the relative "nearness" of impossible worlds.
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