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  1. added 2019-01-04
    Counterfactuals and Knowledge.Karen S. Lewis - 2017 - In Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Contextualism. pp. 411-424.
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  2. added 2018-07-05
    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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  3. added 2018-06-16
    Two Switches in the Theory of Counterfactuals.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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  4. added 2018-06-07
    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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  5. added 2018-02-17
    Ceteris Paribus Conditionals and Comparative Normalcy.Martin Smith - 2006 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 36 (1):97-121.
    Our understanding of subjunctive conditionals has been greatly enhanced through the use of possible world semantics and, more precisely, by the idea that they involve variably strict quantification over possible worlds. I propose to extend this treatment to ceteris paribus conditionals – that is, conditionals that incorporate a ceteris paribus or ‘other things being equal’ clause. Although such conditionals are commonly invoked in scientific theorising, they traditionally arouse suspicion and apprehensiveness amongst philosophers. By treating ceteris paribus conditionals as a species (...)
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  6. added 2018-02-16
    An Indexical Theory of Conditionals.Ken Warmbrod - 1981 - Dialogue 20 (4):644-664.
    Language theorists have recently come to have an increasing appreciation for the fact that context contributes heavily in determining our interpretation of what is said. Indeed, it now seems clear that no complete understanding of a natural language is possible without some account of the way in which context affects our interpretation of discourse. In this paper, I will attempt to explore one facet of the language – context relationship, namely, the relation between conditionals and context. The first part of (...)
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  7. added 2018-01-02
    Wierenga on Theism and Counterpossibles.Fabio Lampert - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-15.
    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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  8. added 2017-12-27
    Strengthening Principles and Counterfactual Semantics.David Boylan & Ginger Schultheis - 2017 - Proceedings of the 21st Amsterdam Colloquium.
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  9. added 2017-12-05
    The Temporal Asymmetry of Counterfactuals.Terrance A. Tomkow & Kadri Vihvelin - manuscript
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  10. added 2017-06-07
    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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  11. added 2017-06-04
    In Defense of Brogaard-Salerno Stricture.Matheus Silva - forthcoming - The Reasoner 11 (7).
    Brogaard and Salerno (2008) argued that counter-examples to contraposition, strengthening the antecedent, and hypothetical syllogism involving subjunctive conditionals only seem to work because they involve a contextual fallacy where the context assumed in the premise(s) is illicitly shifted in the conclusion. To avoid such counter-examples they have proposed that the context must remain fixed when evaluating an argument for validity. That is the Brogaard-Salerno Stricture. Tristan Haze (2016), however, has recently objected that intuitively valid argumentative forms such as conjunction introduction (...)
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  12. added 2016-12-08
    Possible World Semantics and True-True Counterfactuals.Lee Walters - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (3):322-346.
    The standard semantics for counterfactuals ensures that any counterfactual with a true antecedent and true consequent is itself true. There have been many recent attempts to amend the standard semantics to avoid this result. I show that these proposals invalidate a number of further principles of the standard logic of counterfactuals. The case against the automatic truth of counterfactuals with true components does not extend to these further principles, however, so it is not clear that rejecting the latter should be (...)
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  13. added 2016-11-23
    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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  14. added 2016-10-16
    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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  15. added 2016-09-27
    Dispositions and Modals: A Short History.Alex Anthony - manuscript
    http://alexanthony.org/dispositions%20and%20modality.pdf.
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  16. added 2016-08-02
    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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  17. added 2016-06-30
    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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  18. added 2016-05-13
    What If Bizet and Verdi Had Been Compatriots?Michael J. Shaffer - 2016 - Logos and Episteme 7 (1):55-73.
    Stalnaker argued that conditional excluded middle should be included in the principles that govern counterfactuals on the basis that intuitions support that principle. This is because there are pairs of competing counterfactuals that appear to be equally acceptable. In doing so, he was forced to introduced semantic vagueness into his system of counterfactuals. In this paper it is argued that there is a simpler and purely epistemic explanation of these cases that avoids the need for introducing semantic vagueness into the (...)
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  19. added 2016-05-05
    Contextualism About Deontic Conditionals.Aaron Bronfman & Janice Dowell, J. L. - manuscript
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  20. added 2016-03-12
    Suppose, Suppose.Adam Morton - 1993 - Analysis 53 (1):61 - 64.
    I give reasons stemming from the nature of narrative thinking why two-antecedent conditionals, most naturally expressed as "Suppose A. Suppose moreover B. Then C" the two antecedents play different roles. I formalise this idea with a two-dimensional similarity relation between possible worlds.
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  21. added 2016-03-06
    Against the Brogaard-Salerno Stricture.Tristan Haze - 2016 - The Reasoner 10 (4):29-30.
    'It is widely agreed that contraposition, strengthening the antecedent and hypothetical syllogism fail for subjunctive conditionals', write Brogaard and Salerno in (2008: Counterfactuals and context, Analysis 68.1, 39–46). In that article they argue that the putative counterexamples to these principles are actually no threat, on the grounds that they involve a certain kind of illicit contextual shift. -/- Here I argue that this particular kind of contextual shift, if it is properly so called, is not generally illicit, and that therefore (...)
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  22. added 2015-11-26
    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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  23. added 2015-10-23
    Ifs, Ands, and Buts: An Incremental Truthmaker Semantics for Indicative Conditionals.Stephen Yablo - 2016 - Analytic Philosophy 57 (1):175-213.
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  24. added 2015-06-30
    An Improved Probabilistic Account of Counterfactual Reasoning.Christopher G. Lucas & Charles Kemp - 2015 - Psychological Review 122 (4):700-734.
    When people want to identify the causes of an event, assign credit or blame, or learn from their mistakes, they often reflect on how things could have gone differently. In this kind of reasoning, one considers a counterfactual world in which some events are different from their real-world counterparts and considers what else would have changed. Researchers have recently proposed several probabilistic models that aim to capture how people do (or should) reason about counterfactuals. We present a new model and (...)
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  25. added 2014-12-09
    Counterfactual Analyses of Causation: The Problem of Effects and Epiphenomena Revisited.Stephen Barker - 2003 - Noûs 37 (1):133–150.
    I argue that Lewis's counterfactual theory of causation, given his treatment of counterfactuals in terms of world-comparative similarity faces insuperable problems in the form of the problem of effects and the problem of epiphenomena.
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  26. added 2014-07-21
    Counterfactuals Without Possible Worlds? A Difficulty for Fine’s Exact Semantics for Counterfactuals.Brian Embry - 2014 - Journal of Philosophy (5):276-287.
    In this paper I argue that there is a difficulty for Fine's exact semantics for counterfactuals. The difficulty undermines Fine's reasons for preferring exact semantics to possible worlds semantics.
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  27. added 2014-04-28
    Out of the Closet.A. Ahmed - 2011 - Analysis 71 (1):77-85.
    (No abstract is available for this citation).
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  28. added 2014-04-01
    Reply to Ahmed.Lee Walters - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (1pt1):123-133.
    I reply to Ahmed’s rejection (2011) of my argument (Walters 2009) that all counterfactuals with true antecedents and consequents are themselves true.
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  29. added 2014-04-01
    Morgenbesser's Coin and Counterfactuals with True Components.Lee Walters - 2009 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 109 (1pt3):365-379.
    Is A & C sufficient for the truth of ‘if A were the case, C would be the case’? Jonathan Bennett thinks not, although the counterexample he gives is inconsistent with his own account of counterfactuals. In any case, I argue that anyone who accepts the case of Morgenbesser's coin, as Bennett does, should reject Bennett’s counterexample. Moreover, I show that the principle underlying his counterexample is unmotivated and indeed false. More generally, I argue that Morgenbesser’s coin commits us to (...)
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  30. added 2014-03-24
    The Lost Pillar of Deontic Modality (Part of the Dissertation Portfolio Modality, Names and Descriptions).Zsófia Zvolenszky - 2007 - Dissertation, New York University
    This paper concerns a thorny problem posed by conditional requirements: we expect some modal conditionals of the form ‘if p, then it must be that p’ to be false, yet they all come out true given two basic assumptions needed to account for ordinary conditional requirement like ‘If the light turns red, then cars must stop’. The first assumption is a semantic expectation linking conditional requirements with absolute ones, the second is the possible-worlds-based definition of modal sentences. Keeping the former (...)
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  31. added 2014-03-09
    On Counterpossibles.Jens Christian Bjerring - 2013 - Philosophical Studies (2):1-27.
    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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  32. added 2014-03-05
    Walters on Conjunction Conditionalization.Arif Ahmed - 2011 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (1pt1):115-122.
    This discussion note examines a recent argument for the principle that any counterfactual with true components is itself true. That argument rests upon two widely accepted principles of counterfactual logic to which the paper presents counterexamples. The conclusion speculates briefly upon the wider lessons that philosophers should draw from these examples for the semantics of counterfactuals.
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  33. added 2014-02-10
    Chances, Counterfactuals, and Similarity.Robert Williams - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (2):385-420.
    John Hawthorne in a recent paper takes issue with Lewisian accounts of counterfactuals, when relevant laws of nature are chancy. I respond to his arguments on behalf of the Lewisian, and conclude that while some can be rebutted, the case against the original Lewisian account is strong.I develop a neo-Lewisian account of what makes for closeness of worlds. I argue that my revised version avoids Hawthorne’s challenges. I argue that this is closer to the spirit of Lewis’s first (non-chancy) proposal (...)
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  34. added 2014-01-22
    A Semantic Constraint on the Logic of Modal Conditionals.Zsófia Zvolenszky - 2006 - Proceedings of the Ninth Symposium on Logic and Language (LoLa 9).
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  35. added 2014-01-22
    Is a Possible-Worlds Semantics of Modality Possible? A Problem for Kratzer's Semantics.Zsófia Zvolenszky - 2002 - Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT):339-358.
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  36. added 2013-11-27
    On material and logical implication: clarifying some common little mistakes.Renato Mendes Rocha - 2013 - Intuitio 6 (2):239-252.
    The aim of this paper is to clarify the truth-functional interpretation of the logical connective of the material implication. The importance of such clarification lies in the fact that it allows avoiding the supposed paradoxes introduced by C. I. Lewis (1918). I argue that an adequate understanding of the history and purposes of logic is enough to dissolve them away. The defense is based on an exposition of propositional compositionalism. To compare, I also present Stalnaker’s (1968) alternative that seeks to (...)
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  37. added 2013-11-08
    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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  38. added 2013-07-28
    An Argument for Conjunction Conditionalization.Lee Walters & Robert Williams - 2013 - Review of Symbolic Logic 6 (4):573-588.
    Are counterfactuals with true antecedents and consequents automatically true? That is, is Conjunction Conditionalization: if (X & Y), then (X > Y) valid? Stalnaker and Lewis think so, but many others disagree. We note here that the extant arguments for Conjunction Conditionalization are unpersuasive, before presenting a family of more compelling arguments. These arguments rely on some standard theorems of the logic of counterfactuals as well as a plausible and popular semantic claim about certain semifactuals. Denying Conjunction Conditionalization, then, requires (...)
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  39. added 2013-03-24
    A Uniform Theory of Conditionals.William B. Starr - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (6):1019-1064.
    A uniform theory of conditionals is one which compositionally captures the behavior of both indicative and subjunctive conditionals without positing ambiguities. This paper raises new problems for the closest thing to a uniform analysis in the literature (Stalnaker, Philosophia, 5, 269–286 (1975)) and develops a new theory which solves them. I also show that this new analysis provides an improved treatment of three phenomena (the import-export equivalence, reverse Sobel-sequences and disjunctive antecedents). While these results concern central issues in the study (...)
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  40. added 2012-03-25
    Counterfactual Dependence and Arrow.Thomas Kroedel & Franz Huber - 2013 - Noûs 47 (3):453-466.
    We argue that a semantics for counterfactual conditionals in terms of comparative overall similarity faces a formal limitation due to Arrow’s impossibility theorem from social choice theory. According to Lewis’s account, the truth-conditions for counterfactual conditionals are given in terms of the comparative overall similarity between possible worlds, which is in turn determined by various aspects of similarity between possible worlds. We argue that a function from aspects of similarity to overall similarity should satisfy certain plausible constraints while Arrow’s impossibility (...)
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  41. added 2011-05-16
    Counterfactuals, Accessibility, and Comparative Similarity.Daniel Dohrn - manuscript
    Berit Brogaard and Joe Salerno (2008) have defended the validity of counterfactual hypothetical syllogism (CHS) within the Stalnaker-Lewis account. Whenever the premisses of an instance of CHS are non-vacuosly true, a shift in context has occurred. Hence the standard counterexamples to CHS suffer from context failure. Charles Cross (2011) rejects this argument as irreconcilable with the Stalnaker-Lewis account. I argue against Cross that the basic Stalnaker-Lewis truth condition may be supplemented in a way that makes (CHS) valid. Yet pace Brogaard (...)
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  42. added 2011-03-09
    It Simply Does Not Add Up: Trouble with Overall Similarity.Michael Morreau - 2010 - Journal of Philosophy 107 (9):469-490.
    Comparative overall similarity lies at the basis of a lot of recent metaphysics and epistemology. It is a poor foundation. Overall similarity is supposed to be an aggregate of similarities and differences in various respects. But there is no good way of combining them all.
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  43. added 2010-02-13
    Can Counterfactuals Really Be About Possible Worlds?Stephen Barker - 2011 - Noûs 45 (3):557-576.
    The standard view about counterfactuals is that a counterfactual (A > C) is true if and only if the A-worlds most similar to the actual world @ are C-worlds. I argue that the worlds conception of counterfactuals is wrong. I assume that counterfactuals have non-trivial truth-values under physical determinism. I show that the possible-worlds approach cannot explain many embeddings of the form (P > (Q > R)), which intuitively are perfectly assertable, and which must be true if the contingent falsity (...)
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