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  1. added 2020-08-11
    Metaphysical Explanations and the Counterfactual Theory of Explanation.Stefan Roski - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    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 (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 on (...)
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  2. added 2020-08-03
    Causal Models and the Logic of Counterfactuals.Jonathan Vandenburgh - manuscript
    Causal models provide a framework for making counterfactual predictions, making them useful for evaluating the truth conditions of counterfactual sentences. However, current causal models for counterfactual semantics face logical limitations compared to the alternative similarity-based approaches: they only apply to a limited subset of counterfactuals and the connection to counterfactual logic is not straightforward. This paper offers a causal framework for the semantics of counterfactuals which improves upon these logical issues. It extends the causal approach to counterfactuals to handle more (...)
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  3. added 2020-07-30
    Heim Sequences and Why Most Unqualified ‘Would’-Counterfactuals Are Not True.Yael Loewenstein - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-14.
    The apparent consistency of Sobel sequences (example below) famously motivated David Lewis to defend a variably strict conditional semantics for counterfactuals. (a) If Sophie had gone to the parade she would have seen Pedro. (b) If Sophie had gone to the parade and 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 (b) is asserted prior to (a) – the second (...)
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  4. added 2020-07-28
    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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  5. added 2020-06-10
    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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  6. added 2020-04-05
    Introduzione alle Logiche Modali.Marcello Frixione, Samuele Iaquinto & Massimiliano Vignolo - 2016 - Roma-Bari: Laterza.
    La logica modale è nata per studiare i ragionamenti su ciò che è possibile e ciò che è necessario. Negli ultimi decenni, a partire dal lavoro di logici e filosofi quali Rudolf Carnap, Saul Kripke e David Lewis, la sua applicazione è stata progressivamente estesa ad altri ambiti, quali il ragionamento sul tempo, sulla conoscenza e sui sistemi di norme. Queste ricerche hanno condotto a un complesso e intrigante dialogo con alcune fondamentali branche della filosofia: la metafisica, l’epistemologia, la filosofia (...)
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  7. added 2020-03-24
    The Inheritance-Based Claim to Reparations.Stephen Kershnar - 2002 - Legal Theory 8 (2):243-267.
    Slavery harmed the slaves but not their descendants since slavery brought about their existence. The descendants gain the slaves’ claims via inheritance. However, collecting the inheritance-based claim runs into a number of difficulties. First, every descendant usually has no more than a portion of the slave’s claim because the claim is often divided over generations. Second, there are epistemic difficulties involving the ownership of the claim since it is unlikely that a descendant of a slave several generations removed would have (...)
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  8. added 2020-02-28
    Presupposing Counterfactuality.Julia Zakkou - forthcoming - Semantics and Pragmatics.
    There is long standing agreement both among philosophers and linguists that the term ‘counterfactual conditional’ is misleading if not a misnomer. Speakers of both non-past subjunctive (or ‘would’) conditionals and past subjunctive (or ‘would have’) conditionals need not convey counterfactuality. The relationship between the conditionals in question and the counterfactuality of their antecedents is thus not one of presupposing. It is one of conversationally implicating. This paper provides a thorough examination of the arguments against the presupposition view as applied to (...)
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  9. added 2020-02-10
    Counterfactuals, Counteractuals, and Free Choice.Fabio Lampert & Pedro Merlussi - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-25.
    In a recent paper, Pruss (2013) 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 coun- terfactuals and prove the validity of a new transfer rule according to which a new version of the consequence (...)
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  10. added 2020-01-30
    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 Adam pairs, which suggest that indicative and subjunctive conditionals have different truth conditions; and (3) the belief that it is an (...)
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  11. added 2019-10-16
    How Strong is a Counterfactual?David Boylan & Ginger Schultheis - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    There are two leading theories about the meaning of counterfactuals, the Variably Strict Analysis (VSA) and the Strict Analysis (SA). Perhaps most famously, VSA and SA disagree about a principle known as Antecedent Strengtheing: SA validates the principle; VSA does not. Early VSA theorists believed that certain apparent counterexamples to Antecedent Strengthening— now known as Sobel Sequences—refuted SA. More recently, defenders of SA have enriched SA with certain dynamic principles governing how context evolves and argued that Sobel sequences are not (...)
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  12. added 2019-09-12
    Counterfactuals of Ontological Dependence.Sam Baron - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
    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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  13. added 2019-09-04
    Counterfactual Donkeys Don't Get High.Michael Deigan - 2018 - Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 22 1:367--384.
    I present data that suggest the universal entailments of counterfactual donkey sentences aren’t as universal as some have claimed. I argue that this favors the strategy of attributing these entailments to a special property of the similarity ordering on worlds provided by some contexts, rather than to a semantically encoded sensitivity to assignment.
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  14. added 2019-08-09
    Ceteris Paribus Conditionals and Comparative Normalcy.Martin Smith - 2007 - 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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  15. added 2019-07-22
    If P, Then P!Matthew Mandelkern - manuscript
    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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  16. added 2019-07-02
    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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  17. added 2019-03-22
    How to Reject a Counterfactual.Vittorio Morato - 2017 - Logique Et Analyse 239:317-335.
    Aaccording to D. K. lewis (1973), would-couterfactuals and might-counterfactuals are duals. from this, it follows that the negation of a would-counterfactual is equiv- alent to the corresponding “might-not”-counterfactual and that the negation of a might-counterfactual is equivalent to the corresponding “would-not”- counterfactual. there are cases, however, where we seem to be entitled to accept the would- counterfactual and we are also equally entitled to accept the corresponding might-not-counterfactual and cases where we seem to be entitled to accept the might-counterfactual without (...)
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  18. added 2019-03-12
    Strict Conditional Accounts of Counterfactuals.Cory Nichols - 2017 - Linguistics and Philosophy 40 (6):621-645.
    von Fintel and Gillies : 329–360, 2007) have proposed a dynamic strict conditional account of counterfactuals as an alternative to the standard variably strict account due to Stalnaker and Lewis. Von Fintel’s view is motivated largely by so-called reverse Sobel sequences, about which the standard view seems to make the wrong predictions. More recently Moss :561–586, 2012) has offered a pragmatic/epistemic explanation that purports to explain the data without requiring abandonment of the standard view. So far the small amount of (...)
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  19. added 2019-02-24
    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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  20. 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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  21. 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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  22. added 2018-06-16
    Two Switches in the Theory of Counterfactuals: A Study of Truth Conditionality and Minimal Change.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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  23. 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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  24. added 2018-02-16
    An Indexical Theory of Conditionals.Ken Warmbrōd - 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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  25. added 2018-01-02
    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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  26. added 2017-12-27
    Strengthening Principles and Counterfactual Semantics.David Boylan & Ginger Schultheis - 2017 - Proceedings of the 21st Amsterdam Colloquium.
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  27. added 2017-12-05
    The Temporal Asymmetry of Counterfactuals.Terrance A. Tomkow & Kadri Vihvelin - manuscript
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  28. 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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  29. 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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  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. added 2016-09-27
    Dispositions and Modals: A Short History.Alex Anthony - manuscript
    http://alexanthony.org/dispositions%20and%20modality.pdf.
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  33. 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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  34. 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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  35. 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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  36. added 2016-05-05
    Contextualism About Deontic Conditionals.Aaron Bronfman & Janice Dowell, J. L. - manuscript
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  37. 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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  38. 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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  39. 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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  40. 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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  41. 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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  42. 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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  43. 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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  44. 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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  45. 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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  46. 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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  47. 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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  48. 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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  49. 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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  50. 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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