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  1. Near Closeness and Conditionals.Daniel Berntson - manuscript
    This paper presents a new system of conditional logic B2, which is strictly intermediate in strength between the existing systems B1 and B3 from John Burgess (1981) and David Lewis (1973a). After presenting and motivating the new system, we will show that it is characterized by a natural class of frames. These frames correspond to the idea that conditionals are about which worlds are nearly closest, rather than which worlds are closest. Along the way, we will also give new characterization (...)
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  2. The Paradox of Counterfactual Tolerance.Daniel Berntson - manuscript
    Counterfactuals are somewhat tolerant. Had Socrates been at least six feet tall, he need not have been exactly six feet tall. He might have been a little taller—he might have been six one or six two. But while he might have been a little taller, there are limits to how tall he would have been. Had he been at least six feet tall, he would not have been more than a hundred feet tall, for example. Counterfactuals are not just tolerant, (...)
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  3. On Counterfactual Reasoning.Carl Erik Kühl - manuscript
    Counterfactual reasoning has always played a role in human life. We ask questions like, “Could it have been different?”, “Under which conditions might/would it have been different?”, “What would have happened if…?” If we don’t find an answer, i.e. what we accept as an answer, we may start reasoning. Reasoning means introducing still new information/assumptions, new questions, new answers to new questions etc. From a formal point of view, it may be compared with stepwise moving towards a destination in a (...)
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  4. 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 Adams pair, which suggest that indicative and subjunctive conditionals have different truth conditions; and (3) the belief that it is an (...)
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  5. Causal Counterfactuals Without Miracles or Backtracking.J. Dmitri Gallow - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    If the laws are deterministic, then standard theories of counterfactuals are forced to reject at least one of the following conditionals: 1) had you chosen differently, there would not have been a violation of the laws of nature; and 2) had you chosen differently, the initial conditions of the universe would not have been different. On the relevant readings---where we hold fixed factors causally independent of your choice---both of these conditionals appear true. And rejecting either one leads to trouble for (...)
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  6. Sufficient Conditions for Counterfactual Transitivity and Antecedent Strengthening.Tristan Grøtvedt Haze - forthcoming - American Philosophical Quarterly.
    This paper is about two controversial inference-patterns involving counterfactual or subjunctive conditionals. Given a plausible assumption about the truth-conditions of counterfactuals, it is shown that one can’t go wrong in applying hypothetical syllogism (i.e. transitivity) so long as the set of worlds relevant for the conclusion is a subset of the sets of worlds relevant for the premises. It is also shown that one can't go wrong in applying antecedent strengthening so long as the set of worlds relevant for the (...)
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  7. Does Chance Undermine Would?Alexander W. Kocurek - 2022 - Mind 131 (523):747-785.
    Counterfactual scepticism holds that most ordinary counterfactuals are false. The main argument for this view appeals to a ‘chance undermines would’ principle: if ψ would have some chance of not obtaining had ϕ obtained, then ϕ □→ ψ is false. This principle seems to follow from two fairly weak principles, namely, that ‘chance ensures could’ and that ϕ □→ ψ and ϕ ⋄→ ¬ ψ clash. Despite their initial plausibility, I show that these principles are independently problematic: given some modest (...)
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  8. Context-Indexed Counterfactuals.Mariusz Popieluch - 2022 - Studia Semiotyczne 35 (2):89-123.
    It is commonly believed that the role of context cannot be ignored in the analysis of conditionals, and counterfactuals in particular. On truth conditional accounts involving possible worlds semantics, conditionals have been analysed as expressions of relative necessity: “If A, then B” is true at some world w if B is true at all the A-worlds deemed relevant to the evaluation of the conditional at w. A drawback of this approach is that for the evaluation of conditionals with the same (...)
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  9. General Triviality for Counterfactuals.Paolo Santorio - 2022 - Analysis 82 (2):277-289.
    On an influential line of thinking tracing back to Ramsey, conditionals are closely linked to the attitude of supposition. When applied to counterfactuals, this view suggests a subjunctive version of the so-called Ramsey test: the probability of a counterfactual If A, would B ought to be equivalent to the probability of B, under the subjunctive supposition that A. I present a collapse result for any view that endorses the subjunctive version of the Ramsey test. Starting from plausible assumptions, the result (...)
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  10. How Strong Is a Counterfactual?David Boylan & Ginger Schultheis - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (7):373-404.
    The literature on counterfactuals is dominated by strict accounts and variably strict accounts. Counterexamples to the principle of Antecedent Strengthening were thought to be fatal to SA; but it has been shown that by adding dynamic resources to the view, such examples can be accounted for. We broaden the debate between VSA and SA by focusing on a new strengthening principle, Strengthening with a Possibility. We show dynamic SA classically validates this principle. We give a counterexample to it and show (...)
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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. Heim Sequences and Why Most Unqualified ‘Would’-Counterfactuals Are Not True.Yael Loewenstein - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (3):597-610.
    ABSTRACT The apparent consistency of Sobel sequences famously motivated David Lewis to defend a variably strict conditional semantics for counterfactuals. If Sophie had gone to the parade, she would have seen Pedro. If Sophie had gone to the parade and had 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 is asserted prior to —the second counterfactual asserted no longer rings true. This (...)
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  15. Should We Be Skeptics or Contextualists About Counterfactual Conditionals?Yael Loewenstein - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (10).
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  16. The Open Future: Why Future Contingents Are All False.Patrick Todd - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This book launches a sustained defense of a radical interpretation of the doctrine of the open future. Patrick Todd argues that all claims about undetermined aspects of the future are simply false.
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  17. Strictly Speaking.Renée Jorgensen Bolinger & Alexander Sandgren - 2020 - Analysis 80 (1):3-11.
    A type of argument occasionally made in metaethics, epistemology and philosophy of science notes that most ordinary uses of some expression fail to satisfy the strictest interpretation of the expression, and concludes that the ordinary assertions are false. This requires there to be a presumption in favour of a strict interpretation of expressions that admit of interpretations at different levels of strictness. We argue that this presumption is unmotivated, and thus the arguments fail.
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  18. Against Conventional Wisdom.Alexander W. Kocurek, Ethan Jerzak & Rachel Etta Rudolph - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20 (22):1-27.
    Conventional wisdom has it that truth is always evaluated using our actual linguistic conventions, even when considering counterfactual scenarios in which different conventions are adopted. This principle has been invoked in a number of philosophical arguments, including Kripke’s defense of the necessity of identity and Lewy’s objection to modal conventionalism. But it is false. It fails in the presence of what Einheuser (2006) calls c-monsters, or convention-shifting expressions (on analogy with Kaplan’s monsters, or context-shifting expressions). We show that c-monsters naturally (...)
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  19. Levelling Counterfactual Scepticism.Katie Steele & Alexander Sandgren - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):927-947.
    In this paper, we develop a novel response to counterfactual scepticism, the thesis that most ordinary counterfactual claims are false. In the process we aim to shed light on the relationship between debates in the philosophy of science and debates concerning the semantics and pragmatics of counterfactuals. We argue that science is concerned with many domains of inquiry, each with its own characteristic entities and regularities; moreover, statements of scientific law often include an implicit ceteris paribus clause that restricts the (...)
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  20. Presupposing Counterfactuality.Julia Zakkou - 2019 - Semantics and Pragmatics 12.
    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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  21. Talking About Worlds.Matthew Mandelkern - 2018 - Philosophical Perspectives 32 (1):298-325.
    I explore the logic of the conditional, using credence judgments to argue against Duality and in favor of Conditional Excluded Middle. I then explore how to give a theory of the conditional which validates the latter and not the former, developing a variant on Kratzer (1981)'s restrictor theory, as well as a proposal which combines Stalnaker (1968)'s theory of the conditional with the theory of epistemic modals I develop in Mandelkern 2019a. I argue that the latter approach fits naturally with (...)
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  22. Might/Would Duality and The Probabilities of Counterfactuals.Michael J. Shaffer - 2018 - Logique and Analyse 242:119-124.
    In this paper it is shown that Lewis' MWD (might/would duality) and imaging principles lead to wildly implausible probability assignments for would counterfactuals.
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  23. Counterfactual Skepticism and Multidimensional Semantics.H. Orri Stefánsson - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (5):875-898.
    It has recently been argued that indeterminacy and indeterminism make most ordinary counterfactuals false. I argue that a plausible way to avoid such counterfactual skepticism is to postulate the existence of primitive modal facts that serve as truth-makers for counterfactual claims. Moreover, I defend a new theory of ‘might’ counterfactuals, and develop assertability and knowledge criteria to suit such unobservable ‘counterfacts’.
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  24. The Necessity of Mathematics.Juhani Yli‐Vakkuri & John Hawthorne - 2018 - Noûs 52.
    Some have argued for a division of epistemic labor in which mathematicians supply truths and philosophers supply their necessity. We argue that this is wrong: mathematics is committed to its own necessity. Counterfactuals play a starring role.
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  25. Counterfactual Double Lives.Michael Deigan - 2017 - Proceedings of the 21st Amsterdam Colloquium:215--224.
    Expressions typically thought to be rigid designators can refer to distinct individuals in the consequents of counterfactuals. This occurs in counteridenticals, such as “If I were you, I would arrest me”, as well as more ordinary counterfactuals with clearly possible antecedents, like “If I were a police officer, I would arrest me”. I argue that in response we should drop rigidity and deal with de re modal predication using something more flexible, such as counterpart theory.
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  26. Hiddleston’s Causal Modeling Semantics and the Distinction Between Forward-Tracking and Backtracking Counterfactuals.Kok Yong Lee - 2017 - Studies in Logic 10 (1):79-94.
    Some cases show that counterfactual conditionals (‘counterfactuals’ for short) are inherently ambiguous, equivocating between forward-tracking and backtracking counterfactu- als. Elsewhere, I have proposed a causal modeling semantics, which takes this phenomenon to be generated by two kinds of causal manipulations. (Lee 2015; Lee 2016) In an important paper (Hiddleston 2005), Eric Hiddleston offers a different causal modeling semantics, which he claims to be able to explain away the inherent ambiguity of counterfactuals. In this paper, I discuss these two semantic treatments (...)
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  27. 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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  28. In Defense of Brogaard-Salerno Stricture.Matheus Silva - 2017 - The Reasoner 11 (7):42.
    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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  29. Against Counterfactual Miracles.Cian Dorr - 2016 - Philosophical Review 125 (2):241-286.
    This paper considers how counterfactuals should be evaluated on the assumption that determinism is true. I argue against Lewis's influential view that the actual laws of nature would have been false if something had happened that never actually happened, and in favour of the competing view that history would have been different all the way back. I argue that we can do adequate justice to our ordinary practice of relying on a wide range of historical truths in evaluating counterfactuals by (...)
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  30. 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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  31. Most Counterfactuals Are False.Alan Hajek - 2014
    I argue that most counterfactuals are false.
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  32. 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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  33. Against Hypothetical Syllogism.Lee Walters - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (5):979-997.
    The debate over Hypothetical Syllogism is locked in stalemate. Although putative natural language counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism abound, many philosophers defend Hypothetical Syllogism, arguing that the alleged counterexamples involve an illicit shift in context. The proper lesson to draw from the putative counterexamples, they argue, is that natural language conditionals are context-sensitive conditionals which obey Hypothetical Syllogism. In order to make progress on the issue, I consider and improve upon Morreau’s proof of the invalidity of Hypothetical Syllogism. The improved proof (...)
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  34. Of Miracles and Interventions.Luke Glynn - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (1):43-64.
    In Making Things Happen, James Woodward influentially combines a causal modeling analysis of actual causation with an interventionist semantics for the counterfactuals encoded in causal models. This leads to circularities, since interventions are defined in terms of both actual causation and interventionist counterfactuals. Circularity can be avoided by instead combining a causal modeling analysis with a semantics along the lines of that given by David Lewis, on which counterfactuals are to be evaluated with respect to worlds in which their antecedents (...)
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  35. Why Historians (and Everyone Else) Should Care About Counterfactuals.Daniel Nolan - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (2):317-335.
    Abstract There are at least eight good reasons practicing historians should concern themselves with counterfactual claims. Furthermore, four of these reasons do not even require that we are able to tell which historical counterfactuals are true and which are false. This paper defends the claim that these reasons to be concerned with counterfactuals are good ones, and discusses how each can contribute to the practice of history. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-19 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9817-z Authors Daniel Nolan, School of Philosophy, (...)
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  36. 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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  37. Counterfactual Triviality: A Lewis-Impossibility Result for Counterfactuals.J. Robert G. Williams - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (3):648-670.
    I formulate a counterfactual version of the notorious ‘Ramsey Test’. Even in a weak form, this makes counterfactuals subject to the very argument that Lewis used to persuade the majority of the philosophical community that indicative conditionals were in hot water. I outline two reactions: to indicativize the debate on counterfactuals; or to counterfactualize the debate on indicatives.
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  38. Chancy Counterfactuals, Redux.J. Robert G. Williams - 2012 - Analytic Philosophy 53 (4):352-361.
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  39. Out of the Closet.A. Ahmed - 2011 - Analysis 71 (1):77-85.
    (No abstract is available for this citation).
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  40. 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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  41. Introduction: Understanding Counterfactuals and Causation.Christoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack & Sarah R. Beck - 2011 - In Christoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack & Sarah R. Beck (eds.), Understanding Counterfactuals, Understanding Causation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 1-15.
    How are causal judgements such as 'The ice on the road caused the traffic accident' connected with counterfactual judgements such as 'If there had not been any ice on the road, the traffic accident would not have happened'? This volume throws new light on this question by uniting, for the first time, psychological and philosophical approaches to causation and counterfactuals. Traditionally, philosophers have primarily been interested in connections between causal and counterfactual claims on the level of meaning or truth-conditions. More (...)
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  42. Counterfactual Fallacies.Andrea Iacona - 2011 - Humana Mente 4 (19).
    A widely accepted claim about counterfactuals is that they differ from strict conditionals, that is, there is no adequate representation of them as sentences of the form   . To justify this claim, Stalnaker and Lewis have argued that some fallacious inferences would turn out valid if counterfactuals were so represented. However, their argument has a flaw, as it rests on a questionable assumption about the relation between surface grammar and logical form. Without that assumption, no consequence of the (...)
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  43. Presuppositions and Antipresuppositions in Conditionals.Brian Leahy - 2011 - Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory:257-274.
    Abstract Utterances of counterfactual conditionals are typically attended by the information that their antecedents are false. But there is as yet no account of the source of this information that is both detailed and complete. This paper describes the problem of counterfactual antecedent falsity and argues that the problem can be addressed by appeal to an adequate account of the presuppositions of various competing conditional constructions. It argues that indicative conditionals presuppose that their antecedents are epistemically possible, while subjunctive conditionals (...)
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  44. Three Problematic Theories of Conditional Acceptance.Michael J. Shaffer - 2011 - Logos and Episteme 2 (1):117-125.
    In this paper it is argued that three of the most prominent theories of conditional acceptance face very serious problems. David Lewis' concept of imaging, the Ramsey test and Jonathan Bennett's recent hybrid view all face viscious regresses, or they either employ unanalyzed components or depend upon an implausibly strong version of doxastic voluntarism.
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  45. 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. 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. 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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  48. Counterfactuals and the Analysis of Necessity.Boris Kment - 2006 - Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):237–302.
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  49. Counterfactuals: The Epistemic Analysis.John-Michael Kuczynski - 2005 - Philosophia Scientiae 9 (1):83-126.
    Ordinarily counterfactuals are seen as making statements about states of affairs, albeit ones that hold in merely possible or alternative worlds. Thus analyzed, nearly all counterfactuals turn out to be incoherent. Any counterfactual, thus analyzed, requires that there be a metaphysically (not just epistemically) possible world w where the laws are the same as here, and where almost all of the facts are the same as here. (The factual differences relate to the antecedent and consequent of the counter-factual.) But, as (...)
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  50. Indicative Versus Subjunctive in Future Conditionals.A. Morton - 2004 - Analysis 64 (4):289-293.
    I give cases where the contrast between "if Shakespeare had not written Hamlet someone else would have" and "if Shakespeare did not write Hamlet and someone else did"is found in future tense sentences. This is often denied.
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