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Counterpossibles and Similarity

In Frank Jackson & Graham Priest (eds.), Lewisian Themes: The Philosophy of David K. Lewis. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. pp. 258-275 (2004)

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  1. Accuracy and Epistemic Conservatism.Florian Steinberger - 2019 - Analysis 79 (4):658-669.
    Epistemic utility theory is generally coupled with veritism. Veritism is the view that truth is the sole fundamental epistemic value. Veritism, when paired with EUT, entails a methodological commitment: norms of epistemic rationality are justified only if they can be derived from considerations of accuracy alone. According to EUT, then, believing truly has epistemic value, while believing falsely has epistemic disvalue. This raises the question as to how the rational believer should balance the prospect of true belief against the risk (...)
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  • 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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  • Impossible Worlds.Franz Berto & Mark Jago - 2013 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    We need to understand the impossible. Francesco Berto and Mark Jago start by considering what the concepts of meaning, information, knowledge, belief, fiction, conditionality, and counterfactual supposition have in common. They are all concepts which divide the world up more finely than logic does. Logically equivalent sentences may carry different meanings and information and may differ in how they're believed. Fictions can be inconsistent yet meaningful. We can suppose impossible things without collapsing into total incoherence. Yet for the leading philosophical (...)
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  • Context-Indexed Counterfactuals and Non-Vacuous Counterpossibles.Mariusz Popieluch - 2019 - Dissertation, The University of Queensland
    The two main features of this thesis are (i) an account of contextualized (context indexed) counterfactuals, and (ii) a non-vacuist account of counterpossibles. Experience tells us that the truth of the counterfactual is contingent on what is meant by the antecedent, which in turn rests on what context is assumed to underlie its reading (intended meaning). On most conditional analyses, only the world of evaluation and the antecedent determine which worlds are relevant to determining the truth of a conditional, and (...)
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  • 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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  • Between the Actual and the Trivial World.Maciej Sendłak - 2016 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 23 (2):162-176.
    The subject of this paper is the notion of similarity between the actual and impossible worlds. Many believe that this notion is governed by two rules. Ac-cording to the first rule, every non-trivial world is more similar to the actual world than the trivial world is. The second rule states that every possible world is more similar to the actual world than any impossible world is. The aim of this paper is to challenge both of these rules. We argue that (...)
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  • 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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  • Truth and Epistemic Value.Nick Treanor - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (3):1057-1068.
    The notion of more truth, or of more truth and less falsehood, is central to epistemology. Yet, I argue, we have no idea what this consists in, as the most natural or obvious thing to say—that more truth is a matter of a greater number of truths, and less falsehood is a matter of a lesser number of falsehoods—is ultimately implausible. The issue is important not merely because the notion of more truth and less falsehood is central to epistemology, but (...)
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  • Counterpossibles.Barak Krakauer - 2012 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts
    Counterpossibles are counterfactuals with necessarily false antecedents. The problem of counterpossibles is easiest to state within the "nearest possible world" framework for counterfactuals: on this approach, a counterfactual is true when the consequent is true in the "nearest" possible world where the antecedent is true. Since counterpossibles have necessarily false antecedents, there is no possible world where the antecedent is true. On the approach favored by Lewis, Stalnaker, Williamson, and others, counterpossibles are all trivially true. I introduce several arguments against (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Conditionals and Curry.Daniel Nolan - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2629-2647.
    Curry's paradox for "if.. then.." concerns the paradoxical features of sentences of the form "If this very sentence is true, then 2+2=5". Standard inference principles lead us to the conclusion that such conditionals have true consequents: so, for example, 2+2=5 after all. There has been a lot of technical work done on formal options for blocking Curry paradoxes while only compromising a little on the various central principles of logic and meaning that are under threat. -/- Once we have a (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Inscrutability and Ontological Commitment.Berit Brogaard - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 141 (1):21 - 42.
    There are two doctrines for which Quine is particularly well known: the doctrine of ontological commitment and the inscrutability thesis—the thesis that reference and quantification are inscrutable. At first glance, the two doctrines are squarely at odds. If there is no fact of the matter as to what our expressions refer to, then it would appear that no determinate commitments can be read off of our best theories. We argue here that the appearance of a clash between the two doctrines (...)
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  • The Extent of Metaphysical Necessity.Daniel Nolan - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):313-339.
    A lot of philosophers engage in debates about what claims are “metaphysically necessary”, and a lot more assume with little argument that some classes of claims have the status of “metaphysical necessity”. I think we can usefully replace questions about metaphysical necessity with five other questions which each capture some of what people may have had in mind when talking about metaphysical necessity. This paper explains these five other questions, and then discusses the question “how much of metaphysics is metaphysically (...)
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  • Infallible Divine Foreknowledge Cannot Uniquely Threaten Human Freedom, but its Mechanics Might.T. Ryan Byerly - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 4 (4):73-94.
    It is not uncommon to think that the existence of exhaustive and infallible divine foreknowledge uniquely threatens the existence of human freedom. This paper shows that this cannot be so. For, to uniquely threaten human freedom, infallible divine foreknowledge would have to make an essential contribution to an explanation for why our actions are not up to us. And infallible divine foreknowledge cannot do this. There remains, however, an important question about the compatibility of freedom and foreknowledge. It is a (...)
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  • Realizm modalny i okresy warunkowe z niemożliwymi poprzednikami [Modal Realism and Counterpossibles].Maciej Sendłak - 2014 - Filozofia Nauki 22 (4).
    To solve the problem of counterpossibles, many philosophers have been arguing that one needs to invoke impossible worlds. This extension of the ontology of modality should save the analysis of counterfactuals from being insensitive to the problem of counterpossibles. Since theories of impossible worlds are extensions of original accounts of modalities, it is worth stressing that proper analyses of counterpossibles should not weaken the latter.In this paper I argue that these theories of impossible wolrds, which are based on D. Lewis' (...)
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  • Properties, Laws, and Worlds.Deborah C. Smith - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (4):471-489.
    Jonathan Schaffer argues against a necessary connection between properties and laws. He takes this to be a question of what possible worlds we ought to countenance in our best theories of modality, counterfactuals, etc. In doing so, he unfairly rigs the game in favor of contingentism. I argue that the necessitarian can resist Schaffer’s conclusion while accepting his key premise that our best theories of modality, counterfactuals, etc. require a very wide range of things called ‘possible worlds’. However, the necessitarian (...)
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  • Impossible Worlds.Francesco Berto - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2013).
    It is a venerable slogan due to David Hume, and inherited by the empiricist tradition, that the impossible cannot be believed, or even conceived. In Positivismus und Realismus, Moritz Schlick claimed that, while the merely practically impossible is still conceivable, the logically impossible, such as an explicit inconsistency, is simply unthinkable. -/- An opposite philosophical tradition, however, maintains that inconsistencies and logical impossibilities are thinkable, and sometimes believable, too. In the Science of Logic, Hegel already complained against “one of the (...)
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