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  1. Fictionalism, the Safety Result and Counterpossibles.Lukas Skiba - forthcoming - Analysis:anz018.
    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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  • Continuous Creation and Secondary Causation: The Threat of Occasionalism.Timothy D. Miller - 2011 - Religious Studies 47 (1):3-22.
    One standard criticism of the doctrine of continuous creation is that it entails the occasionalist position that God alone is a true cause and that the events we commonly identify as causes are merely the occasions upon which God brings about effects. I begin by clearly stating Malebranche's argument from continuous creation to occasionalism. Next, I examine two strategies for resisting Malebranche's argument – strong and weak concurrentism – and argue that weak concurrentism is the more promising strategy. Finally, I (...)
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  • 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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  • Assertibility and Sensitivity.Geoff Pynn - 2014 - Acta Analytica 29 (1):99-117.
    Epistemologists have proposed various norms of assertion to explain when a speaker is in an epistemic position to assert a proposition. In this article I propose a distinct necessary condition on assertibility: that a speaker should assert only what she sensitively believes, where a subject's belief is sensitive just in case the subject would not hold it if it were false. I argue that the Sensitivity Rule underwrites simple explanations for three key features of assertibility that pose explanatory challenges to (...)
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  • Causal After All : A Model of Mental Causation for Dualists.Bram Vaassen - 2019 - Dissertation,
    In this dissertation, I develop and defend a model of causation that allows for dualist mental causation in worlds where the physical domain is physically complete. -/- In Part I, I present the dualist ontology that will be assumed throughout the thesis and identify two challenges for models of mental causation within such an ontology: the exclusion worry and the common cause worry. I also argue that a proper response to these challenges requires a thoroughly lightweight account of causation, i.e. (...)
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  • Knowledge, Safety, and Gettierized Lottery Cases: Why Mere Statistical Evidence is Not a Source of Knowledge.Fernando Broncano‐Berrocal - forthcoming - Philosophical Issues.
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  • The Non‐Occurrence Of Events.Neil McDonnell - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2):269-285.
    What is it for an event not to occur? This is an urgent, yet under explored, question for counterfactual analyses of causation quite generally. In this paper I take a lead from Lewis in identifying two different possible standards of non-occurrence that we might adopt and I argue that we need to apply them asymmetrically: one standard for the cause, another for the effect. This is a surprising result. I then offer a contextualist refinement of the Lewis approach in light (...)
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  • Conversation and Conditionals.J. Robert G. Williams - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (2):211 - 223.
    I outline and motivate a way of implementing a closest world theory of indicatives, appealing to Stalnaker's framework of open conversational possibilities. Stalnakerian conversational dynamics helps us resolve two outstanding puzzles for a such a theory of indicative conditionals. The first puzzle -- concerning so-called 'reverse Sobel sequences' -- can be resolved by conversation dynamics in a theoryneutral way: the explanation works as much for Lewisian counterfactuals as for the account of indicatives developed here. Resolving the second puzzle, by contrast, (...)
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  • Constraining Premise Sets for Counterfactuals.Angelika Kratzer - 2005 - Journal of Semantics 22 (2):153-158.
    This note is a reply to ‘On the Lumping Semantics of Counterfactuals’ by Makoto Kanazawa, Stefan Kaufmann and Stanley Peters. It shows first that the first triviality result obtained by Kanazawa, Kaufmann, and Peters is already ruled out by the constraints on admissible premise sets listed in Kratzer (1989). Second, and more importantly, it points out that the results obtained by Kanazawa, Kaufmann, and Peters are obsolete in view of the revised analysis of counterfactuals in Kratzer (1990, 2002).
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  • Against Lewis's New Theory of Causation: A Story with Three Morals.Michael Strevens - 2003 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 84 (4):398–412.
    A recent paper by David Lewis, "Causation as Influence", proposes a new theory of causation. I argue against the theory, maintaining that (a) the relation asserted by a claim of the form "C was a cause of E" is distinct from the relation of causal influence, (b) the former relation depends very much, contra Lewis, on the individuation conditions for the event E, and (c) Lewis's account is unsatisfactory as an analysis of either kind of relation. The counterexamples presented here (...)
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  • Outline of a New Semantics for Counterfactuals.Lars Bo Gundersen - 2004 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 85 (1):1–20.
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  • Vagueness, Conditionals and Probability.Robert Williams - 2009 - Erkenntnis 70 (2):151 - 171.
    This paper explores the interaction of well-motivated (if controversial) principles governing the probability conditionals, with accounts of what it is for a sentence to be indefinite. The conclusion can be played in a variety of ways. It could be regarded as a new reason to be suspicious of the intuitive data about the probability of conditionals; or, holding fixed the data, it could be used to give traction on the philosophical analysis of a contentious notion—indefiniteness. The paper outlines the various (...)
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  • Backtracking Influence.Douglas Kutach - 2011 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 25 (1):55-71.
    Backtracking influence is influence that zigzags in time. For example, backtracking influence exists when an event E_1 makes an event E_2 more likely by way of a nomic connection that goes from E_1 back in time to an event C and then forward in time to E_2. I contend that in our local region of spacetime, at least, backtracking influence is redundant in the sense that any existing backtracking influence exerted by E_1 on E_2 is equivalent to E_1's temporally direct (...)
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  • Actualised Infinity: Before-Effect and Nullify-Effect.Steffen Borge - 2003 - Disputatio 1 (14):1 - 17.
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  • Might-Counterfactuals and the Principle of Conditional Excluded Middle.Ivar Hannikainen - 2011 - Disputatio 4 (30):127-149.
    Owing to the problem of inescapable clashes, epistemic accounts of might-counterfactuals have recently gained traction. In a different vein, the might argument against conditional excluded middle has rendered the latter a contentious principle to incorporate into a logic for conditionals. The aim of this paper is to rescue both ontic mightcounterfactuals and conditional excluded middle from these disparate debates and show them to be compatible. I argue that the antecedent of a might-counterfactual is semantically underdetermined with respect to the counterfactual (...)
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  • Pragmatic Causation.Antony Eagle - 2003 - In Huw Price & Richard Corry (eds.), Causation, Physics, and the Constitution of Reality: Russell's Republic Revisited. Oxford University Press.
    Russell famously argued that causation should be dispensed with. He gave two explicit arguments for this conclusion, both of which can be defused if we loosen the ties between causation and determinism. I show that we can define a concept of causation which meets Russell’s conditions but does not reduce to triviality. Unfortunately, a further serious problem is implicit beneath the details of Russell’s arguments, which I call the causal exclusion problem. Meeting this problem involves deploying a minimalist pragmatic account (...)
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  • Causation and Time Reversal.Matt Farr - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx025.
    What would it be for a process to happen backwards in time? Would such a process involve different causal relations? It is common to understand the time reversal invariance of a physical theory in causal terms, such that whatever can happen forwards in time (according to the theory) can also happen backwards in time. This has led many to hold that time reversal symmetry is incompatible with the asymmetry of cause and effect. This paper critiques the causal reading of time (...)
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  • Causation as a Secondary Quality.Peter Menzies & Huw Price - 1993 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (2):187-203.
    In this paper we defend the view that the ordinary notions of cause and effect have a direct and essential connection with our ability to intervene in the world as agents.1 This is a well known but rather unpopular philosophical approach to causation, often called the manipulability theory. In the interests of brevity and accuracy, we prefer to call it the agency theory.2 Thus the central thesis of an agency account of causation is something like this: an event A is (...)
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  • Mental Causation, Compatibilism and Counterfactuals.Dwayne Moore - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (1):20-42.
    According to proponents of the causal exclusion problem, there cannot be a sufficient physical cause and a distinct mental cause of the same piece of behaviour. Increasingly, the causal exclusion problem is circumvented via this compatibilist reasoning: a sufficient physical cause of the behavioural effect necessitates the mental cause of the behavioural effect, so the effect has a sufficient physical cause and a mental cause as well. In this paper, I argue that this compatibilist reply fails to resolve the causal (...)
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  • Physics and Causation.Thomas Blanchard - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (5):256-266.
    More than a century ago, Russell launched a forceful attack on causation, arguing not only that modern physics has no need for causal notions but also that our belief in causation is a relic of a pre-scientific view of the world. He thereby initiated a debate about the relations between physics and causation that remains very much alive today. While virtually everybody nowadays rejects Russell's causal eliminativism, many philosophers have been convinced by Russell that the fundamental physical structure of our (...)
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  • Would‐Cause Semantics.Phil Dowe - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):701-711.
    This article raises two difficulties that certain approaches to causation have with would‐cause counterfactuals. First, there is a problem with David Lewis’s semantics of counterfactuals when we ‘suppose in’ some positive event of a certain kind. And, second, there is a problem with embedded counterfactuals. I show that causal‐modeling approaches do not have these problems. †To contact the author, please write to: Philosophy, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia; e‐mail: p.dowe@uq.edu.au.
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  • Why Follow the Royal Rule?Franz Huber - 2017 - Synthese 194 (5).
    This note is a sequel to Huber. It is shown that obeying a normative principle relating counterfactual conditionals and conditional beliefs, viz. the royal rule, is a necessary and sufficient means to attaining a cognitive end that relates true beliefs in purely factual, non-modal propositions and true beliefs in purely modal propositions. Along the way I will sketch my idealism about alethic or metaphysical modality.
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  • Counterfactuals and Arbitrariness.Moritz Schulz - 2014 - Mind 123 (492):1021-1055.
    The pattern of credences we are inclined to assign to counterfactuals challenges standard accounts of counterfactuals. In response to this problem, the paper develops a semantics of counterfactuals in terms of the epsilon-operator. The proposed semantics stays close to the standard account: the epsilon-operator substitutes the universal quantifier present in standard semantics by arbitrarily binding the open world-variable. Various applications of the suggested semantics are explored including, in particular, an explanation of how the puzzling credences in counterfactuals come about.
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  • The Implications of Managing.Rebekah Baglini & Itamar Francez - 2016 - Journal of Semantics 33 (3):541-560.
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  • Causal Exclusion and Downward Counterfactuals.Tuomas K. Pernu - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (5):1031-1049.
    One of the main line of responses to the infamous causal exclusion problem has been based on the counterfactual account of causation. However, arguments have begun to surface to the effect that the counterfactual theory is in fact ill-equipped to solve the exclusion problem due to its commitment to downward causation. This argumentation is here critically analysed. An analysis of counterfactual dependence is presented and it is shown that if the semantics of counterfactuals is taken into account carefully enough, the (...)
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  • The Emperor's New Metaphysics of Powers.Stephen Barker - 2013 - Mind 122 (487):605-653.
    This paper argues that the new metaphysics of powers, also known as dispositional essentialism or causal structuralism, is an illusory metaphysics. I argue for this in the following way. I begin by distinguishing three fundamental ways of seeing how facts of physical modality — facts about physical necessitation and possibility, causation, disposition, and chance — are grounded in the world. The first way, call it the first degree, is that the actual world or all worlds, in their entirety, are the (...)
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  • A Problem for Rationalist Responses to Skepticism.Sinan Dogramaci - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (2):355-369.
    Rationalism, my target, says that in order to have perceptual knowledge, such as that your hand is making a fist, you must “antecedently” (or “independently”) know that skeptical scenarios don’t obtain, such as the skeptical scenario that you are in the Matrix. I motivate the specific form of Rationalism shared by, among others, White (Philos Stud 131:525–557, 2006) and Wright (Proc Aristot Soc Suppl Vol 78:167–212, 2004), which credits us with warrant to believe (or “accept”, in Wright’s terms) that our (...)
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  • A Proposed Probabilistic Extension of the Halpern and Pearl Definition of ‘Actual Cause’.Luke Fenton-Glynn - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (4):1061-1164.
    In their article 'Causes and Explanations: A Structural-Model Approach. Part I: Causes', Joseph Halpern and Judea Pearl draw upon structural equation models to develop an attractive analysis of 'actual cause'. Their analysis is designed for the case of deterministic causation. I show that their account can be naturally extended to provide an elegant treatment of probabilistic causation.
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  • Ifs, Though, and Because.Hans Rott - 1986 - Erkenntnis 25 (3):345-370.
    The paper proposes a unified analysis of the natural language connectives 'if', 'if … might', 'even if' (all of them with indicative and subjunctive mood), 'because' and 'though'. They are all interpreted as instances of universal (pro)conditionals, unconditionals, or counterconditionals. The paper imports the notion of relevance into the meaning of conditionals, viewing conditionals as close in meaning to explanations and statements about causal relations. The antecedent of a conditional is interpreted as being relevant for its consequent, thus avoiding the (...)
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  • A Simple Argument for Downward Causation.Thomas Kroedel - 2015 - Synthese 192 (3):841-858.
    Instances of many supervenient properties have physical effects. In particular, instances of mental properties have physical effects if non-reductive physicalism is true. This follows by a straightforward argument that assumes a counterfactual criterion for causation. The paper presents that argument and discusses several issues that arise from it. In particular, the paper addresses the worry that the argument shows too many supervenient property-instances to have physical effects. The argument is also compared to a similar argument that has been suggested by (...)
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  • Counterfactual Triviality: A Lewis-Impossibility Argument for Counterfactuals.Robert Williams - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (3):648-670.
    I formulate a counterfactual version of the notorious 'Ramsey Test'. Whereas the Ramsey Test for indicative conditionals links credence in indicatives to conditional credences, the counterfactual version links credence in counterfactuals to expected conditional chance. I outline two forms: a Ramsey Identity on which the probability of the conditional should be identical to the corresponding conditional probabihty/expectation of chance; and a Ramsey Bound on which credence in the conditional should never exceed the latter.Even in the weaker, bound, form, the counterfactual (...)
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  • Back to the (Branching) Future.Giacomo Andreoletti - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-14.
    The future is different from the past. What is past is fixed and set in stone. The future, on the other hand, is open insofar as it holds numerous possibilities. Branching-tree models of time account for this asymmetry by positing an ontological difference between the past and the future. Given a time t, a unique unified past lies behind t, whereas multiple alternative existing futures lie ahead of t. My goal in this paper is to show that there is an (...)
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  • Avoiding Late Preemption with the Right Kind of Influence.Kenneth Silver - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (4):1297-1312.
    David Lewis championed a counterfactual account of causation, but counterfactual accounts have a notoriously difficult time handling cases of late preemption. These are cases in which we still count one event as the cause of another although the effect does not depend on the cause in the way taken to be necessary by the account. Lewis recognized these cases, but they have been shown to be problematic even for his final analysis of causation, the Influence Account. In this paper, I (...)
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  • The Open Future.Stephan Torre - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (5):360-373.
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  • Finkish Dispositions.David K. Lewis - 1997 - Philosophical Quarterly 47 (187):143-158.
    Many years ago, C.B. Martin drew our attention to the possibility of ‘finkish’ dispositions: dispositions which, if put to the test would not be manifested, but rather would disappear. Thus if x if finkishly disposed to give response r to stimulus s, it is not so that if x were subjected to stimulus r, x would give response z; so finkish dispositions afford a counter‐example to the simplest conditional analysis of dispositions. Martin went on to suggest that finkish dispositions required (...)
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  • Conditioning, Intervening, and Decision.Christopher Hitchcock - 2016 - Synthese 193 (4).
    Clark Glymour, together with his students Peter Spirtes and Richard Scheines, did pioneering work on graphical causal models . One of the central advances provided by these models is the ability to simply represent the effects of interventions. In an elegant paper , Glymour and his student Christopher Meek applied these methods to problems in decision theory. One of the morals they drew was that causal decision theory should be understood in terms of interventions. I revisit their proposal, and extend (...)
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  • Williamsonian Modal Epistemology, Possibility-Based.Barbara Vetter - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):766-795.
    Williamsonian modal epistemology is characterized by two commitments: realism about modality, and anti-exceptionalism about our modal knowledge. Williamson’s own counterfactual-based modal epistemology is the best known implementation of WME, but not the only option that is available. I sketch and defend an alternative implementation which takes our knowledge of metaphysical modality to arise, not from knowledge of counterfactuals, but from our knowledge of ordinary possibility statements of the form ‘x can F’. I defend this view against a criticism indicated in (...)
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  • 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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  • Causal Modeling, Reversibility, and Logics of Counterfactuals.Wai Yin Lam - 2012 - Dissertation, Lingnan University
    This thesis studies Judea Pearl’s logic of counterfactuals derived from the causal modeling framework, in comparison to the influential Stanlnaker-Lewis counterfactual logics. My study focuses on a characteristic principle in Pearl’s logic, named reversibility. The principle, as Pearl pointed out, goes beyond Lewis’s logic. Indeed, it also goes beyond the stronger logic of Stanlnaker, which is more analogous to Pearl’s logic. The first result of this thesis is an extension of Stanlnaker’s logic incorporating reversibility. It will be observed that the (...)
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  • Consequences of Conditional Excluded Middle.Jeremy Goodman - manuscript
    Conditional excluded middle (CEM) is the following principe of counterfactual logic: either, if it were the case that φ, it would be the case that ψ, or, if it were the case that φ, it would be the case that not-ψ. I will first show that CEM entails the identity of indiscernibles, the falsity of physicalism, and the failure of the modal to supervene on the categorical and of the vague to supervene on the precise. I will then argue that (...)
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  • Chance, Determinism, and Unsettledness.Antony Eagle - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):781-802.
    A previously unrecognised argument against deterministic chance is introduced. The argument rests on the twin ideas that determined outcomes are settled, while chancy outcomes are unsettled, thus making cases of determined but chancy outcomes impossible. Closer attention to tacit assumptions about settledness makes available some principled lines of resistance to the argument for compatibilists about chance and determinism. Yet the costs of maintaining compatibilism may be higher with respect to this argument than with respect to existing incompatibilist arguments.
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  • Some Laws of Nature Are Metaphysically Contingent.John T. Roberts - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):445-457.
    Laws of nature are puzzling because they have a 'modal character'—they seem to be 'necessary-ish'—even though they also seem to be metaphysically contingent. And it is hard to understand how contingent truths could have such a modal character. Scientific essentialism is a doctrine that seems to dissolve this puzzle, by showing that laws of nature are actually metaphysically necessary. I argue that even if the metaphysics of natural kinds and properties offered by scientific essentialism is correct, there are still some (...)
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  • Epidemiological Evidence in Proof of Specific Causation.Alex Broadbent - 2011 - Legal Theory 17 (4):237-278.
    This paper seeks to determine the significance, if any, of epidemiological evidence to prove the specific causation element of liability in negligence or other relevant torts—in particular, what importance can be attached to a relative risk > 2, where that figure represents a sound causal inference at the general level. The paper discusses increased risk approaches to epidemiological evidence and concludes that they are a last resort. The paper also criticizes the proposal that the probability of causation can be estimated (...)
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  • Causality in Medicine with Particular Reference to the Viral Causation of Cancers.Brendan Clarke - 2011 - Dissertation, University College London
    In this thesis, I give a metascientific account of causality in medicine. I begin with two historical cases of causal discovery. These are the discovery of the causation of Burkitt’s lymphoma by the Epstein-Barr virus, and of the various viral causes suggested for cervical cancer. These historical cases then support a philosophical discussion of causality in medicine. This begins with an introduction to the Russo- Williamson thesis (RWT), and discussion of a range of counter-arguments against it. Despite these, I argue (...)
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  • Are We Free to Break the Laws?David K. Lewis - 1981 - Theoria 47 (3):113-21.
    I insist that I was able to raise my hand, and I acknowledge that a law would have been broken had I done so, but I deny that I am therefore able to break a law. To uphold my instance of soft determinism, I need not claim any incredible powers. To uphold the compatibilism that I actually believe, I need not claim that such powers are even possible. My incompatibilist opponent is a creature of fiction, but he has his prototypes (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • The Emergence of Causation.J. Dmitri Gallow - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy 112 (6):281-308.
    Several philosophers have embraced the view that high-level events—events like Zimbabwe's monetary policy and its hyper-inflation—are causally related if their corresponding low-level, fundamental physical events are causally related. I dub the view which denies this without denying that high-level events are ever causally related causal emergentism. Several extant philosophical theories of causality entail causal emergentism, while others are inconsistent with the thesis. I illustrate this with David Lewis's two theories of causation, one of which entails causal emergentism, the other of (...)
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  • Intervention and the Probabilities of Indicative Conditionals.Michael Zhao - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy 112 (9):477-503.
    A few purported counterexamples to the Adams thesis have cropped up in the literature in the last few decades. I propose a theory that accounts for them, in a way that makes the connections between indicative conditionals and counterfactuals clearer.
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