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  1. Does Chance Undermine Would?Alexander W. Kocurek - forthcoming - Mind.
    Counterfactual skepticism 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, viz., 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 closure (...)
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  • Counterfactual Skepticism and Multidimensional Semantics.H. 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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  • Semantic Plasticity and Speech Reports.Cian Dorr & John Hawthorne - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (3):281-338.
    Most meanings we express belong to large families of variant meanings, among which it would be implausible to suppose that some are much more apt for being expressed than others. This abundance of candidate meanings creates pressure to think that the proposition attributing any particular meaning to an expression is modally plastic: its truth depends very sensitively on the exact microphysical state of the world. However, such plasticity seems to threaten ordinary counterfactuals whose consequents contain speech reports, since it is (...)
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  • Counterfactual Conditionals: Orthodoxy and its Challenges.Daniel Dohrn - 2020 - Milan: Mimesis International.
    In Counterfactual Conditionals, Daniel Dohrn discusses the standard account of counterfactuals, conditionals of the form ‘If A had been the case, then B would have been the case’. According to the standard account, a counterfactual is true if the then-sentence is true in all closest worlds in which the if-sentence is true. Closeness is spelled out in terms of an ordering of worlds by their similarity. Dohrn explores resources of defending the standard account against several challenges. In particular, he defends (...)
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  • Counterfactual Probability.Ginger Schultheis - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    Stalnaker's Thesis about indicative conditionals is, roughly, that the probability one ought to assign to an indicative conditional equals the probability that one ought to assign to its consequent conditional on its antecedent. The thesis seems right. If you draw a card from a standard 52-card deck, how confident are you that the card is a diamond if it's a red card? To answer this, you calculate the proportion of red cards that are diamonds -- that is, you calculate the (...)
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  • Counterfactual Discourse in Context.Karen S. Lewis - 2018 - Noûs 52 (3):481-507.
    The classic Lewis-Stalnaker semantics for counterfactuals captures that Sobel sequences are consistent sequences, for example: a.If Sophie had gone to the parade, she would have seen Pedro dance. b.But if Sophie had gone to the parade and been stuck behind someone tall, she would not have seen Pedro dance. But reverse a sequence like this one and it no longer sounds so good, which is surprising on the classic semantics. This observation motivated Kai von Fintel and Thony Gillies to propose (...)
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  • Levelling Counterfactual Scepticism.Alexander Sandgren & Katie Steele - 2020 - Synthese 1:1-21.
    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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  • The Metaphysical Consequences of Counterfactual Skepticism.Nina Emery - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):399-432.
    A series of recent arguments purport to show that most counterfactuals of the form if A had happened then C would have happened are not true. These arguments pose a challenge to those of us who think that counterfactual discourse is a useful part of ordinary conversation, of philosophical reasoning, and of scientific inquiry. Either we find a way to revise the semantics for counterfactuals in order to avoid these arguments, or we find a way to ensure that the relevant (...)
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  • The restrictor view, without covert modals.Ivano Ciardelli - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-28.
    The view that if-clauses function semantically as restrictors is widely regarded as the only candidate for a fully general account of conditionals. The standard implementation of this view assumes that, where no operator to be restricted is in sight, if-clauses restrict covert epistemic modals. Stipulating such modals, however, lacks independent motivation and leads to wrong empirical predictions. In this paper I provide a theory of conditionals on which if-clauses are uniformly interpreted as restrictors, but no covert modals are postulated. Epistemic (...)
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  • The non-maximality-solution to counterfactual scepticism.Daniel Dohrn - forthcoming - Synthese:1-22.
    The following semantics for counterfactuals is fairly standard: for a counterfactual to be true, the closest antecedent worlds have to be consequent worlds. Closeness is measured by overall similarity of worlds to an evaluation world. There is a range of interrelated challenges to this account: counterfactual scepticism, ‘Hegel’-, ‘Sobel’-, and ‘Heim’-sequences. So far there is no unified solution to these challenges. I discuss a solution that preserves the standard semantics by writing the shifty parameter into pragmatics. The solution has been (...)
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  • Contra counterfactism.Alan Hájek - forthcoming - Synthese:1-30.
    ‘If I were to toss a coin 1000 times, then it would land heads exactly n times’. Is there a specific value of n that renders this counterfactual true? According to an increasingly influential view, there is. A precursor of the view goes back to the Molinists; more recently it has been inspired by Stalnaker, and versions of it have been advocated by Hawthorne, Bradley, Moss, Schulz, and Stefánsson. More generally, I attribute to these authors what I call Counterfactual Plenitude:For (...)
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  • Subjunctive Conditional Probability.Wolfgang Schwarz - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (1):47-66.
    There seem to be two ways of supposing a proposition: supposing “indicatively” that Shakespeare didn’t write Hamlet, it is likely that someone else did; supposing “subjunctively” that Shakespeare hadn’t written Hamlet, it is likely that nobody would have written the play. Let P be the probability of B on the subjunctive supposition that A. Is P equal to the probability of the corresponding counterfactual, A □→B? I review recent triviality arguments against this hypothesis and argue that they do not succeed. (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Triviality Results and the Relationship Between Logical and Natural Languages.Justin Khoo & Matthew Mandelkern - 2019 - Mind 128 (510):485-526.
    Inquiry into the meaning of logical terms in natural language (‘and’, ‘or’, ‘not’, ‘if’) has generally proceeded along two dimensions. On the one hand, semantic theories aim to predict native speaker intuitions about the natural language sentences involving those logical terms. On the other hand, logical theories explore the formal properties of the translations of those terms into formal languages. Sometimes, these two lines of inquiry appear to be in tension: for instance, our best logical investigation into conditional connectives may (...)
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  • Suppositions, Revisions and Decisions.Daniel Y. Elstein & Robert Williams - manuscript
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Counterfactuals and Propositional Contingentism.Peter Fritz & Jeremy Goodman - 2017 - Review of Symbolic Logic 10 (3):509-529.
    This article explores the connection between two theses: the principle of conditional excluded middle for the counterfactual conditional, and the claim that it is a contingent matter which (coarse grained) propositions there are. Both theses enjoy wide support, and have been defended at length by Robert Stalnaker. We will argue that, given plausible background assumptions, these two principles are incompatible, provided that conditional excluded middle is understood in a certain modalized way. We then show that some (although not all) arguments (...)
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