Citations of:
Add citations
You must login to add citations.


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 (...) 

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView. 

Bare conditionals, I argue, exhibit Conditional Duality in that when they appear in downward entailing environments they differ from bare conditionals elsewhere in having existential rather than universal force. Two recalcitrant phenomena are shown to find a new explanation under this thesis: bare conditionals under only, and bare conditionals in the scope of negative nominal quantifiers, or what has come to be known as Higginbotham’s puzzle. I also consider how bare conditionals behave when embedded under negation, arguing that such conditionals (...) 

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 (...) 

Recently, von Fintel (2001) and Gillies (2007) have argued that certain sequences of counterfactuals, namely reverse Sobel sequences, should motivate us to abandon standard truth conditional theories of counterfactuals for dynamic semantic theories. I argue that we can give a pragmatic account of our judgments about counterfactuals without giving up the standard semantics. In particular, I introduce a pragmatic principle governing assertability, and I use this principle to explain a variety of subtle data concerning reverse Sobel sequences. 

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 truthmakers for counterfactual claims. Moreover, I defend a new theory of ‘might’ counterfactuals, and develop assertability and knowledge criteria to suit such unobservable ‘counterfacts’. 



In debates concerning the consequence argument, it has long been claimed that McKay and Johnson (1996) demonstrated the invalidity of rule (β). Here, I argue that their result is not as robust as we might like to think. First, I argue that McKay and Johnson’s counterexample is successful if one adopts a certain interpretation of “no choice about” and if one is willing to deny the conditional excluded middle principle. In order to make this point I demonstrate that (β) is (...) 





The modal fictionalist faces a problem due to the fact that her chosen story seems to be incomplete—certain things are neither fictionally true nor fictionally false. The significance of this problem is not localized to modal fictionalism, however, since many fictionalists will face it too. By examining how the fictionalist should analyze the notion of truth according to her story, and, in particular, the role that conditionals play for the fictionalist, I develop a novel and elegant solution to the incompleteness (...) 



This paper develops a probabilistic analysis of conditionals which hinges on a quantitative measure of evidential support. In order to spell out the interpreta tion of ‘if’ suggested, we will compare it with two more familiar interpretations, the suppositional interpretation and the strict interpretation, within a formal framework which rests on fairly uncontroversial assumptions. As it will emerge, each of the three interpretations considered exhibits specific logical features that deserve separate consideration. 

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 (...) 

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. 

This paper discusses and relates two puzzles for indicative conditionals: a puzzle about indeterminacy and a puzzle about triviality. Both puzzles arise because of Ramsey's Observation, which states that the probability of a conditional is equal to the conditional probability of its consequent given its antecedent. The puzzle of indeterminacy is the problem of reconciling this fact about conditionals with the fact that they seem to lack truth values at worlds where their antecedents are false. The puzzle of triviality is (...) 

This paper argues that several leading theories of subjunctive conditionals are incompatible with ordinary intuitions about what credences we ought to have in subjunctive conditionals. In short, our theory of subjunctives should intuitively display semantic humility, i.e. our semantic theory should deliver the truth conditions of sentences without pronouncing on whether those conditions actually obtain. In addition to describing intuitions about subjunctive conditionals, I argue that we can derive these ordinary intuitions from justified premises, and I answer a possible worry (...) 

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 (...) 

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 (...) 

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 (...) 

‘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 (...) 

Many have accepted that ordinary counterfactuals and might counterfactuals are duals. In this paper, I show that this thesis leads to paradoxical results when combined with a few different unorthodox yet increasingly popular theses, including the thesis that counterfactuals are strict conditionals. Given Duality and several other theses, we can quickly infer the validity of another paradoxical principle, ‘The Counterfactual Direct Argument’, which says that ‘A> ’ entails ‘A> ’. First, I provide a collapse theorem for the ‘counterfactual direct argument’. (...) 

This paper explores the different ways in which conditionals can be carriers of good and bad news. I suggest a general measure of the desirability of conditionals, and use it to explore the different ways in which conditionals can have news value. I conclude by arguing that the desirability of a counterfactual conditional cannot be reduced to the desirability of factual propositions. 

The idea of fragmentalism has been proposed by Kit Fine as a nonstandard view of tense realism. This paper examines a modal version of the view, called modal fragmentalism, which combines genuine realism and realism of modality. Modal fragmentalism has been recently discussed by Iaquinto. But unlike Iaquinto, who primarily focused on possibilities de re, in this paper, we focus on expressions of possibilities de dicto. We argue that the chief idea of modal realism should be that different worlds are (...) 

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 epsilonoperator. The proposed semantics stays close to the standard account: the epsilonoperator substitutes the universal quantifier present in standard semantics by arbitrarily binding the open worldvariable. Various applications of the suggested semantics are explored including, in particular, an explanation of how the puzzling credences in counterfactuals come about. 

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 (...) 

A theoretically rigorous approach to the key problems of Molinism leads to a clear distinction between semantic and metaphysical problems. Answers to semantic problems do not provide answers to metaphysical problems that arise from the theory of middle knowledge. The socalled ‘grounding objection’ to Molinism raises a metaphysical problem. The most promising solution to it is a revised form of the traditional ‘essence solution’. Inspired by Leibniz’s idea of a ‘notio completa’ (complete concept), we propose a mathematical model of ‘possibilistic’ (...) 

The Adams Thesis holds for a conditional → and a probability assignment P if and only if P=P whenever P>0. The restriction ensures that P is well defined by the classical formula P=P/P. Drawing on deep results of Maharam on measure algebras, it is shown that, notwithstanding wellknown triviality results, any probability space can be extended to a probability space with a new conditional satisfying the Adams Thesis and satisfying a number of axioms for conditionals. This puts significant limits on (...) 



Owing to the problem of inescapable clashes, epistemic accounts of mightcounterfactuals 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 mightcounterfactual is semantically underdetermined with respect to the counterfactual (...) 

Higginbotham (1986) observed that quantified conditionals have a stronger meaning than might be expected, as attested by the apparent equivalence of examples like No student will pass if he goofs off and Every student will fail if he goofs off. Higginbotham's observation follows straightforwardly given the validity of conditional excluded middle (CEM; as observed by von Fintel & Iatridou 2002), and as such could be taken as evidence thereof (e.g. Williams forthcoming). However, the empirical status of CEM has been disputed, (...) 

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 (...) 

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 notψ. 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 (...) 