On Conceiving the Inconsistent

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (1pt1):103-121 (2014)
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I present an approach to our conceiving absolute impossibilities—things which obtain at no possible world—in terms of ceteris paribus intentional operators: variably restricted quantifiers on possible and impossible worlds based on world similarity. The explicit content of a representation plays a role similar in some respects to the one of a ceteris paribus conditional antecedent. I discuss how such operators invalidate logical closure for conceivability, and how similarity works when impossible worlds are around. Unlike what happens with ceteris paribus counterfactual conditionals, the closest worlds are relevantly closest belief-worlds: closest to how things are believed to be, rather than to how they are. Also, closeness takes into account apriority and the opacity of intentional contexts.

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Franz Berto
University of St. Andrews


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