Careful What You Wish

Philosophia 46 (1):21-38 (2018)
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Dilip Ninan has raised a puzzle for centered world accounts of de re attitude reports extended to accommodate what he calls “counterfactual attitudes.” As a solution, Ninan introduces multiple centers to the standard centered world framework, resulting in a more robust semantics for de re attitude reports. However, while the so-called multi-centered world proposal solves Ninan’s counterfactual puzzle, this additional machinery is not without problems. In Section 1, I present the centered world account of attitude reports, followed by the extension to counterfactual attitudes which Ninan targets with his puzzle. In Section 2, I pose the counterfactual puzzle and present Ninan’s multi-centered world solution, emphasizing similarities and differences between multi-centered and centered world accounts of attitude reports. In Section 3, I argue the counterfactual attitude wishing falls under the purview of the multi-centered proposal, but that the proposal generates false predictions for wish reports concerning unsatisfiable content. I canvass responses, ultimately concluding Ninan’s proposal requires substantial revisions.

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John Beverley
University at Buffalo


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