The Material Conditional is Sufficient to Model Deliberation

Erkenntnis 88 (1):325-349 (2021)
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There is an ongoing debate in the philosophical literature whether the conditionals that are central to deliberation are subjunctive or indicative conditionals and, if the latter, what semantics of the indicative conditional is compatible with the role that conditionals play in deliberation. We propose a possible-world semantics where conditionals of the form “if I take action _a_ the outcome will be _x_” are interpreted as material conditionals. The proposed framework is illustrated with familiar examples and both qualitative and probabilistic beliefs are considered. Issues such as common-cause cases and ‘Egan-style’ cases are discussed.

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Giacomo Bonanno
University of California, Davis


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