In Defence of Extensional Evidence


Intensional evidence is any reason to accept a proposition that is not the truth values of the proposition accepted or, if it is a complex proposition, is not the truth values of its propositional contents. Extensional evidence is non-intensional evidence. Someone can accept a complex proposition, but deny its logical consequences when her acceptance is based on intensional evidence, while the logical consequences of the proposition presuppose the acceptance of extensional evidence, e.g., she can refuse the logical consequence of a proposition she accepts because she doesn’t know what are the truth-values of its propositional contents. This tension motivates counterexamples to the negation of conditionals, the propositional analysis of conditionals, hypothetical syllogism, contraposition and or-to-if. It is argued that these counterexamples are non-starters because they rely on a mix of intensionally based premises and extensionally based conclusions. Instead, a genuine counterexample to classical argumentative forms should present circumstances where an intuitively true and extensionally based premise leads to an intuitively false conclusion that is also extensionally based. The other point is that evidentiary concerns about intensionally based beliefs should be constrained by the truth conditions of propositions presented by classical logic, which are nothing more than coherence requirements in distributions of truth value. It is argued that this restriction also dissolves some known puzzles such as conditional stand-offs, Adams pair, the opt-out property, and the burglar’s puzzle.

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