The Triviality Result is not Counter-Intuitive

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The Equation (TE) states that the probability of A → B is the probability of B given A (Jeffrey, 1964: 702–703). Lewis has shown that the acceptance of TE implies that the probability of A → B is the probability of B, which is implausible: the probability of a conditional cannot plausibly be the same as the probability of its consequent, e.g., the probability that the match will light given that is struck is not intuitively the same as the probability that it will light (Lewis, 1976: 299–300). Here I want to counter Lewis’ claim. My aim is to argue that: (1) (TE) doesn’t track the probability of A → B, but instead our willingness to employ it on a modus ponens; (2) the triviality result doesn’t strike us as implausible if our willingness to employ A → B on a modus ponens implies a similar result; (3) (TE) is still inadequate in this limited role given that some conditionals are only employable on a modus tollens or can’t be employed on a modus ponens; (4) (TE) does not have the logical significance that is usually attributed to it, since inferential disposition is a pragmatic phenomenon.
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First archival date: 2020-01-30
Latest version: 2 (2020-02-08)
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