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Brian Leahy
Harvard University
  1. Mental Files and Belief: A Cognitive Theory of How Children Represent Belief and its Intensionality.Josef Perner, Michael Huemer & Brian Leahy - 2015 - Cognition 145:77-88.
    We provide a cognitive analysis of how children represent belief using mental files. We explain why children who pass the false belief test are not aware of the intensionality of belief. Fifty-one 3½- to 7-year old children were familiarized with a dual object, e.g., a ball that rattles and is described as a rattle. They observed how a puppet agent witnessed the ball being put into box 1. In the agent’s absence the ball was taken from box 1, the child (...)
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  2. Presuppositions and Antipresuppositions in Conditionals.Brian Leahy - 2011 - Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory:257-274.
    Abstract Utterances of counterfactual conditionals are typically attended by the information that their antecedents are false. But there is as yet no account of the source of this information that is both detailed and complete. This paper describes the problem of counterfactual antecedent falsity and argues that the problem can be addressed by appeal to an adequate account of the presuppositions of various competing conditional constructions. It argues that indicative conditionals presuppose that their antecedents are epistemically possible, while subjunctive conditionals (...)
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  3. Basic Conditional Reasoning: How Children Mimic Counterfactual Reasoning.Brian Leahy, Eva Rafetseder & Josef Perner - 2014 - Studia Logica 102 (4):793-810.
    Children approach counterfactual questions about stories with a reasoning strategy that falls short of adults’ Counterfactual Reasoning (CFR). It was dubbed “Basic Conditional Reasoning” (BCR) in Rafetseder et al. (Child Dev 81(1):376–389, 2010). In this paper we provide a characterisation of the differences between BCR and CFR using a distinction between permanent and nonpermanent features of stories and Lewis/Stalnaker counterfactual logic. The critical difference pertains to how consistency between a story and a conditional antecedent incompatible with a nonpermanent feature of (...)
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