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LINGUISTIX&LOGIK, Tony Marmo's blog
Thursday, 10 December 2009

Topic: Counterfactuals
Counterfactual desire as belief
By J. Robert G. Williams

Bryne & Hájek (1997) argue that Lewis's (1988; 1996) objections to identifying desire with belief do not go through if our notion of desire is ‘causalized' (characterized by causal, rather than evidential, decision theory). I argue that versions of the argument go through on certain assumptions about the formulation of decision theory. There is one version of causal decision theory where the original arguments cannot be formulated-the ‘imaging' formulation that Joyce (1999) advocates. But I argue this formulation is independently objectionable. If we want to maintain the desire as belief thesis, there's no shortcut through causalization.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 01:44 GMT
Updated: Thursday, 7 January 2010 23:32 GMT
Thursday, 31 January 2008

Topic: Counterfactuals
Causal Structuralism, 
Dispositional Actualism, and
Counterfactual Conditionals
By Antony Eagle

Dispositional essentialists are typically committed to two claims: that properties are individuated by their causal role (‘causal structuralism’), and that natural necessity is to be explained by appeal to these causal roles (‘dispositional actualism’). I argue that these two claims cannot be  simultaneously maintained; and that the correct response is to deny dispositional actualism. Causal structuralism remains an attractive position, but doesn’t in fact provide much support for dispositional essentialism.
Forthcoming in Toby Handfield (ed) Dispositions Causes, OUP 
Source:Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 06:42 GMT
Updated: Thursday, 31 January 2008 07:04 GMT
Friday, 31 August 2007

Topic: Counterfactuals
By Igal Kvart

In this paper I first go through an argument against cause transitivity, then sketch the theories of probabilistic cause and counterfactuals that I advanced. I then proceed to the main goal of this paper: to present the counterfactual analysis of cause that follows from them.

Appeared in Synthese 127: 389-427, 2001.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 18:48 BST

Topic: Counterfactuals



By Richard Otte

Philosophers have often attempted to use counterfactual conditionals to analyze probability. This article focuses on counterfactual analyzes of epistemic probability by Alvin Plantinga and Peter van Inwagen. I argue that a certain type of counterfactual situation creates problems for these analyses. I then argue that Plantinga's intuition about the role of warrant in epistemic probability is mistaken. Both van Inwagen's and Plantinga's intuitions about epistemic probability are flawed.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Posted by Tony Marmo at 18:27 BST
Updated: Friday, 31 August 2007 18:44 BST

Topic: Counterfactuals
Impossible Worlds and Knowledge of Necessary Truths
By Allan Hazlett

I propose that safety and sensitivity conditionals may be used to explain the reliability of beliefs in necessary truths, by appeal to a non-standard semantics for counterfactuals with impossible antecedents and necessarily true consequents. 
Source: Online Papers in Philosophy  

Posted by Tony Marmo at 18:11 BST
Wednesday, 12 April 2006

Topic: Counterfactuals

Conditional Excluded Middle in Systems of Consequential Implication

By Claudio Pizzi & Timothy Williamson

It is natural to ask under what conditions negating a conditional is equivalent to negating its consequent. Given a bivalent background logic, this is equivalent to asking about the conjunction of Conditional Excluded Middle (CEM, opposite conditionals are not both false) and Weak Boethius’ Thesis (WBT, opposite conditionals are not both true). In the system CI.0 of consequential implication, which is intertranslatable with the modal logic KT, WBT is a theorem, so it is natural to ask which instances of CEM are derivable. We also investigate the systems CIw and CI of consequential implication, corresponding to the modal logics K and KD respectively, with occasional remarks about stronger systems. While unrestricted CEM produces modal collapse in all these systems, CEM restricted to contingent formulas yields the Alt2 axiom (semantically, each world can see at most two worlds), which corresponds to the symmetry of consequential implication. It is proved that in all the main systems considered, a given instance of CEM is derivable if and only if the result of replacing consequential implication by the material biconditional in one or other of its disjuncts is provable. Several related results are also proved. The methods of the paper are those of propositional modal logic as applied to a special sort of conditional.

Appeared at the Journal of Philosophical Logic 34, 4 (2005): 333-362

Posted by Tony Marmo at 05:58 BST

Topic: Counterfactuals

Gestalt Effects in Counterfactual and Abductive Inference

By Claudio Pizzi

This paper begins by focusing the basic idea that Gestalt phenomena belong not only to the realm of perception but to the realm of inference. It is shown that Gestalt effects (i.e. the derivability of incompatible indifferent conclusions on the basis of the same background information) often occur both in counterfactual and in ampliative – i.e. inductive and abductive – reasoning. The main thesis of the paper is that the common feature of such forms of non-deductive reasoning is provided by a rational selection between incompatible conclusions, where rationality lies in the choice of the alternative which preserves the maximum of background information. It is also stressed a distinction between a weak and a strong notion of incompatibility. Such distinction may help in giving account of some alleged Gestalt phenomena which have been recognized in theory construction and theory change.

Keywords: Abduction, Counterfactuals, Induction, Gestalt, Rationality

To appear in the L. J. of the IGPL

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Wednesday, 12 April 2006 05:49 BST
Thursday, 6 April 2006

Topic: Counterfactuals

Counterfactuals in a Dynamic Context

By Kai von Fintel

This paper has presented a sketch of an alternative implementation of the standard possible worlds semantics of counterfactuals.

The Presupposition of Subjunctive Conditionals

By Kai von Fintel

Why are some conditionals subjunctive? It is often assumed that at least one crucial difference is that subjunctive conditionals presuppose that their antecedent is false, that they are counterfactual (Lakoff 1970). The traditional theory has apparently been refuted. Perhaps the clearest counter-example is one given by Alan Anderson (1951: 37): If Jones had taken arsenic, he would have shown just exactly those symptoms which he does in fact show. A typical place to use such a subjunctive conditional would be in the course of an argument that tries to bolster the hypothesis that Jones did in fact take arsenic. But then it would of course be self-defeating to presuppose that the hypothesis is false. Thus, something else must be going on.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 BST
Updated: Friday, 7 April 2006 01:45 BST
Wednesday, 18 January 2006

Topic: Counterfactuals

The Content of Counterfactuals and their Role in Explanation

( Or The Benefit of Hindsight)

By Dorothy Edgington

What are counterfactuals for? The question is pressing. Why do we evaluate counterfactuals the way we do? What would go wrong for us if we chose to evaluate them in some other way, e.g. according to the "standard picture"? The question deserves more attention than it has had in the vast literature on counterfactuals. I don't pretend to an exhaustive answer, but highlight some important aspects of their use.

We use counterfactuals in empirical inferences to conclusions about what is actually the case. We need to try to get them right, in order to avoid, as much as possible, arriving at wrong conclusions about what is the case.

We have seen a way in which our counterfactual judgements explain and justify our other beliefs. Of course they play other roles. As is implicit in several of my earlier examples, they also explain and justify our reactions of being glad or sorry, relieved or regretful, that such-and-such has happened.

Posted by Tony Marmo at 04:04 GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 18 January 2006 04:16 GMT
Saturday, 14 January 2006

Topic: Counterfactuals

‘Could have done otherwise’, action sentences and anaphora

By Helen Stewart

What does it mean to say of a certain agent, S, that he or she could have done otherwise? Clearly, it means nothing at all, unless the anaphoric devices within the sentence have been anchored to definite antecedents. In this paper, I shall argue that there may be more ways of effecting this anchoring than is commonly supposed, and hence more questions potentially available to be asked by means of the formulation ‘Could S have done otherwise?’ than is generally assumed to be the case in most of the relevant literature.

Forthcoming in Analysis, July 2006

Posted by Tony Marmo at 05:17 GMT
Updated: Saturday, 14 January 2006 05:18 GMT
Wednesday, 11 January 2006

Topic: Counterfactuals


By Douglas Kutach

A prominent strategy for evaluating whether a counterfactual's truth is to seek out the most similar worlds where the antecedent is true, with similarity given by some theory. I discuss a few new counterexamples to Lewis' theory of overall similarity that are more compelling than other counterexamples because they indicate that a system like Lewis' cannot be fixed. The problem with the similarity approach is that it too narrowly limits the ways we can interpret counterfactual conditionals.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Reposted firstly on March the 11th, 2005

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006 04:35 GMT

Topic: Counterfactuals

Chances, Counterfactuals and Similarity

By Robert Williams

John Hawthorne in a recent paper takes issue with Lewisian accounts of counterfactuals, when relevant laws of nature are chancy. I respond to his arguments on behalf of the Lewisian, and conclude that while some can be rebutted, the case against the original Lewisian account is strong. I develop a revised neo-Lewisian account of what makes for closeness of worlds in the context of chancy laws of nature. I argue that my revised version avoids Hawthorne's challenges. I argue that this is closer to the spirit of Lewis' first (non-chancy) proposal than is Lewis' own suggested modification.

Source: Online Papers in Philosophy

Firstly reposted on March the 11th, 2005

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006 04:28 GMT

Topic: Counterfactuals

A Causal Theory of Counterfactuals

By Eric Hiddleston

I develop an account of counterfactual conditionals using causal models, and argue that this account is preferable to the currently standard account in terms of similarity of possible worlds due to David Lewis and Robert Stalnaker. I diagnose the attraction of counterfactual theories of causation, and argue that it is illusory.

Appeared in Nous

Firstly reposted on Mach the 11th, 2005

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006 04:30 GMT

Topic: Counterfactuals


By Alan Penczek

One criticism of David Lewis' account of counterfactuals is that it sometimes assigns the wrong truth-value to a counterfactual when both antecedent and consequent happen to be true. Lewis has suggested a possible remedy to this situation, but commentators have found this to be unsatisfactory. I suggest an alternative solution which involves a modification of Lewis' truth conditions, but which confines itself to the resources already present in his account. This modification involves the device of embedding one counterfactual within another. On the revised set of truth conditions, counterfactuals with true components are sometimes true and sometimes false, in a way that is more in keeping with our intuitive judgments about such statements.

Source: Erkenntnis, Volume 46, Number 1, January 1997, Pages: 79 - 85

First reposted on March the 11th, 2005

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006 04:38 GMT

Topic: Counterfactuals

The Grammatical Ingredients of Counterfactuality

By Sabine Iatridou

Counterfactual constructions convey the meaning that the speaker believes a certain proposition not to hold. This article investigates the morphosyntactic composition of counterfactual conditionals and counterfactual wishes and the question of how the form of counterfactuals is related to their meaning. Across languages, there are combinations of tense, mood, and aspect morphemes that are used repeatedly in the expression of counterfactuality. I discuss the role of all three components.

Keywords: aspect, conditionals, counterfactuals, mood, tense, wishes
Appeared in Linguistic Inquiry

Reposted once on March the 11th, 2005

Posted by Tony Marmo at 00:01 GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006 04:32 GMT

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