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Might-counterfactuals and the principle of conditional excluded middle

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XII Taller d'Investigació en Filosofia


Owing to the problem of inescapable clashes, epistemic accounts of might-counterfactuals have recently gained traction. In a different vein, the might argument against conditional excluded middle has rendered the latter a contentious principle to incorporate into a logic for conditionals. The aim of this paper is to rescue both ontic mightcounterfactuals and conditional excluded middle from these disparate debates and show them to be compatible. I argue that the antecedent of a might-counterfactual is semantically underdetermined with respect to the counterfactual worlds it selects for evaluation. This explains how might-counterfactuals select multiple counterfactual worlds as they apparently do and why their utterance confers a weaker alethic commitment on the speaker than does that of a would-counterfactual, as well as provides an ontic solution to inescapable clashes. I briefly sketch how the semantic underdetermination and truth conditions of mightcounterfactuals are regulated by conversational context.

English, Portuguese
Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Philosophy, Selected Philosophical Movements, Analytical Philosophy