Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Probability, Evidential Support, and the Logic of Conditionals [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 12 • Author/s: Vincenzo Crupi, Andrea Iacona
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language

Once upon a time, some thought that indicative conditionals could be effectively analyzed as material conditionals. Later on, an alternative theoretical construct has prevailed and received wide acceptance, namely, the conditional probability of the consequent given the antecedent. Partly following critical remarks recently appeared in the literature, we suggest that evidential support—rather than conditional probability alone—is key to understand indicative conditionals. There have been motivated concerns that a theory of evidential conditionals (unlike their more traditional counterparts) cannot generate a sufficiently interesting logical system. Here, we will describe results dispelling…

Towards a Unified Theory for Conditional Sentences [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 12 • Author/s: Elena Nulvesu
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of science

A unified shared theory of conditionals does not still exist. Some theories seem suitable only for indicative but not for counterfactual ones (or vice versa), while others work well with simple conditionals but not compound ones. Ernest Adams’ approach—one of the most successful theories as far as indicative conditional are concerned—is based on a reformulation of Ramsey’s Test in a probabilistic thesis known as “The Equation”. While the so-called Lewis’ Triviality Results support Adams’ view that conditionals do not express genuine statements, the problem arises whether these results lead inevitably…

On Compound and Iterated Conditionals [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 12 • Author/s: Angelo Gilio, Giuseppe Sanfilippo
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of science

We illustrate the notions of compound and iterated conditionals introduced, in recent papers, as suitable conditional random quantities, in the framework of coherence. We motivate our definitions by examining some concrete examples. Our logical operations among conditional events satisfy the basic probabilistic properties valid for unconditional events. We show that some, intuitively acceptable, compound sentences on conditionals can be analyzed in a rigorous way in terms of suitable iterated conditionals. We discuss the Import-Export principle, which is not valid in our approach, by also examining the inference from a material…

Discovering Early de Finetti’s Writings on Trivalent Theory of Conditionals [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 12 • Author/s: Jean Baratgin
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of science

The trivalent and functional theory of the truth of conditionals developed by Bruno de Finetti has recently gathered renewed interests, particularly from philosophical logic, psychology and linguistics. It is generally accepted that de Finetti introduced his theory in 1935. However, a reading of his first publications indicates an earlier conception of almost all his theory. We bring to light a manuscript and unknown writings, dating back to 1928 and 1932, detailing de Finetti’s theory. The two concepts of thesis and hypothesis are presented as a cornerstone on which logical connectives…

Bypassing Lewis’ Triviality Results. A Kripke-Style Partial Semantics for Compounds of Adams’ Conditionals [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 12 • Author/s: Alberto Mura
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language

According to Lewis’ Triviality Results (LTR), conditionals cannot satisfy the equation (E) P(C if A) = P(C | A), except in trivial cases. Ernst Adams (1975), however, provided a probabilistic semantics for the so-called simple conditionals that also satisfies equation (E) and provides a probabilistic counterpart of logical consequence (called p-entailment). Adams’ probabilistic semantics is coextensive to Stalnaker-Thomason’s (1970) and Lewis’ (1973) semantics as far as simple conditionals are concerned. A theorem, proved in McGee 1981, shows that no truth-functional many-valued logic allows a relation of logical consequence coextensive with…

Logical Essence [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Jessica Leech
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology, Philosophical logic

An increasingly popular view at the intersection of logic and metaphysics is that logical necessities have their source in the essences of logical entities: metaphysical necessity has its source in the essences or natures of things, and logical necessity is a restriction of metaphysical necessity. But logical and metaphysical necessity are, nevertheless, importantly distinct: there are metaphysical necessities that are not logical necessities. I raise a serious problem for this essentialist view. It seems as though they must misclassify some merely metaphysical necessities as logical necessities. I argue that the…

Indicative Conditionals as Strict Conditionals

Issue: Issue 07 • Author/s: Andrea Iacona
Topics: Philosophical logic

This paper is intended to show that, at least in a considerably wide class of cases, indicative conditionals are adequately formalized as strict conditionals. The first part of the paper outlines three arguments that support the strict conditional view, that is, three reasons for thinking that an indicative conditional is true just in case it is impossible that its antecedent is true and its consequent is false. The second part of the paper develops the strict conditional view and defends it from some foreseeable objections.  

All Constitutive Rules are Created Equal [Discussion]

Issue: Issue 08 • Author/s: Yuval Eylon
Topics: Epistemology, History of Analytic Philosophy, Philosophical logic

Constitutive rules are traditionally conceived as defining what does count as a move within a practice and what does not (Williamson 1996). In the context of games, this means that constitutive rules define what counts as playing the given game. Thus, it follows that a player who intentionally breaks the rules of the game is not playing the game.

Essence, Necessity, and Non-Generative Metaphysical Explanation [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Michael Wallner
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology, Philosophical logic

Finean essentialists take metaphysical necessity to be metaphysically explained by essence. But whence the explanatory power of essence? A recent wave of criticism against the Finean account has put pressure on essentialists to answer this question. Wallner and Vaidya (2020) have responded by offering an axiomatic account of the explanatory power of essence. This paper discusses their account in light of some recent criticism by Bovey (2022). Building on work by Glazier (2017), Bovey succeeds in showing that Wallner and Vaidya’s account is in need of modification and clarification. In…

Relativized Essentialism about Modalities [Special Issue]

Issue: Issue 14 • Author/s: Salim Hirèche
Topics: Epistemology, Metaphysics, Modal Logic, Ontology, Philosophical logic

On what I call absolutist essentialism about modality (AE), the metaphysical necessities are the propositions that are true in virtue of the essence (i.e. Aristotelian, absolute essence) of some entities. Other kinds of necessity can then be defined by restriction—e.g. the conceptual necessities are the propositions that are true in virtue of the essence of conceptual entities specifically. As an account of metaphysical modality and some other kinds (e.g. logical, conceptual), AE may have important virtues. However, when it comes to accounting for further important kinds, like natural or normative…
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