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Unformatted text preview: Branden Fitelson Philosophy 290 Notes 1 Conditionals Seminar: Day 1 Administrative: Course Website has all the details (see, mainly, the syllabus) http://socrates.berkeley.edu/ fitelson/conditionals/ Introductory Remarks: Chapter 1 of Bennett Some Questions Defining Conditional Challenging the Ternary Structure Two Types of Conditional Labels for the Two Types [skipped] The Relocation Thesis Independent Conditionals Idioms [skipped] UCB Philosophy I C 08 / 31 / 04 Branden Fitelson Philosophy 290 Notes 2 Administrative All details about the course are on the course website. The website will be updated regularly. The syllabus will tell you what you need to read in the text (and it will have links to some salient further readings). Basically, we will be working our way through (at least most of) Bennetts book A Philosophical Guide to Conditionals (OUP 2003). Prerequisites: At least two courses in philosophy, one of which should be logic (the equivalent of our 12A). Ideally, this course is for graduate students or junior / senior majors in philosophy. Readings are not trivial. Requirements: (1) presentation (writing and presenting a 46-page paper on readings: 30%), (2) term paper (1215 pages: 70%). Schedule: see syllabus page as course evolves. I will present for the first 34 weeks, then student presentations (scheduled soon). Usually, we read 12 chapters of Bennett per week. We may not cover the whole book. Re-read passages, and come armed with questions! UCB Philosophy I C 08 / 31 / 04 Branden Fitelson Philosophy 290 Notes 3 Bennett Chapter 1.1: Some Questions He begins with some examples of subjunctive conditional statements: If the American Ambassador had understood her instructions, Iraq would not have invaded Kuwait. If rabbits had not been introduced into New Zealand, there would be none there today. He says that many informed people believe these statements are true, even though their If clauses are contrary to fact ( i.e. , false ). A long-standing puzzle in philosophy concerns the epistemology of such claims. How can we come to know such statements are true? In order to answer this question, it helps to have an account of the conditions under which such conditionals are true (more below). Other conditionals do not involve what would have been , only what is . Bennett will ultimately call such statements indicative conditionals: UCB Philosophy I C 08 / 31 / 04 Branden Fitelson Philosophy 290 Notes 4 If they have chains on their tires, then there is snow in the pass. If he learned about that from Alice, then she broke her promise. These also raise epistemic problems, since we seem to learn...
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