kenny - Chapter 20 Support Theories Kenny Easwaran December...

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Chapter 20: Support Theories Kenny Easwaran December 7, 2004 119: Worlds and consequences There are two main types of theories for counterfactual conditionals. We have already seen Worlds Theories, which say that ‘ A > C ’ means ‘All worlds (in class K ) satisfying A also satisfy C .’ Support Theories like Goodman’s say something like ‘ A > C ’ means ‘There is a true proposition Support (satisfying certain conditions) such that A Support Laws entails C , where Laws is the conjunction of all actual causal laws.’ The discussion in previous chapters have been attempts at spelling out just what class K is (e.g., the worlds should be identical to the actual world up to some time t and should have very few violations of causal laws, etc.). One advantage of Support Theories is that they account for many inde- pendent conditionals in the same way as dependent ones. However, Worlds Theories allow us to consider counterlegals in addition to standard dependent conditionals. Paraconsistency and how to tweak the Worlds Theory. .. But since Bennett considers both counterlegals and independent conditionals to be some- what marginal, neither of these considerations will carry much weight. Bennett suggests that this distinction might not be as clear as it seems, since each of these theories can be expressed in the terms of the other. Bennett says that the Support Theory can be expressed in terms of Worlds Theory, just by letting the condition K on worlds be that the world satisfies all actual causal laws, as well as Support , which we should be able to spell out from our Support Theory. However, he later emphasizes the fact that Support is merely quantified over, rather than specified, so the Worlds formulation would need to quantify over K to be equivalent. In addition, in order for this to be equivalent to the Support Theory it replaces, we would need to consider all logically possible worlds, while Worlds Theories discussed earlier seem to only consider all metaphysically possible worlds, which may be a reduced class. (This is a further worry that may be addressed to many of Bennett’s metaphysical claims about Worlds Theories. If he doesn’t subscribe to Lewis’ full-fledged views that all conceivable worlds actually exist, then the truth-values of some counterfactuals will turn on whether or not some describable and conceivable situation actually holds in any metaphysically possible world or not.) Bennett’s argument that Worlds Theories can be expressed in terms of Sup- port Theories seems to me substantially weaker. He claims that for any class 1
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K of worlds, there is a proposition that is true exactly of the worlds in that class. We can leave aside the question of whether distinct worlds might satisfy exactly the same propositions, because it doesn’t matter whether one or all of a collection of such equivalent worlds are in K , because either all will satisfy C or none will. I will also ignore the fact that Support Theories use
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This note was uploaded on 08/01/2008 for the course PHIL 290 taught by Professor Fitelson during the Fall '06 term at Berkeley.

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kenny - Chapter 20 Support Theories Kenny Easwaran December...

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