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Unformatted text preview: 1 Ellen Bales November 9, 2004 15. Truth at the Actual World 89. Similarity in Matters of Particular Fact On Bennetts account there are at least three things we know we must attend to in evaluating the forward subjunctive conditional in a possible worlds model. To wit, we must go to A-worlds that: 1) sufficiently resemble the actual world until shortly before T A. 2) fork in an admissible waythat is, through a different outcome of an indeterminacy, a small miracle, or an exploding differencein a direction that makes A true at them 3) conform to the laws of from the fork onwards Bennett asks if this is the whole banana or do states of after T A come into the analysis? Here, he says, we encounter a problem we must look into further. To try to solve it, he thinks, it will first help to simplify our thoughts about A > C by pretending that there can only be one admissible fork when we evaluate the conditional and that its date and nature are the same at all candidates for the title of closest A-world. So up to T F , these worlds are exactly the same and all we have to consider is how they differ in times thereafter and how such differences affect closeness. Bennett asks if we have any basis for preferring some of these worlds over others. Taking as givens that these worlds are exactly alike at T F and are law-abiding from then on, they can only later become unalike through indeterminacy. We have a problem then if is not strictly deterministic because in that case, the worlds in question could develop differently after T F . Then we would want to know how these post-T F differences bear on the closeness of worlds issue. Particular Fact: Bennett gives us what he calls a tempting answer, a rhetorical clue that it isnt going to work or be satisfying (at least on his account). This is the particular fact theory: (PF) If (1) w 1 exactly resembles w 2 up to T F and (2) both conform to the laws of thereafter, and (3) they first become unalike in respect of one particular matter of post-T F fact that obtains at and w 1 but not at w 2 , then w 1 is closer to than w 2 is. Lewis discussed this issue in his 1979 paper, but according to Bennett, Lewis dismissed particular facts post-T A as being of little or no importance in determining closeness. Bennett 2 seems to imply that Lewis tosses away the argument by saying that when we try to decide between little and none in these cases, Different facts come out differently. Bennett wants to pursue the particulars of this phenomenon because it will be a starting point for his own theory of the truth conditions of subjunctive conditionals, as we will see in subsequent sections. He makes two arguments against using PF as a further determinant of closeness following Lewiss main theory (which determines closeness on the basis of exact likeness up to T F , smooth parting of worlds at T F , and strict legality thereafter). One is logical and the other is , and strict legality thereafter)....
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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 University of California, Berkeley.
- Fall '06