Two switches in the theory of counterfactuals View Full Text


Ontology type: schema:ScholarlyArticle      Open Access: True


Article Info

DATE

2018-12

AUTHORS

Ivano Ciardelli, Linmin Zhang, Lucas Champollion

ABSTRACT

Based on a crowdsourced truth value judgment experiment, we provide empirical evidence challenging two classical views in semantics, and we develop a novel account of counterfactuals that combines ideas from inquisitive semantics and causal reasoning. First, we show that two truth-conditionally equivalent clauses can make different semantic contributions when embedded in a counterfactual antecedent. Assuming compositionality, this means that the meaning of these clauses is not fully determined by their truth conditions. This finding has a clear explanation in inquisitive semantics: truth-conditionally equivalent clauses may be associated with different propositional alternatives, each of which counts as a separate counterfactual assumption. Second, we show that our results contradict the common idea that the interpretation of a counterfactual involves minimizing change with respect to the actual state of affairs. We propose to replace the idea of minimal change by a distinction between foreground and background for a given counterfactual assumption: the background is held fixed in the counterfactual situation, while the foreground can be varied without any minimality constraint. More... »

PAGES

1-45

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  • Identifiers

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    http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1007/s10988-018-9232-4

    DOI

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10988-018-9232-4

    DIMENSIONS

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    258 Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Ludwigstraße 31, 80539, Munich, Germany
    259 rdf:type schema:Organization
     




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