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An Extended Lewis/Stalnaker Semantics and the New Problem of Counterpossibles

Jeffrey Goodman

Abstract


Closest-possible-world analyses of counterfactuals suffer from what has been called the ‘problem of counterpossibles': some counterfactuals with metaphysically impossible antecedents seem plainly false, but the proposed analyses imply that they are all (vacuously) true. One alleged solution to this problem is the addition of impossible worlds. In this paper, I argue that the closest possible or impossible world analyses that have recently been suggested suffer from the ‘new problem of counterpossibles': the proposed analyses imply that some plainly true counterpossibles (viz., ‘counterlogicals') are false. After motivating and presenting the ‘new problem', I give reasons to think that the most plausible objection to my argument is not compelling.

Philosophical Papers Vol.33(1) 2004: 35-66



http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/05568640409485135
AJOL African Journals Online