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Subjunctive conditional probability

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    Rights statement: The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10992-016-9416-8.

    Accepted author manuscript, 337 KB, PDF-document

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
JournalJournal of Philosophical Logic
Early online date14 Nov 2016
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Nov 2016

Abstract

There seem to be two ways of supposing a proposition: supposing “indicatively” that Shakespeare didn’t write Hamlet, it is likely that someone else did; supposing “subjunctively” that Shakespeare hadn’t written Hamlet, it is likely that nobody would have written the play. Let P(B//A) be the probability of B on the subjunctive supposition that A. Is P(B//A) equal to the probability of the corresponding counterfactual, A□→B? I review recent triviality arguments against this hypothesis and argue that they do not succeed. On the other hand, I argue that even if we can equate P(B//A) with P(A□→B), we still need an account of how subjunctive conditional probabilities are related to unconditional probabilities. The triviality arguments reveal that the connection is not as straightforward as one might have hoped.

    Research areas

  • Probability , Supposition , Counterfactuals , Triviality , Decision theory

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