The Jowett Society (Friday - Week 6, TT21)

Philosophical Society

I will argue for a contextualist theory of the probabilities of conditionals. On the one hand, there is substantial intuitive appeal to the principle sometimes called ‘The Thesis’, which says that the probability of a conditional invariably goes by the probability of the consequent conditional on the antecedent. On the other hand, it is well known that The Thesis cannot, for purely formal reasons, hold in general. And in fact, there are plenty of intuitive cases where it fails. I will argue that, with the right story of the context-sensitivity of conditionals (a picture I develop in ‘If p, then p!’), together with a variant of van Fraassen (1976)’s construction for extending probability measures to conditionals, we can tell a good story about the probabilities of conditionals, a story which gets us just the right amount of The Thesis.

Jowett Society Organising Committee: Sophie Nagler | Jowett Society Website