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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp019g54xm31s
Title: New Work on the Old World Order
Authors: Nichols, Cory
Advisors: Kment, Boris
Contributors: Philosophy Department
Keywords: conditionals
counterfactuals
modal language
modals
possible world semantics
semantics
Subjects: Philosophy
Linguistics
Logic
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation is a collection of three independent but related papers on conditionals and modal language in general. The first paper, “Rethinking Similarity”, discusses some problem cases (some new, some known) for the standard style of semantics for counterfactual conditionals, and develops a positive theory designed to account for these cases. According to what I call the Similarity First Paradigm, which includes the influential theories of David Lewis, Robert Stalnaker, and Angelika Kratzer, a counterfactual of the form If A were the case, then C would be the case is true if and only if (roughly) the closest A-worlds are C-worlds, where the closeness of one world to another is a matter of how similar they are in the right kinds of ways. According to my view, context determines a range of relevant ways that A might be true, which I model as subsets of the set of A-worlds, and the counterfactual is true iff the closest worlds in each of those sets are C-worlds. The second paper, “Strict Conditional Accounts of Counterfactuals”, introduces several novel problem cases for the dynamic strict conditional analysis of counterfactuals, due to recent work by Kai von Fintel and Thony Gillies, and works through some possible amendments of the view that seem to fail in response to these cases. I also consider the leading competing account of the conditional data motivating the strict conditional view, and show that it appears to have no special trouble accounting for my cases as well. The third paper, “New Puzzles for Kratzer’s Modals”, introduces three novel problem cases for Angelika Kratzer’s extremely influential semantic framework for modal language (e.g. must and can), which is intimately related to her analysis of conditionals. In the first two cases I propose amendments to the view that I think may handle the data, in one case appealing to Kratzer’s own analysis of conditionals. In the third case I can see no such possibility, but I do offer a diagnosis of the problem that is instructive about the analysis of modality in language in general. The third paper, “New Puzzles for Kratzer’s Modals”, introduces three novel problem cases for Angelika Kratzer’s extremely influential semantic framework for modal language (e.g. must and can), which is intimately related to her analysis of conditionals. In the first two cases I propose amendments to the view that I think may handle the data, in one case appealing to Kratzer’s own analysis of conditionals. In the third case I can see no such possibility, but I do offer a diagnosis of the problem that is instructive about the analysis of modality in language in general.
URI: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp019g54xm31s
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog: catalog.princeton.edu
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Philosophy

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