Paper on unspecific antecedents

A new paper (draft) on counterfactuals with unspecific antecedents, to appear in a festschrift for Al Hájek. The paper discusses a range of phenomena related to the "Simplification of Disjunctive Antecedents". I argue that they can't be explained by a chance-based account of counterfactuals, as Hájek has suggested. Instead, I hint at an RSA-type explanation. I also suggest that this explanation might somewhat weaken the case for counterfactual skepticism.

I regret how much time I have spent on this topic. I first noticed it in 2006, and thought I had a nice explanation. When I posted it on the blog, Kai von Fintel kindly pointed me towards some literature. A little later, Paolo Santorio suggested that my explanation resembles the one in Klinedinst (2007). This seemed right, but I had in mind a more pragmatic implementation. I eventually wrote up my proposal in Schwarz (2021). Although my original interest was sparked by conditionals, that paper focuses on possibility modals, and only briefly mentions how the account might be extended to conditionals. When I got the invitation to write something for Al's festschrift, I thought I could spell out the application to conditionals, and compare it with Al's account. But I couldn't really make it work. So I ended up defending a more orthodox derivation based on Kratzer and Shimoyama (2002).

Klinedinst, Nathan W. 2007. “Plurality and Possibility.” PhD thesis, Los Angeles.
Kratzer, Angelika, and Junko Shimoyama. 2002. “Indeterminate Pronouns: The View from Japanese.” In Proceedings of the 3rd Tokyo Conference on Psycholinguistics, 1–25. Tokyo: Hituzi Syobo.
Schwarz, Wolfgang. 2021. “Discourse, Diversity, and Free Choice.” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (1): 48–67.


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