Over at Certain Doubts, they’re having a discussion of Sly Pete conditionals. Jon Kvanvig says, a propos of the pair of conditionals uttered,
Both assertions are appropriate, but both can’t be true (without introducing contextuality into the account).
I think that’s not right unless you’re just going to ignore the relativist. (Or treat the relativist as a kind of contextualist.) I think that both assertions are appropriate because both are true relative to the context in which they are uttered, though only the second assertion is true in both contexts. Some days I think that the Sly Pete cases are the strongest cases for relativism about indicative conditionals, which seems to be a very plausible theory to me.
In fact, it’s one of the four (major) things I want to do this year. I’m writing out that list here as a way of reminding myself to do them, and perhaps providing some needed encouragement. (Unlike Jason if I’d only written a 60 page article by February 10 I wouldn’t appear to regard that as having not done much!) Here they are:
- Finish up the paper on conditionals and relativism
- Write a paper on epistemic agency (defending my crazy beliefs about doxastic voluntarism and making them do epistemological work)
- Extend the paper on epistemic justification for functionalists to a paper on knowledge for functionalists
- Write a paper on the state of play in debates about dogmatism
There should be more on the last point later this weekend, embedded in a long post I’m working on concerning heterodox approaches to probabilistic updating. If that doesn’t excite you about what’s upcoming, I don’t know what will!