On Conceiving the Inconsistent

Francesco Berto

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I present an approach to our conceiving absolute impossibilities—things which obtain at no possible world—in terms of ceteris paribus intentional operators: variably restricted quantifiers on possible and impossible worlds based on world similarity. The explicit content of a representation plays a role similar in some respects to the one of a ceteris paribus conditional antecedent. I discuss how such operators invalidate logical closure for conceivability, and how similarity works when impossible worlds are around. Unlike what happens with ceteris paribus counterfactual conditionals, the closest worlds are relevantly closest belief-worlds: closest to how things are believed to be, rather than to how they are. Also, closeness takes into account apriority and the opacity of intentional contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-121
Number of pages19
JournalProceedings of the Aristotelian Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
EventMeeting of the Aristotelian Society : 2013 - Senate House, University of London, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Dec 20132 Dec 2013

Bibliographical note

This work has been developed within the 2013–15 ahrc project The Metaphysical Basis of Logic: The Law of Non-Contradiction as Basic Knowledge (grant ref. ah/k001698/1). A version of the paper was presented in September 2013 at the Modal Metaphysics Workshop in Bratislava. I am grateful to the audiences there and at the Aristotelian Society meeting for many helpful comments and remarks.


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