Richard Woodward – Fictionalism and Conditionals

Abstract: Gideon Rosen’s (1990) modal fictionalist aims to avoid commitment to merely possible things by interpreting claims like “there is a possible world at which donkeys talk” as being elliptical for claims about what is true according to Lewisian realism. In this paper, I shall focus upon a neglected question facing the fictionalist — what account can she give of her fictional operator? I suggest that this operator is naturally understood either in terms of a non-material conditional (i.e. either the strict conditional conditional or the counterfactual conditional),  present the intuitive case in favour of these options, characterize the explanatory benefits that they offer and defend their accuracy. I also show how the counterfactual conditional approach can be exploited in order to solve a major problem associated with modal fictionalism.

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