What is Cognitive Science

The Counterfactual Direct Argument

Simon Goldstein

Thursday, September 15, 2016, 12:00pm - 01:00pm

Graduate Student, Rutgers University, Department of Philosophy

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In this paper, I introduce a new principle in the logic of conditionals. Suppose there has been a murder on the estate. I claim that (1) implies (2):

(1) If the driver hadn't done it, then either the butler or the gardener would have.
(2) If the driver hadn't done it, then if the butler hadn't done it, the gardener would have.

I develop a series of arguments that this inference is valid. Then I show that several commonly accepted principles about conditionals (for example, Modus Ponens) lead to paradoxical results when combined with this one. To validate the principle, and explain why Modus Ponens fails, I offer a new theory of conditionals, involving a distinctive method of revising a body of information with an antecedent.

Simon Goldstein

"What is Cognitive Science?"

This lunchtime talks series is designed to introduce the University community to issues in Cognitive Science. Cognitive Science is one the the few fields where modern developments in computer science and artificial intelligence promise to shed light on classical problems in psychology and the philosophy of the mind. Ancient questions of how we see the world, understand language, and reason, and questions such as 'how a material system can know about the outside world', are being explored with the powerful new conceptual prosthetics of computer modeling.

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