, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 3-15
Date: 12 Apr 2011

Triviality Pursuit

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Abstract

The thesis that probabilities of conditionals are conditional probabilities has putatively been refuted many times by so-called ‘triviality results’, although it has also enjoyed a number of resurrections. In this paper I assault it yet again with a new such result. I begin by motivating the thesis and discussing some of the philosophical ramifications of its fluctuating fortunes. I will canvas various reasons, old and new, why the thesis seems plausible, and why we should care about its fate. I will look at some objections to Lewis’s famous triviality results, and thus some reasons for the pursuit of further triviality results. I will generalize Lewis’s results in ways that meet the objections. I will conclude with some reflections on the demise of the thesis—or otherwise.