Philosophical Studies

, Volume 163, Issue 3, pp 673–682 | Cite as

Modalised conditionals: a response to Willer

  • Moritz SchulzEmail author


A paper by Schulz (Philos Stud 149:367–386, 2010) describes how the suppositional view of indicative conditionals can be supplemented with a derived view of epistemic modals. In a recent criticism of this paper, Willer (Philos Stud 153:365–375, 2011) argues that the resulting account of conditionals and epistemic modals cannot do justice to the validity of certain inference patterns involving modalised conditionals. In the present response, I analyse Willer’s argument, identify an implicit presupposition which can plausibly be denied and show that accepting it would blur the difference between plain assumptions and their epistemic necessitations.


Indicative conditionals Epistemic modals Modalised conditionals Suppositional view 



The present material has been presented at the workshop Phlox in Flux in Berlin 2011. Many thanks to all the participants for their helpful comments. In writing this article, I have benefited from partial funds by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation for the project CONSOLIDER-INGENIO 2010 CSD2009-00056 on Philosophy of Perspectival Thoughts and Facts (PERSP) and for the project FFI2009-13436, I+D+i programme, on Semantic Content and Context Dependence.


  1. Barnett, D. (2006). Zif is if. Mind, 115, 519–566.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Edgington, D. (1995). On conditionals. Mind, 104, 235–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Egan, A., Hawthorne, J., & Weatherson, B. (2005). Epistemic modals in context. In G. Preyer & G. Peter (Eds.), Contextualism in philosophy: Knowledge, meaning, and truth (pp. 131–170). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Geurts, B. (2004). On an ambiguity in quantified conditionals. MS, University of Nijmegen.Google Scholar
  5. Jackson, F. (Ed.). (1991). Conditionals. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  6. Kratzer, A. (1977). What ‘Must’ and ‘Can’ Must and Can Mean. Linguistics and Philosophy, 1, 337–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kratzer, A. (1979). Conditional necessity and possibility. In R. Bäuerle, U. Egli, & A. von Stechow (Eds.), Semantics from different points of view (pp. 117–147). Berlin: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kratzer, A. (1981) The notional category of modality. In H. J. Eikmeyer & H. Rieser (Eds.), Words, worlds, and contexts (pp. 38–74). Berlin: de Gruyter, a revised version of this paper is forthcoming in Kratzer (forthcoming: ch. 2).Google Scholar
  9. Kratzer, A. (1986) Conditionals. In A. M. Farley, P. Farley, K. E. McCollough (Eds.), Papers from the parasession on pragmatics and grammatical theory (pp. 115–135). Chicago: Chicago Linguistics Society, reprinted in von Stechow and Wunderlich (1991: ch. 30, 651–656). A revised version of this paper is forthcoming in Kratzer (forthcoming: ch. 4).Google Scholar
  10. Kratzer, A. (forthcoming). Modals and conditionals again. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Lewis, D. (1973). Counterfactuals. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  12. Lewis, D. (1975). Adverbs of quantification. In E. L. Keenan (Ed.), Formal semantics of natural language (pp. 3–15). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. MacFarlane, J. (2011). Epistemic modals are assessment-sensitive. In A. Egan & B. Weatherson (Eds.), Epistemic modality (pp. 144–178). Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. MacFarlane, J., & Kolodny, N. (2010). Ifs and oughts. Journal of Philosophy, 107, 115–143.Google Scholar
  15. Schnieder, B. (2010). Expressivism concerning epistemic modals. The Philosophical Quarterly, 60, 601–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Schulz, M. (2010). Wondering what might be. Philosophical Studies, 149, 367–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Stalnaker, R. (1968). A theory of conditionals. Studies in logical theory (Vol. 2, pp. 98–112), reprinted in Jackson (1991: ch. 2).Google Scholar
  18. von Stechow, A., & Wunderlich, D. (Eds.). (1991). Handbook semantics. Berlin: de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  19. Weatherson, B. (2009). Conditionals and indexical relativism. Synthese, 166, 333–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Willer, M. (2011). Realizing what might be. Philosophical Studies, 153, 365–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Williamson, T. (2007). The philosophy of philosophy. Oxford: Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LOGOS-Grup de Recerca en Lógica, Llenguatge i Cognició, Facultat de Filosofia, Universitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

Personalised recommendations