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Keith Lehrer

Print publication date: 1990

Print ISBN-13: 9780198248507

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198248507.001.0001

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Preferences, Conditionals, and Freedom

Preferences, Conditionals, and Freedom

(p.79) 3 Preferences, Conditionals, and Freedom

Keith Lehrer

Oxford University Press

The reason why analysis of ‘could have’ statements commonly fails is that the conditional may be true when there is some condition which renders the agent unable to fulfill the antecedent of the conditional and, therefore, renders the agent unable to perform the action. Recent work concerning preferences, especially higher-order preferences, provides the basis for an answer and it has to do with the inner turmoil imagined which the person has relatively little rational control. Indeed, the problem of how to define determinism is far from trivial. One method works in terms of possible worlds and with this method, assuming a notion of a logically possible world, it can be said that determinism is true in the actual world if a very possible world has the same laws of nature as the actual world and shares a temporal slice with the actual world, that is, being identical to the actual world at some time, and is identical to the actual world at every other time.

Keywords:   conditionals, preferences, rational control, determinism, actual world, freedom

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