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Conditionals, Paradox, and ProbabilityThemes from the Philosophy of Dorothy Edgington$
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Lee Walters and John Hawthorne

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780198712732

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198712732.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 07 July 2022

Undercutting Defeat and Edgington’s Burglar

Undercutting Defeat and Edgington’s Burglar

(p.174) 11 Undercutting Defeat and Edgington’s Burglar
Conditionals, Paradox, and Probability

Scott Sturgeon

Oxford University Press

Defeasible reasons are normally thought of as mental states of some kind. In the verbal tradition, at least, reputable philosophers sometimes react to this fact as if the whole idea of a defeasible reason is based on some kind of conceptual confusion or category mistake. Their idea, basically, is that the English word ‘reason’ already has a meaning which rules out mental states as part of its extension. For this reason they see the idea of mental states as reasons as itself utter confusion. This chapter does four things. It lays out an orthodox position on reasons and defeaters. Then it argues that the position just sketched is mistaken about ‘undercutting’ defeaters. Then it explains an unpublished thought experiment by Dorothy Edgington. And then it uses that thought experiment to ground a new approach to undercutting defeaters.

Keywords:   reasons, defeater, undercutting, Edgington, Pollock

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