Free choice impossibilty results

Journal article

Goldstein, Simon. (2020). Free choice impossibilty results. Journal of Philosophical Logic. 49(2), pp. 249-282.
AuthorsGoldstein, Simon

Free Choice is the principle that possibly p or q implies and is implied by possibly p and possibly q. A variety of recent attempts to validate Free Choice rely on a nonclassical semantics for disjunction, where the meaning of p or q is not a set of possible worlds. This paper begins with a battery of impossibility results, showing that some kind of nonclassical semantics for disjunction is required in order to validate Free Choice. The paper then provides a positive account of Free Choice, by identifying a family of dynamic semantics for disjunction that can validate the inference. On all such theories, the meaning of p or q has two parts. First, p or q requires that our information is consistent with each of p and q. Second, p or q narrows down our information by eliminating some worlds. It turns out that this second component of or is well behaved: there is a strongest such meaning that p or q can express, consistent with validating Free Choice. The strongest such meaning is the classical one, on which p or q eliminates any world where both p and q are false. In this way, the classical meaning of disjunction turns out to be intimately related to the validity of Free Choice.

Keywordssemantics ; free choice ; dynamic semantics; impossibility results
JournalJournal of Philosophical Logic
Journal citation49 (2), pp. 249-282
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85067804011
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Permalink -

Restricted files

Publisher's version

  • 37
    total views
  • 0
    total downloads
  • 2
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month
These values are for the period from 19th October 2020, when this repository was created.

Export as

Related outputs

Attitude verbs’ local context
Blumberg, Kyle and Goldstein, Simon. (2023). Attitude verbs’ local context. Linguistics and Philosophy. 46(3), pp. 483-507.
Fragile knowledge
Goldstein, Simon. (2022). Fragile knowledge. Mind. 131(522), pp. 487-515.
Goldstein, Simon and Kirk-Giannini, Cameron Domenico. (2022). Contextology. Philosophical Studies. 179(11), pp. 3187-3209.
Sly Pete in dynamic semantics
Goldstein, Simon David. (2022). Sly Pete in dynamic semantics. Journal of Philosophical Logic. 51(5), pp. 1103-1117.
Knowledge from multiple experiences
Goldstein, Simon and Hawthorne, John. (2022). Knowledge from multiple experiences. Philosophical Studies. 179(4), pp. 1341-1372.
Counterfactual contamination
Goldstein, Simon and Hawthorne, John. (2022). Counterfactual contamination. Australasian Journal of Philosophy. 100(2), pp. 262-278.
Probability for epistemic modalities
Goldstein, Simon and Santorio, Paolo. (2021). Probability for epistemic modalities. Philosophers' Imprint. 21(33), pp. 1-37.
Mighty knowledge
Beddor, Bob and Goldstein, Simon. (2021). Mighty knowledge. Journal of Philosophy. 118(5), pp. 229-269.
The normality of error
Carter, Sam and Goldstein, Simon. (2021). The normality of error. Philosophical Studies. 178, pp. 2509-2533.
Losing confidence in luminosity
Goldstein, Simon and Waxman, Daniel. (2021). Losing confidence in luminosity. Noûs. 55(4), pp. 962-991.
Epistemic modal credence
Goldstein, Simon. (2021). Epistemic modal credence. Philosophers' Imprint. 21(26), pp. 1-24.
The counterfactual direct argument
Goldstein, Simon. (2020). The counterfactual direct argument. Linguistics and Philosophy. 43(2), pp. 193-232.
Conditional heresies
Cariani, Fabrizio and Goldstein, Simon. (2020). Conditional heresies. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. 101(2), pp. 251-282.
A theory of conditional assertion
Goldstein, Simon. (2019). A theory of conditional assertion. Journal of Philosophy. 116(6), pp. 293-318.
Generalized update semantics
Goldstein, Simon. (2019). Generalized update semantics. Mind: A Quarterly review of philosophy. 128(511), pp. 795-835.
Free choice and homogeneity
Goldstein, Simon. (2019). Free choice and homogeneity. Semantics and Pragmatics. 12, pp. 1-47.
Triviality results for probabilistic modals
Goldstein, Simon. (2019). Triviality results for probabilistic modals. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. 99(1), pp. 188-222.
A stronger doctrine of double effect
Bronner, Ben and Goldstein, Simon. (2018). A stronger doctrine of double effect. Australasian Journal of Philosophy. 96(4), pp. 793 - 805.
Believing epistemic contradictions
Beddor, Bob and Goldstein, Simon. (2018). Believing epistemic contradictions. The Review of Symbolic Logic. 11(1), pp. 87-114.
A preface paradox for intention
Goldstein, Simon. (2016). A preface paradox for intention. Philosophers' Imprint. 16(14), pp. 1-20.