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

  • 61
    total views
  • 0
    total downloads
  • 1
    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

A question-sensitive theory of intention
Beddor, Bob and Goldstein, Simon. (2023). A question-sensitive theory of intention. The Philosophical Quarterly. 73(2), pp. 346-378.
Getting accurate about knowledge
Carter, Sam and Goldstein, Simon. (2023). Getting accurate about knowledge. Mind. 132(525), pp. 158-191.
Language agents reduce the risk of existential catastrophe
Goldstein, Simon and Kirk-Giannini, Cameron Domenico. (2023). Language agents reduce the risk of existential catastrophe. AI & Society. pp. 1-11.
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.