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ModalityMetaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology$
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Bob Hale and Aviv Hoffmann

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199565818

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199565818.001.0001

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Permission and (So‐Called Epistemic) Possibility

Permission and (So‐Called Epistemic) Possibility

(p.229) 11 Permission and (So‐Called Epistemic) Possibility

Stephen Yablo (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

David Lewis in ‘A Problem About Permission’ asks about the effect on context of permitting the previously forbidden. The set of permissible worlds expands, but how? One can ask in a similar vein about the effects of calling a circumstance possible which had previously been ruled out. This chapter proposes a unified rule. Permission to take the day off adds in world W if the reasons W was initially ruled out all imply taking the day off. W remains impermissible if the reasons it was initially ruled out include some that could still have obtained even if one had remained at work. Similarly, ‘It might rain’ adds a world to the context set if and only if was ruled out for rain-implying reasons. These rules turn out to have non-trivial effects even if the new possibility was not previously ruled out. This runs counter to Lewis, but is arguably the right result.

Keywords:   permission, might, epistemic modals, deontic modals, dynamic semantics, Lewis, Veltman, Stalnaker, context set, update rule

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