Those nice people at Philosophical Studies (NB: no url link, because I haven’t found a way to link to specific springerlink journals) have just let me know that they will publish my paper on conversation and conditionals. What makes me particularly happy about this is that I whiled away many happy hours as a phD student playing “hunt the Stalnaker explanation” (Agustin Rayo being the guilty party who introduced me to this strangely addictive game…)
The idea is simple. The idea is to explain as many philosophical puzzles as possible using Bob Stalnaker‘s conversational dynamics. The consummate player is, of course, Stalnaker himself: read the papers in his Context and Content for the paradigmatic examples, including e.g. compelling explanations of what’s going on with Kripke’s puzzling Pierre, negative existentials, Referential/attributive distinction.
At the time, I was particularly keen to use it to try and explain some stuff about de re belief reports (for the cogniscienti: I was looking at Kaplan’s “youngest spy” counterexample to Quine’s principle of universal exportation). To my regret, I couldn’t make it work, and fell back in the end on using Gricean stuff rather than Stalnakerian stuff in the paper that resulted (and I always find relying on Grice unsatisfying, since I never understood where the various “cooperative maxims” come from).
Anyway, the conditionals paper makes use of the Stalnakerian framework to explain a couple of puzzles about conditionals: in particular, showing how to explain away “Sobel” and “reverse Sobel sequences” on any account of conditionals at least as strong as the material conditional; and showing how to explain away the “Gibbard phenomenon” on my favoured implementation of the Stalnaker-style “closest-worlds” account of the semantics of the indicative conditional.