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Defending Conditional Excluded Middle


*Thanks are owing to many people, including Daniel Nolan, Daniel Elstein, Carrie Jenkins, Ross Cameron, Andy McGonigal, Elizabeth Barnes, Rich Woodward, Ant Eagle, and the Rutgers philosophy of language discussion group.


Lewis (1973) gave a short argument against conditional excluded middle, based on his treatment of ‘might’ counterfactuals. Bennett (2003), with much of the recent literature, gives an alternative take on ‘might’ counterfactuals. But Bennett claims the might-argument against CEM still goes through. This turns on a specific claim I call Bennett’s Hypothesis. I argue that independently of issues to do with the proper analysis of might-counterfactuals, Bennett’s Hypothesis is inconsistent with CEM. But Bennett’s Hypothesis is independently objectionable, so we should resolve this tension by dropping the Hypothesis, not by dropping CEM.