Monday, August 8, 2022

Might well

It’s occurred to me that the “might well happen that” operator makes for an interesting modality. It divides into an epistemic and a metaphysical version. In both cases, if it might well happen that p, then p is possible (in the respective sense). In both cases, there is a tempting paraphrase of the operator into a probability: on the epistemic side, one might say that it might well happen that p if and only if p has a sufficiently high epistemic probability, and on the metaphysical side, one might say that it might well happen that p if and only if p has a sufficiently high chance given the contextually relevant background. In both cases, it is not clear that the probabilistic paraphrase is correct—there may be (might well be!) cases of “might well happen that” where numerical probabilities have no place. And in both cases, “might well happen that” seems context-sensitive and vague. It might well be that thinking about this operator could lead to progress on something interesting.

4 comments:

SMatthewStolte said...

Maybe on the metaphysical side: “The causal mechanisms are in place for X to happen.” And on the epistemological side, either: “I know about the causal mechanisms’ being in place for X to happen,” or “I do not know enough about the causal mechanisms’ being in place to say X won’t happen.”

Zsolt Nagy said...

If one can have justice or justice can be served here in this current life, then one might as well get it here rather than in the after-life.
If any child is supposed to be born into a healthy family, then why allow that happening in the case of an unhealthy or non-existent family like in a violence or a rape case?
If that occurs and you or we can serve justice and make it right, then you or we might as well just do that right here and right now. There is no need for waiting for justice supposedly being served in an imaginary after-life.

Alexander R Pruss said...

"might as well" seems quite different from "might well".

Zsolt Nagy said...

Really, Alexander? In what way appears to you that the phrase "might as well" being significantly different from the phrase "might well". What's that difference supposed to be exactly?!?
You see, physical things might be constituted and explained by matter and further ghosts might be described by being non-physical things. But that neither truly explain what ghosts supposed to be and how they might differ from physical things as your simple sentence of ""might as well" seems quite different from "might well"." constituting there to be significant difference also doesn't explain, what that difference exactly might be. Is it really so difficult to write one or two more sentences?!?

Besides that, if you are so concerned of there supposedly being such a significant difference between those two phrases, then you can have it from me both ways:
If one can have justice or justice can be served here in this current life, then one might [-as-] well get that justice here in the current life rather than in the after-life.
If any child is supposed to be born into a healthy family, then why allow that happening in the case of an unhealthy or non-existent family like in a violence or a rape case?
If that occurs and you or we can serve justice and make it right, then you or we might [-as-] well just do that right here and right now. There is no need for waiting for justice supposedly being served in an imaginary after-life.

Is Philosophy dead?
Again, I don't think so. But is Philosophy irrelevant?
Currently yes. Currently Philosophy is quite irrelevant.