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However, saying "Were I a woman, the moon would be made of green cheese" indicates the two things are related logicallyfor some reason and that my gender would be likely to actually affect the substance of the moon, which is nonsense.

Also, there are variants of "would" that slightly alter the kind of alternate world the sentence is indicating. For instance, if I said 'might' instead of 'would', it indicates that the difference would not be logically implied by the change in the world, but would make it possible. "If I were a woman, I might wear pink more." means that my being a woman would make that possible. It would not necessarily happen, but it surely is not going to happen as long as I am a man. If I said 'should' it would imply things would be disapproved of in the alternate world because of social convention or moral sense, rather than actually being different. "If I were a woman, I should wear a shirt." But as I am a man, and it is 80F, I have mine off and no one cares.

[Again, hard to learn, because these are rules many people just fail to follow. The precise intentions behind words like might, may, should, etc. drift around a lot because they are poorly used. It is so bad that when it is necessary to insist they be used correctly, for instance in military specifications, people insist that their definitions be stated, even though they are being used with their traditional meanings.]

However, saying "Were I a woman, the moon would be made of green cheese" indicates the two things are related logically and that my gender would be likely to actually affect the substance of the moon, which is nonsense.

Also, there are variants of "would" that slightly alter the kind of alternate world the sentence is indicating. For instance, if I said 'might' instead of 'would', it indicates that the difference would not be logically implied by the change in the world, but would make it possible. "If I were a woman, I might wear pink more." means that my being a woman would make that possible. It would not necessarily happen, but it surely is not going to happen as long as I am a man. If I said 'should' it would imply things would be disapproved of in the alternate world because of social convention or moral sense, rather than actually being different. "If I were a woman, I should wear a shirt." But as I am a man, and it is 80F, I have mine off.

[Again, hard to learn, because these are rules many people fail to follow.]

However, saying "Were I a woman, the moon would be made of green cheese" indicates the two things are related for some reason and that my gender would be likely to actually affect the substance of the moon, which is nonsense.

Also, there are variants of "would" that slightly alter the kind of alternate world the sentence is indicating. For instance, if I said 'might' instead of 'would', it indicates that the difference would not be logically implied by the change in the world, but would make it possible. "If I were a woman, I might wear pink more." means that my being a woman would make that possible. It would not necessarily happen, but it surely is not going to happen as long as I am a man. If I said 'should' it would imply things would be disapproved of in the alternate world because of social convention or moral sense, rather than actually being different. "If I were a woman, I should wear a shirt." But as I am a man, and it is 80F, I have mine off and no one cares.

[Again, hard to learn, because these are rules many people just fail to follow. The precise intentions behind words like might, may, should, etc. drift around a lot because they are poorly used. It is so bad that when it is necessary to insist they be used correctly, for instance in military specifications, people insist that their definitions be stated, even though they are being used with their traditional meanings.]

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Also, there are variants of "would" that slightly alter the kind of alternate world the sentence is indicating. For instance, if I said 'might' instead of 'would', it indicates that the difference would not be logically implied by the change in the world, but would make it possible. "If I were a woman, I might wear pink more." means that my being a woman would make that possible. It would not necessarily happen, but it surely is not going to happen as long as I am a man. If I said 'should' it would imply things would be disapproved of in the alternate world because of social convention or moral sense, rather than actually being different. "If I were a woman, I should wear a shirt." But as I am a man, and it is 80F, I have mine off.

Also, there are variants of "would" that slightly alter the kind of alternate world the sentence is indicating. For instance, if I said 'might' instead of 'would', it indicates that the difference would not be logically implied by the change in the world, but would make it possible. "If I were a woman, I might wear pink more." means that my being a woman would make that possible. It would not necessarily happen, but it surely is not going to happen as long as I am a man. If I said 'should' it would imply things would disapproved of in the alternate world because of social convention or moral sense, rather than actually being different. "If I were a woman, I should wear a shirt." But as I am a man, and it is 80F, I have mine off.

Also, there are variants of "would" that slightly alter the kind of alternate world the sentence is indicating. For instance, if I said 'might' instead of 'would', it indicates that the difference would not be logically implied by the change in the world, but would make it possible. "If I were a woman, I might wear pink more." means that my being a woman would make that possible. It would not necessarily happen, but it surely is not going to happen as long as I am a man. If I said 'should' it would imply things would be disapproved of in the alternate world because of social convention or moral sense, rather than actually being different. "If I were a woman, I should wear a shirt." But as I am a man, and it is 80F, I have mine off.

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The problem is that the subjunctionsubjunctive places the statement in the realm of alternate realities and not actual reality, and without specifying which possible world you are talking about, the statement becomes true but useless. We need to know what kinds of rules we are imagine are not changing when we change the thing we have chosen to change. Only the worlds that change what we intended and do not change the rest are allowed in an interpretation.

In situations where the range of allowed possible worlds is well-defined, either explicitly or by context, the subjunctive form becomes declarative when combined with that definition included in the premises. So ifsuppose we said "Because of basic biology, if my other genes did not change, if I were a woman, I would be less than six feet tall." Then I can tell what is to be kept fixed when I consider the alternate gender, and only padded out in this way does the sentence have real and definite logical content.

The problem is that the subjunction places the statement in the realm of alternate realities and not actual reality, and without specifying which possible world you are talking about, the statement becomes true but useless. We need to know what kinds of rules we are imagine not changing when we change the thing we have chosen to change. Only the worlds that change what we intended and do not change the rest are allowed in an interpretation.

In situations where the range of allowed possible worlds is well-defined, either explicitly or by context, the subjunctive form becomes declarative when combined with that definition included in the premises. So if we said "Because of basic biology, if my other genes did not change, if I were a woman, I would be less than six feet tall." Then I can tell what is to be kept fixed when I consider the alternate gender, and only padded out in this way does the sentence have real and definite logical content.

The problem is that the subjunctive places the statement in the realm of alternate realities and not actual reality, and without specifying which possible world you are talking about, the statement becomes true but useless. We need to know what kinds of rules we imagine are not changing when we change the thing we have chosen to change. Only the worlds that change what we intended and do not change the rest are allowed in an interpretation.

In situations where the range of allowed possible worlds is well-defined, either explicitly or by context, the subjunctive form becomes declarative when combined with that definition included in the premises. So suppose we said "Because of basic biology, if my other genes did not change, if I were a woman, I would be less than six feet tall." Then I can tell what is to be kept fixed when I consider the alternate gender, and only padded out in this way does the sentence have real and definite logical content.

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