In an explanation ‘y because x’, because can be used to express an explanatory relation between an explanandum ‘y’ and an explanans ‘x’. But because can also be used to express the speaker’s reason for uttering ‘y’. This difference will be elucidated by connecting it with the distinction between the at-issue dimension and the speaker dimension of meaning. There are also internal relations between if and because that can help us find and analyse different uses of because, and thus also (...) different types of explanatory relations. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that a truth functional account of conditional statements ‘if A then B’ not only is inadequate, but that it eliminates the very conditionality expressed by ‘if’. Focusing only on the truth-values of the statements ‘A’ and ‘B’ and different combinations of these, one is bound to miss out on the conditional relation expressed between them. But this is not a flaw only of truth functionality and the material conditional. All approaches that try to treat conditionals (...) as mere functions of their antecedents and consequents will end up in some sort of logical atomism where causal matters simply are reduced to the joint occurrence of A and B. What we need is a non-extensional approach to conditionals that can account for hypotheticality, potentiality, and dependency, none of which can be understood by looking to the antecedent or consequent per se. (shrink)
In this paper I present some of Robert N. McLaughlin's critique of a truth functional approach to conditionals as it appears in his book On the Logic of Ordinary Conditionals. Based on his criticism I argue that the basic principles of logic together amount to epistemological and metaphysical implications that can only be accepted from a logical atomist perspective. Attempts to account for conditional relations within this philosophical framework will necessarily fail. I thus argue that it is not truth functionality (...) as such that is the problem, but the philosophical foundation of modern logic. (shrink)
When philosophers and linguists theorize about the nature of conditionals, they tend to make a number of assumptions about the linguistic structure of these sentences. For example, they almost invariably assume that conditionals have “antecedents” and “consequents” and that these have the structure of independent clauses. With a few exceptions, they assume that conditionals are categorized according to whether they are in the “indicative” or the “subjunctive” “mood”. However, rarely do they formulate criteria for identifying these moods, or for distinguishing (...) between indicative and subjunctive conditionals.Through an analysis of the coordinated verb tense structures of the clauses of English conditionals, I challenge these and other related assumptions and show that the one relatively well-developed attempt to provide criteria for distinguishing between indicative and subjunctive conditionals---that of Gibbard (1980)---fails in its task. I then offer an alternative account of the linguistic structure of conditional constructions. To represent their structure I use first-order predicate logic with added devices to indicate deictic and anaphoric reference. (shrink)
Conditional sentences are among the most intriguing and puzzling features of language, and analysis of their meaning and function has important implications for, and uses in, many areas of philosophy. Jonathan Bennett, one of the world's leading experts, distils many years' work and teaching into this Philosophical Guide to Conditionals, the fullest and most authoritative treatment of the subject. An ideal introduction for undergraduates with a philosophical grounding, it also offers a rich source of illumination and stimulation for graduate students (...) and professional philosophers. (shrink)
In English, discourse reference to time involves grammatical tenses interpreted as temporal anaphors. Recently, it has been argued that conditionals involve modal discourse anaphora expressed by a parallel grammatical system of anaphoric modals. Based on evidence from Kalaallisut, this paper argues that temporal and modal anaphora can be just as precise in a language that does not have either grammatical category. Instead, temporal anaphora directly targets eventualities of verbs, without mediating tenses, while modal anaphora involves anaphoric moods and/or attitudinal verbs.
Partee (1973) noted anaphoric parallels between English tenses and pronouns. Since then these parallels have been analyzed in terms of type-neutral principles of discourse anaphora. Recently, Stone (1997) extended the anaphoric parallel to English modals. In this paper I extend the story to languages of other types. This evidence also shows that centering parallels are even more detailed than previously recognized. Based on this evidence, I propose a semantic representation language (Logic of Change with Centered Worlds), in which the observed (...) parallels can be formally analyzed. (shrink)
It is generally agreed that constructions of the form “if P, Q” are capable of conveying a number of different relations between antecedent and consequent, with pragmatics playing a central role in determining these relations. Controversy concerns what the conventional contribution of the if-clause is, how it constrains the pragmatic processes, and what those processes are. In this essay, I begin to argue that the conventional contribution of if-clauses to semantics is exhausted by the fact that these clauses introduce a (...) proposition without presenting it as true so that the consequent can be understood in relation to it. Given our cognitive interests in such non-truth-presentational introductions, conditionals will make salient the wide but nevertheless disciplined variety of contents that we naturally attribute to them; no further substantial constraints of the sorts proposed by standard theories of conditionals are needed to explain the phenomena. If this is correct, it provides prima facie evidence for a radically contextualist account of conditionals according to which conditionals have no truth-evaluable or intuitively complete content absent some contextually provided, sufficiently salient relation between antecedent and consequent. (shrink)
The overall strategy of Lycan’s paper is to distinguish three kinds of conditional assertion theories, and then to show, in order, how they are variously afflicted by a set of problems. The three kinds of theory were the Quine-Rhinelander theory (or the Simple Illocutionary theory), The Semanticized Quine-Rhinelander, and the No Truth Value theory (or NTV). This strategy offers considerable clarity, but it comes at a cost, for what I take to be the best version of a conditional assertion theory (...) contains core parts of all three theories. In what follows, I will suggest that many of the objections offered by Lycan can be dealt when all the pieces are taken into consideration at the same time. But I will also suggest that a refined version of what Lycan called the Immediate Implausibility objection does show us that the conditional assertion theory is false. (shrink)
Conditionals that contain a modality in the consequent give rise to a particular semantic phenomenon whereby the antecedent of the conditional blocks possibilities when interpreting the modality in the consequent. This explains the puzzling logical behaviour of constructions like "If you don't buy a lottery ticket, you can't win", "If you eat that poison, it is unlikely that you will survive the day" and "If you kill Harry, you ought to kill him gently". In this paper it is argued that (...) a semantic version of the Ramsey Test provides a key in the analysis of such constructions. The logic for this semantics is axiomatized and some examples are studied, among them a well-known puzzle for contrary-to-duty obligations. (shrink)
This book looks at the ways in which conditionals, an integral part of philosophy and logic, can be of practical use in computer programming. It analyzes the different types of conditionals, including their applications and potential problems. Other topics include defeasible logics, the Ramsey test, and a unified view of consequence relation and belief revision. Its implications will be of interest to researchers in logic, philosophy, and computer science, particularly artificial intelligence.
Any semantic theory is bound to presume some structure in the messages it analyses, and the success of the theory depends on getting this structure right. But discovering this structure is the business of grammar. Therefore grammar is a necessary preliminary to semantics. Semantic theories of conditionals vividly illustrate this. All presume a provably untenable ternary structure: antecedent, operator, consequent. And all can be shown committed as a result to a thoroughly unbelievable set of connections between sentences and their informational (...) burdens. Actually, a conditional has five immediate factors, none of them an antecedent or a consequent. (shrink)
'IF' is one of the most important and interesting words in the English language, being used to express hypothetical thought. The use of conditionals such as 'if' also distinguishes human intelligence from that of all other animals. In this volume, Jonathan Evans and David Over present a new theoretical approach to understanding hypothetical thought. The book draws on studies from the psychology of judgement and decision making, as well as philosophical logic.
Anankastic conditionals are analyzed in terms of events conceived as sequences of snapshots – roughly, comics. Quantiﬁcation is applied not to worlds (sets of which are customarily identiﬁed with propositions) but to strings that record observations of actions. The account generalizes to other types of conditionals, sidestepping certain well-known problems that beset possible worlds treatments, such as logical omniscience and irrelevance. A reﬁnement for anankastic conditionals is considered, incorporating action relations.
This paper deals with Austinian ifs of every stripe within classical logic. It is argued that they are truth-functional and the theory of conditional elements is used. Ellipsis is key. Corrects an error in Fulda (2010) in translation and therefore scope. -/- The PDF is made available gratis by the Publisher.
As the journal is effectively defunct, I am uploading a full-text copy, but only of my abstract and article, and some journal front matter. -/- Note that the pagination in the PDF version differs from the official pagination because A4 and 8.5" x 11" differ. -/- Traditionally, imperatives have been handled with deontic logics, not the logic of propositions which bear truth values. Yet, an imperative is issued by the speaker to cause (stay) actions which change the state of affairs, (...) which is, in turn, described by propositions that bear truth values. Thus, ultimately, imperatives affect truth values. In this paper, we put forward an idea that allows us to reason with imperatives using classical logic by constructing a one-to-one correspondence between imperatives and a particular class of declaratives. (shrink)
Alpha-beta pruning is a technique for pruning trees in artificial intelligence game-playing. This note draws an analogy between the technique, which is, in essence, an application of many-valued logic to the cut-off of the evaluation of conditionals in computer programs (for efficiency).
"If you turn left at the next corner, you will see a blue house at the end of the street." That sentence -- a conditional -- might be true even though it is possible that you will not see a blue house at the end of the street when you turn left at the next corner. A moving van may block your view; the house may have been painted pink; a crow might swoop down and peck out your eyes. Still, (...) in some contexts, we might ignore these possibilities and correctly assert the conditional. In this book, Christopher Gauker argues that such context-relativity is the key to understanding the semantics of conditionals. Contexts are defined as objective features of the situation in which a conversation takes place, and the semantic properties of sentences -- conditionals included -- are defined in terms of assertibility in a context. One of the primary goals of a theory of conditionals has to be to distinguish correctly between valid and invalid arguments containing conditionals. According to Gauker, an argument is valid if the conclusion is assertible in every context in which the premises are assertible. This runs counter to what Gauker sees as a systematic misreading of the data by other authors, who judge arguments to be invalid if they can think of a context in which the premises are judged true and some other context in which the conclusion is judged false. Different schools of thought on conditionals reflect fundamentally different approaches to semantics. Gauker offers his theory as a motive and test case for a distinctive kind of semantics that dispenses with reference relations and possible worlds. (shrink)
The paper focuses on the difference between eventconditionals and premiseconditionals. An eventconditional contributes to event structure: it modifies the main clause event; a premiseconditional structures the discourse: it makes manifest a proposition that is the privileged context for the processing of the associated clause. The two types of conditional clauses will be shown to differ both in terms of their 'external syntax' and in terms of their 'internal syntax'. The peripheral structure of event conditionals will be shown to lack the (...) functional head Force, which encodes illocutionary force. Event conditionals are merged inside the IP of the matrix clause. Premiseconditionals contain the head Force and they are merged outside the associated CP. (shrink)
Four different conditionals were known to the Stoics. The so-called ‘first’ (Philonian) conditional has been interpreted fairly uncontroversially as an ancient counterpart to the material conditional of modern logic; the ‘fourth’ conditional is obscure, and seemingly of little historical interest, as it was probably not held widely by any group in antiquity. The ‘second’ (Diodorean) and ‘third’ (Chrysippean) conditionals, on the other hand, pose challenging interpretive questions, raising in the process issues in philosophical logic that are as relevant today as (...) they were then. This paper is a critical survey of some modern answers to four of the most tantalizing of these questions; the issues that I will discuss arise out of interpretations of the Diodorean and Chrysippean conditionals as expressions of natural law, and as strict implications. I will reject these interpretations, concluding with my own proposal for where they should be located on a ‘ladder’ of logical strength. The following passage from Sextus will form the basis of my discussion (from Outlines of Pyrrhonism [Pyrrhoneae Hypotyposes], as presented by Long and Sedley 1987b, 211). He has just introduced Philo’s account of “a sound conditional”—by which I understand a true conditional—with the example “when it is day and I am talking, ‘If it is day, I am talking’”. He then continues. (shrink)
In his (1981) paper, Stalnaker has revised his old theory of conditionals and has given the revision an interesting defense. Indeed, Stalnaker shows that this new theory meets the standard objections put to the old. However, I argue that the revision runs into difficulties in the context of quantum mechanics: If Stalnaker's theory of the conditional is assumed, then from plausible assumptions certain Bell-like conflicts with experiment can be derived. This result, I go on to argue, is a good reason (...) to reject Stalnaker's theory, at least for the quantum mechanical context. (shrink)
Chrysippus claims that some propositions perish. including some true conditionals whose consequent is impossible and antecedent is possible, to which he appeals against Diodorus?s Master Argument. On the standard interpretation. perished propositions lack truth values. and these conditionals are true at the same time as their antecedents arc possible and consequents impossible. But perished propositions are false, and Chrysippus?s conditionals are true when their antecedent and consequent arc possible, and false when their antecedent is possible and consequent impossible. The claim (...) of the Master Argument that Chrysippus rejects, then, is stronger ihan usually supposed. (shrink)
This collection brings together some of Frank Jackson's most influential essays on mind, action, conditionals, method in metaphysics, and ethics. These have each been revised for this edition, and are presented along with his challenge to orthodoxy on the new riddle of induction.
This collection introduces the reader to some of the most interesting current work on conditionals. Particular attention is paid to possible world semantics for conditionals, the role of conditional probability in helping us to understand conditionals, implicature and the material conditional, and subjunctive versus indicative conditionals. Contributors include V.H. Dudman, Dorothy Edgington, Nelson Goodman, H.P. Grice, David Lewis, and Robert Stalnaker.
This means that, to know which conditionals are true, was considered to be just as important as to know what happens after our death. It was the conditionals which divided DIODOROS KRONOS and his pupil PHILO. Later, CHRYSIPPOS joined the quarrel and they all died without reconcilement.
Argues that certain conditional clauses are irreducibly adnominal, so that 'if' cannot be treated purely as a sentential connective. A unified analysis of adnominal if-clauses and ordinary if-clauses is possible, however, if we assume a semantic theory in which sentences denote sets of events rather than truth values.
The purposes of this paper are first, to develop clearly the problem of mental conditionals for Millikan’s theory; second, to show why existing approaches to conditional semantics face serious challenges from a teleosemantic perspective; and third, to offer an account of the function of mental conditionals that meets the requirements of Millikan’s theory. We end up not only with a solution to a standing problem for teleosemantics, but also with a novel avenue for research in conditional semantics.
Higginbotham (1986) argues that conditionals embedded under quantifiers (as in ‘no student will succeed if they goof off’) constitute a counterexample to the thesis that natural language is semantically compositional. More recently, Higginbotham (2003) and von Fintel and Iatridou (2002) have suggested that compositionality can be upheld, but only if we assume the validity of the principle of Conditional Excluded Middle. I argue that these authors’ proposals (...) deliver unsatisfactory results for conditionals that, at least intuitively, do not appear to obey Conditional Excluded Middle. Further, there is no natural way to extend their accounts to conditionals containing ‘unless’. I propose instead an account that takes both ‘if’ and ‘unless’ statements to restrict the quantifiers in whose scope they occur, while also contributing a covert modal element to the semantics. In providing this account, I also offer a semantics for unquantified statements containing ‘unless’. (shrink)