Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming)

David Boylan
Texas Tech University
Ginger Schultheis
University of Chicago
The Qualitative Thesis says that if you are not sure that ¬φ, then you are sure of the indicative conditional φ > ψ just in case you are sure of the material conditional φ ⊃ ψ. We argue that The Qualitative Thesis provides compelling reasons to accept a thesis that we call Conditional Locality, which says, roughly, that the interpretation of an indicative conditional depends, in part, on the conditional’s local embedding environment. In the first part of the paper, we present an argument—due to Ben Holguín—showing that, without Conditional Locality, the Qualitative Thesis is in tension with a plausible margin for error principle on rational sureness. We show that Conditional Locality reconciles the Qualitative Thesis with the margin for error principle. In the second part of the paper, we argue that the full range of data supports what we call the Strong Qualitative Thesis. We show that, without Conditional Locality, the Strong Qualitative Thesis has unacceptable trivializing consequences. But with Conditional Locality, the Strong Qualitative Thesis is tenable.
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