``The Conditionals of Deliberation"

Mind 119 (473):1-42 (2010)
Practical deliberation often involves conditional judgements about what will happen if certain alternatives are pursued. It is widely assumed that the conditionals useful in deliberation are counterfactual or subjunctive conditionals. Against this, I argue that the conditionals of deliberation are indicatives. Key to the argument is an account of the relation between ‘straightforward’ future-directed conditionals like ‘If the house is not painted, it will soon look quite shabby’ and ‘ “were”ed-up’ FDCs like ‘If the house were not to be painted, it would soon look quite shabby’: an account on which both of these types of FDCs are grouped with the indicatives for semantic treatment and on which, while conditionals of both types are properly used in means/ends deliberations, those of the ‘were’ed-up variety are especially well suited for that purpose.
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DOI 10.1093/mind/fzp149
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