The Semantics of Conditionals

Dissertation, University of Notre Dame (1991)

Authors
Abstract
In this dissertation a correct answer is sought to the question, 'When, in general terms, is an English conditional true?' The search was motivated largely by three apparent inadequacies in the most prominent proposed "semantics" for English conditionals. First, most such semantics counter-intuitively count as true all conditionals with necessarily false antecedents and/or necessarily true consequents. Secondly, no prominent semantics is designed to deal with "probabilistic" conditionals, conditionals like 'If he had fallen, he probably would have laughed.' Thirdly, most prominent semantics counter-intuitively count as true conditionals with antecedents which do not appear to be "appropriately relevant" to their consequences. ;In Chapter I, the common view is defended that English conditionals can be divided into two semantically-distinct classes, the "indicative" and the "subjective" conditionals, although the question whether these classes are actually distinguished by mood is left open. In Chapters II through IV, the "material implication" analysis, Ernest Adams' analysis, and the theories of Peter Gardenfors and Ken Warmbrod regarding "indicative" conditionals are all criticized. In Chapter V, a new semantics for "indicative" conditionals is developed. A "probabilistic" indicative conditional, as they're typically used, is true exactly when its consequent has the appropriate probability "on" the conditional's antecedent "relative to" the conditional's "intended background," and the antecedent is "appropriately relevant" to the consequent. A non-probabilistic indicative conditional is true when the conditional's consequent is certain "on" the conditional's antecedent, relative to the conditional's "intended background," and the antecedent is "appropriately relevant" to the consequent. ;In Chapter VI, consequences of this semantics for the logic of these conditionals are worked out. In Chapter VII, the semantics of David Lewis and Robert Stalnaker for "subjective" conditionals are criticized. In Chapter VIII, a new semantics for "subjunctive" conditionals is proposed, a semantics which is only a slight variation of the semantics given in Chapter V for "indicative" conditionals. Finally, in Chapter IX, new accounts of entailment and logical probability are proposed in order to yield intuitively-correct truth values for conditionals with necessarily false antecedents and/or necessarily true consequents.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,379
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Conditional Preferences and Practical Conditionals.Nate Charlow - 2013 - Linguistics and Philosophy 36 (6):463-511.
An Epistemic Theory of Conditionals.Frank Erich Doring - 1993 - Dissertation, Princeton University
The Probabilities of Conditionals Revisited.Igor Douven & Sara Verbrugge - 2013 - Cognitive Science 37 (4):711-730.
Conditionals.Frank Jackson (ed.) - 1991 - Oxford University Press.
A Relevant Theory of Conditionals.Edwin D. Mares & André Fuhrmann - 1995 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 24 (6):645 - 665.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-02-05

Total views
0

Recent downloads (6 months)
0

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes