65. conditionals

Kai von Fintel
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
This article introduces the classic accounts of the meaning of conditionals (material implication, strict implication, variably strict conditional) and discusses the difference between indicative and subjunctive/counterfactual conditionals. Then, the restrictor analysis of Lewis/Kratzer/Heim is introduced as a theory of how conditional meanings come about compositionally: if has no meaning other than serving to mark the restriction to an operator elsewhere in the conditional construction. Some recent alternatives to the restrictor analysis are sketched. Lastly, the interactions of conditionals (i) with modality and (ii) with tense and aspect are discussed. Throughout the advanced research literature is referenced while the discussion stays largely non-technical.
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