A Philosophical Guide to Conditionals

Review of Metaphysics 59 (1):167-169 (2005)
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Abstract

"If" and "then," wrapped around enough content to form at least two propositions that seem to be conditionally assertible together as antecedent and consequent, are, of course, the key denizens of this very deep work. It's a commonplace among philosophers that what so innocently malingers in indicative language as, "If Bennett didn't write this excellent Guide, then someone else did," can rapidly morph by a little fancy into the eyebrow-arching subjunctive/counterfactual, "If Bennett hadn't written this marvelous work, then someone else would have." The hulking literature on the logic and semantics of conditionals is cunning and daunting, and few thinkers on the world stage are equipped to corral and tame the beast as Bennett has. Even given his nontruth-functional stance on indicative conditionals, one might still rightly call Bennett "The Horseshoe Whisperer."

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Villard Alan White
University of Wisconsin, Green Bay

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