According to what is now commonly referred to as “the Equation” in the literature on indicative conditionals, the probability of any indicative conditional equals the probability of its consequent of the conditional given the antecedent of the conditional. Philosophers widely agree in their assessment that the triviality arguments of Lewis and others have conclusively shown the Equation to be tenable only at the expense of the view that indicative conditionals express propositions. This study challenges the correctness of that assessment by (...) presenting data that cast doubt on an assumption underlying all triviality arguments. (shrink)
An experimental study is reported which investigates the differences in interpretation between content conditionals (of various pragmatic types) and inferential conditionals. In a content conditional, the antecedent represents a requirement for the consequent to become true. In an inferential conditional, the antecedent functions as a premise and the consequent as the inferred conclusion from that premise. The linguistic difference between content and inferential conditionals is often neglected in reasoning experiments. This turns out to be unjustified, since we adduced evidence on (...) the basis of a quantitative and a qualitative analysis that this difference has a manifest psychological relevance. For the inferential conditionals, participants appear to retrieve the order of events of the original content conditional on which it was based, before they start reasoning with it. The implications of this finding for reasoning research and linguistics will be discussed. (shrink)
At least many conditionals seem to convey the existence of a link between their antecedent and consequent. We draw on a recently proposed typology of conditionals to revive an old philosophical idea according to which the link is inferential in nature. We show that the proposal has explanatory force by presenting empirical results on two Dutch linguistic markers.
Inferential or epistemic conditional sentences represent a blueprint of someone’s reasoning process from premise to conclusion. Declerck and Reed (2001) make a distinction between a direct and an indirect type. In the latter type the direction of reasoning goes backwards, from the blatant falsehood of the consequent to the falsehood of the antecedent. We first present a modal reinterpretation in terms of Argumentation Schemes of indirect inferential conditionals (IIC’s) in Declerck and Reed (2001). We furthermore argue for a distinction between (...) epistemic-modal strong and deontic-modal weak IIC’s. In addition, we extend the category of the indirect inferential conditionals in order to include several other deontic-modal subtypes. On the basis of the undesirability of the consequent the hearer in these cases infers that the antecedent is also undesirable. In this way the rhetoric-argumentative strategy of Reductio ad Absurdum is extended from the realm of deductive reasoning to that of practical reasoning. (shrink)