Authors
Franz Berto
University of St. Andrews
Abstract
We propose a new account of indicative conditionals, giving acceptability and logical closure conditions for them. We start from Adams’ Thesis: the claim that the acceptability of a simple indicative equals the corresponding conditional probability. The Thesis is widely endorsed, but arguably false and refuted by empirical research. To fix it, we submit, we need a relevance constraint: we accept a simple conditional 'If φ, then ψ' to the extent that (i) the conditional probability p(ψ|φ) is high, provided that (ii) φ is relevant for ψ. How (i) should work is well-understood. It is (ii) that holds the key to improve our understanding of conditionals. Our account has (i) a probabilistic component, using Popper functions; (ii) a relevance component, given via an algebraic structure of topics or subject matters. We present a probabilistic logic for simple indicatives, and argue that its (in)validities are both theoretically desirable and in line with empirical results on how people reason with conditionals.
Keywords Conditionals  Conditional probabilities  Relevance  Adams' Thesis  Subject Matter
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Reprint years 2021
DOI 10.1007/s11098-021-01622-3
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References found in this work BETA

Counterfactuals.David Kellogg Lewis - 1973 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Blackwell.
Studies in the Way of Words.Herbert Paul Grice - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
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Citations of this work BETA

Bernoulli Semantics and Ordinal Semantics for Conditionals.Stefan Kaufmann - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-22.
The Ramsey Test and Evidential Support Theory.Michal Sikorski - 2022 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 31 (3):493-504.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

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