Indicative Conditionals and the Expressive Conception of Logic

Journal of Transcendental Philosophy 3 (1):33-48 (2022)
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It is often thought that the test for whether an indicative conditional is assertible is to first suppose the antecedent and then check to see if the consequent is probable on that supposition. Call this procedure the “Ramsey Test”. Some influential accounts of indicative conditionals hold that the Ramsey Test works because indicative conditionals are used to express a high credence in the consequent conditional on the antecedent. In this paper I will argue that a different expressivist account, one inspired by Brandom can handle a wider range of phenomena. In particular, it does a better job explaining how conditionals function in modus tollens arguments. I will end by discussing how the account proposed here goes beyond Brandom’s own work on logic and hermeneutics. Of particular importance is the role played by a conversational common ground, distinct from the commitments of the interpreter and interpreted.



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Spencer Paulson
Northwestern University

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References found in this work

Inquiries Into Truth And Interpretation.Donald Davidson - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Studies in the way of words.Herbert Paul Grice - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Empiricism and the philosophy of mind.Wilfrid Sellars - 1956 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 1:253-329.

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