, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 447-464

The Hypothetical Syllogism

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The hypothetical syllogism is invalid in standard interpretations of conditional sentences. Many arguments of this sort are quite compelling, though, and you can wonder what makes them so. I shall argue that it is our parsimony in regard to connections among events and states of affairs. All manner of things just might, for all we know, be bound up with one another in all sorts of ways. But ordinarily it is better, being simpler, to assume they are unconnected. In so doing, we jump to the conclusions of some compelling but invalid arguments.