Advertisement

Journal of Philosophical Logic

, Volume 44, Issue 6, pp 781–791 | Cite as

Conditionals and Propositions in Semantics

  • Daniel Rothschild
Article

Introduction

The project of giving an account of meaning in natural languages goes largely by assigning truth-conditional content to sentences. I will call the view that sentences have truth-conditional content propositionalism as it is common to identify the truth-conditional content of a sentence with the proposition it expresses. This content plays an important role in our explanations of the speech-acts, attitude ascriptions, and the meaning of sentences when they appear as parts of longer sentences. Much work in philosophy of language and linguistics semantics over the last half-century has aimed to characterize the truth-conditional content of different aspects of language.

There are different kinds of worries one might have about this project. There are general methodological worries about truth-conditional semantics that have had some currency in the philosophical literature. In my view, the enormous progress in semantics made in its brief history suggests these are misplaced....

Keywords

Indicative conditionals  Semantics Truth-conditions Probability 

References

  1. 1.
    Adams, E.W. (1975). The logic of conditionals: an application of probability to deductive logic. Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Belnap, N. (1970). Conditional assertion and restricted quantification. Noûs, 4, 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bennett, J. (2003). A philosophical guide to conditionals. New York: Oxford.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bradley, R. (2012). Multidimensional possible-world semantics for conditionals. Philosophical Review, 121, 539–571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cozic, M., & Égré, P. (2010). If-clauses and probability operators. Topoi, 30, 17–29.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Douven, I., & Verbrugge, S. (2013). The probabilities of conditionals revisited. Cognitive Science.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Edgington, D. (1995). On conditionals. Mind, 104(414), 235–329. doi: 10.1093/mind/104.414.235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Evans, J., Handley, S., & Over, D.E. (2003). Conditionals and conditional probability. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 29, 231–335.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gibbard, A. (1981). Two recent theories of conditionals. In W.L. Harper, R. Stalnaker & G. Pearce (Eds.), Ifs: conditionals, belief, decision, chance, and time. Amsterdam: Reidel.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gillies, A. (2004). Epistemic conditionals and conditional epstemics. Nous, 38(4), 585–616.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gillies, A. (2009). On the truth conditions for If (but not quite only if). Philosophical Review, 118(325–349).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Grice, P. (1967/1989). Logic and conversation. In Studies in the ways of words. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hajek, A., & Hall, N. (1994). The hypothesis of the conditional construal of conditional probability. In E. Eells, B. Skyms & E.W. Adams (Eds.), Probability and conditionals: belief revision and rational decision. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Heim, I. (1982). The semantics of definite and indefinite noun phrases. PhD thesis, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. http://semanticsarchive.net/Archive/Tk0ZmYyY/.
  15. 15.
    Heim, I., & Kratzer, A. (1998). Semantics in generative grammar. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Huitink, J. (2008). Modals, conditionals and compositionality. PhD thesis, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Jackson, F. (1987). Conditionals. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Jeffrey, R.C., & Stalnaker, R. (1994). Conditionals as random variables. In E. Eells & B. Skyrms (Eds.), Probability and conditionals (pp. 31–46). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Kamp, H. (1981). A theory of truth and semantic representation. In J. Groenendijk, et al. (Eds.), Formal methods in the study of language (pp. 277–322). Mathematish Centrum.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Khoo, J. (2011). Operators or restrictors? A reply to Gillies. Semantics and Pragmatics, 4(4), 1–43.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Khoo, J. (2012). A note on Gibbard’s proof. Philosophical Studies.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Klinedinst, N. (2011). Quantified conditionals and conditional excluded middle. Journal of Semantics, 28, 149–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kolodny, N., & MacFarlane, J. (2010). Ifs and oughts. Journal of Philosophy, 107(3), 115–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kratzer, A. (1981). The notional category of modality. In H.-J. Eikmeyer & H. Reiser (Eds.), Words, worlds, and contexts (pp. 38–74). Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Kratzer, A. (1986). Conditionals. Chicago Linguistics Society, 22(2), 1–15.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Kratzer, A. (2012). Modals and conditionals. London: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Lewis, D. (1970). General semantics. Synthese, 22, 18–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Lewis, D. (1973). Counterfactuals. Harvard.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Lewis, D. (1975). Adverbs of quantification. In E.L. Keenan (Ed.), Formal semantics of natural language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Lewis, D. (1976). Probabilities of conditional and conditional probabilities. Philosophical Review, 8, 297–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Lewis, D. (1980). Index, context, and content. In S. Kranger & S. Ohman (Eds.), Philosophy and grammar (pp. 79–100). Amsterdam: Reidel.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Lewis, D. (1981). Ordering semantics and premise semantics for counterfactuals. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 10, 217–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Lewis, D. (1986). Probabilities of conditional and conditional probabilities II. The Philosophical Review, 95, 581–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    McGee, V. (1985). A counterexample to modus ponens. The Journal of Philosophy, 82(9), 462–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    McGee, V. (1989). Conditional probabilities. The Philosophical Review, 98, 485–541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    McGee, V. (2000). To tell the truth about conditionals. Analysis, 60, 107–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Montague, R. (1973). The proper treatment of quantification in ordinary english. In J. Hintikka, J. Moravcsik & P. Suppes (Eds.), Approaches to natural language. Amsterdam: Reidel.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Ninan, D. Semantics and the objects of assertion. Linguistics and Philosophy, forthcoming.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Rabern, B. (2012). Monsters and communication: the semantics of contextual shifting and sensitivity. PhD thesis, ANU.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Rothschild, D. (2013). Do indicative conditionals express propositions? Noûs, 47, 49–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Rothschild, D. Capturing the relationship between conditionals and conditional probability with a trivalent semantics. Journal of Applied Non-Classical Logics, forthcoming.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Rothschild, D. A note on conditionals and restrictors. In Edgington festschrift. London: Oxford University Press. to appear. http://www.semanticsarchive.net/Archive/WY1M2MxM/.
  43. 43.
    Salmon, N. (1986). Frege’s Puzzle. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Soames, S. (1985). Lost innocence. Linguistics and Philosophy, 8, 59–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Stalnaker, R. (1968). A theory of conditionals. In N. Rescher (Ed.), Studies in logical theory. (pp. 98–112). New York: Oxford.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Stalnaker, R. (1970). Probability and conditionals. Philosophy of Science, 37, 64–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Stalnaker, R. (1975). Indicative conditionals. Philosophia, 5, 269–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Stalnaker, R. (1984). Inquiry. MIT.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Stalnaker, R. (2011). Conditional propositions and conditional assertions. In A. Egan & B. Weatherson (Eds.), Epistemic modality. New York: Oxford.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Veltman, F. (1996). Defaults in update semantics. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 25(3), 221–261. doi: 10.1007/BF00248150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Fintel, K.v. (2007). If: The biggest little word. slides from talk at Georgetown University Roundtable. http://mit.edu/fintel/gurt-slides.pdf.
  52. 52.
    von Fintel, K., & Iatridou, S. (2002). If and when If-clauses can restrict quantifiers. Paper for the Workshop in Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Willer, M. (2012). A remark on iffy oughts. Journal of Philosophy, 109(7), 449–461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Yalcin, S. (2007). Epistemic modals. Mind, 116, 983–1026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Yalcin, S. (2011). Nonfactualism about epistemic modality. In A. Egan & B. Weatherson (Eds.), Epistemic modality. New York: Oxford.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Yalcin, S. (2012). A counterexample to modus tollens. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 41, 1001–1024.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations