“If you’d wiggled A, then B would’ve changed”
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This paper deals with the truth conditions of conditional sentences. It focuses on a particular class of problematic examples for semantic theories for these sentences. I will argue that the examples show the need to refer to dynamic, in particular causal laws in an approach to their truth conditions. More particularly, I will claim that we need a causal notion of consequence. The proposal subsequently made uses a representation of causal dependencies as proposed in Pearl (2000) to formalize a causal notion of consequence. This notion inserted in premise semantics for counterfactuals in the style of Veltman (1976) and Kratzer (1979) will provide a new interpretation rule for conditionals. I will illustrate how this approach overcomes problems of previous proposals and end with some remarks on remaining questions.
KeywordsCounterfactual conditionals Causal dependencies Premise semantics Fixed point semantics
The author is supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).
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