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Rethinking Gibbard’s Riverboat Argument


According to the Principle of Conditional Non-Contradiction (CNC), conditionals of the form “If p, q” and “If p, not q” cannot both be true, unless p is inconsistent. This principle is widely regarded as an adequacy constraint on any semantics that attributes truth conditions to conditionals. Gibbard has presented an example of a pair of conditionals that, in the context he describes, appear to violate CNC. He concluded from this that conditionals lack truth conditions. We argue that this conclusion is rash by proposing a new diagnosis of what is going on in Gibbard’s argument. We also provide empirical evidence in support of our proposal.

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Correspondence to Igor Douven.

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Krzyżanowska, K., Wenmackers, S. & Douven, I. Rethinking Gibbard’s Riverboat Argument. Stud Logica 102, 771–792 (2014).

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  • Conditionals
  • Inference
  • Semantics