Towards a Probabilistic Analysis for Conditionals and Unconditionals
The thesis that the probability of a conditional Open image in new window is the corresponding conditional probability of C, given A, enjoys wide currency among philosophers and growing empirical support in psychology. In this paper I ask how a probabilisitic account of conditionals along these lines could be extended to unconditional sentences, i.e., conditionals with interrogative antecedents. Such sentences are typically interpreted as equivalent to conjunctions of conditionals. This raises a number of challenges for a probabilistic account, chief among them the question of what the probability of a conjunction of conditionals should be. I offer an analysis which addresses these issues by extending the interpretation of conditonals in Bernoulli models to the case of unconditionals.
KeywordsConditionals Unconditionals Probability Bernoulli models
I would like to thank the organizers of LENLS 12 for the opportunity to present this work. Parts of this material were previously presented at the “Work in Progress” seminar in the Philosophy Department at MIT. I am grateful to the audiences at both events for valuable feedback. Thanks also to Yukinori Takubo and Kyoto University for an invitation to a one-semester guest professorship in the fall of 2015, during which some of this work was carried out.
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