Conditionals, Truth, and Assertion
This chapter argues that the conditional probability of the consequent given the antecedent is crucial to understanding indicative conditionals. However, unlike Jackson, it denies that the truth value of an indicative conditional is given by the corresponding material conditional. To begin with are the difficulties that embedded conditionals (i.e. conditionals which have conditional antecedents and/or consequents) present to Jackson. Jackson is aware that embedded conditionals present problems to his approach, and argues that ‘If A then (if B then C)’ is regarded by English users as interchangeable with ‘If (A and B) then C’. Since the latter contains no embedded conditionals, the problem is avoided. However, the proposed solution fails to generalize in satisfactory ways to connectives like ‘but’ and ‘even’. In addition, Jackson's approach to conditionals is restricted to conditionals used to make assertions, and does not readily generalize to conditionals used in other kinds of speech acts. The response to the difficulties with taking the material conditional as giving the truth conditions for the indicative conditional is not to seek an alternative, more satisfactory account of the truth conditions of indicative conditionals; rather, the chapter endorses the ‘no truth conditions’ position originally proposed by Ernest Adams.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.