Article

Restriction without Quantification: Embedding and Probability for Indicative Conditionals

Author
  • Ivano Ciardelli (LMU Munich)

Abstract

Many modern theories of indicative conditionals treat them as restricted epistemic necessity modals. This view, however, faces two problems. First, indicative conditionals do not behave like necessity modals in embedded contexts, e.g., under ‘might’ and ‘probably’: in these contexts, conditionals do not contribute a universal quantification over epistemic possibilities. Second, when we assess the probability of a conditional, we do not assess how likely it is that the consequent is epistemically necessary given the antecedent. I propose a semantics which solves both problems, while still accounting for the data that motivated the necessity modal view. The account is based on the idea that the semantics of conditionals involves only a restriction of the relevant epistemic state, and no quantification over epistemic possibilities. The relevant quantification is contributed by an attitude parameter in the semantics, which is shifted by epistemic modals. If the conditional is asserted, the designated attitude is acceptance, which contributes a universal quantification, producing the effect of a restricted necessity modal.

Keywords: indicative conditionals, epistemic modals, conditional probability, expressivism, attitudes, dynamic semantics, Adams' thesis

How to Cite:

Ciardelli, I., (2021) “Restriction without Quantification: Embedding and Probability for Indicative Conditionals”, Ergo 8: 21. doi: https://doi.org/10.3998/ergo.1158

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Published on
13 Dec 2021
Peer Reviewed