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date: 19 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter uses four historically important approaches to conditionals to help illustrate ways of thinking about the language of subjective uncertainty more broadly construed. On the first, conditionals express propositions and `if' is a truth-functional connective. Problems here motivate the second hypothesis-that a conditional expresses a proposition the probability of which equals the probability of the consequent conditional on its antecedent. Problems for this approach in turn motivate a third kind of view on which conditionals do not express propositions that are true or false. According to one such approach, `if' has a non-compositional meaning: it is used to help express conditional beliefs in a special, non-semantic way. The costs of abandoning compositionality motivate the final family of views considered, on which compositional semantic interpretation functions output non-propositional objects; therefore semanticists can and should help themselves to tools developed by formal epistemologists.

Keywords: conditional, language, probability, proposition, semantics, uncertainty

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