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Conditionals and Actuality

Timothy Williamson
Erkenntnis (1975-)
Vol. 70, No. 2, Conditionals (Mar., 2009), pp. 135-150
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40267415
Page Count: 16
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Conditionals and Actuality
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Abstract

It is known that indicative and subjunctive conditionals interact differently with a rigidifying "actually" operator. The paper studies this difference in an abstract setting. It does not assume the framework of possible world semantics, characterizing "actually" instead by the type of logically valid formulas to which it gives rise. It is proved that in a language with such features all sentential contexts that are congruential (in the sense that they preserve logical equivalence) are extensional (in the sense that they preserve material equivalence). For a subjunctive conditional, the natural conclusion to draw is that it is non-congruential. It is much harder to defend the claim that an indicative conditional is non-congruential. The pressure to treat the indicative conditional as truth-functional is correspondingly greater. The implications of these results for attempts to interpret the indicative conditional as an epistemic or doxastic operator are assessed.

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