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Defending a Possible-Worlds Account of Indicative Conditionals

Daniel Nolan
Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition
Vol. 116, No. 3 (Dec., 2003), pp. 215-269
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4321427
Page Count: 55
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Defending a Possible-Worlds Account of Indicative Conditionals
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Abstract

One very popular kind of semantics for subjunctive conditionals is a closest-worlds account along the lines of theories given by David Lewis and Robert Stalnaker. If we could give the same sort of semantics for indicative conditionals, we would have a more unified account of the meaning of "if... then..." statements, one with many advantages for explaining the behaviour of conditional sentences. Such a treatment of indicative conditionals, however, has faced a battery of objections. This paper outlines a closest-worlds account of indicative conditionals that does better than some of its cousins in explaining the behaviour of such conditionals. The paper then discusses objections offered by Dorothy Edgington and Frank Jackson to closest-worlds accounts of indicative conditionals, and shows that these objections can be met by the account outlined.

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