Conditionals and Truth Functionality

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
The material interpretation of conditionals is commonly recognized as involving some paradoxical results. I here argue that the truth functional approach to natural language is the reason for the inadequacy of this material interpretation, since the truth or falsity of some pair of statements ‘p’ and ‘q’ cannot per se be decisive for the truth or falsity of a conditional relation ‘if p then q’. This inadequacy also affects the ability of the overall formal system to establish whether or not arguments involving conditionals are valid. I also demonstrate that the Paradox of Indicative Conditionals does not actually involve a paradox, but instead contains some paralogistic elements that make it appear to be a paradox. The discussion of the paradox in this paper further reveals that the material interpretation of conditionals adversely affects the treatment of disjunctions. Much has been said about these matters in the literature that point in the same direction. However, there seems to be some reluctance against fully complying with the arguments against the truth functional account of conditionals, since many of the alternative accounts rely on the material conditional, or at least on an understanding of the conditional as a function of antecedent and consequent in a similar sense as the material conditional. My argument against truth functionality indicates that it may in general involve similar problems to treat conditionals as such functions, whether one deals with theories of truth, assertability or probability.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
First archival date: 2013-11-04
Latest version: 2 (2013-11-04)
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
868 ( #4,697 of 57,178 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
70 ( #9,559 of 57,178 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.