Paul Grice on Indicative Conditionals

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Grice argues that indicative conditionals ‘if p then q’ have conventional, truth conditional meaning according to the material conditional ‘p  q’. In order to explain away the known paradoxes with this interpretation, he distinguishes between truth conditions and assertion conditions, attempting to demonstrate that the assumed connection between ‘p’ and ‘q’ (the Indirectness Condition) is a conversational implicature; hence a matter only relevant for the assertion conditions of a conditional. This paper argues that Grice fails to demonstrate i) that the Indirectness Condition is cancellable, hence a conversational implicature, ii) that the Indirectness Condition is not part of the conventional, truth-relevant meaning of ‘if’, and accordingly, iii) semantic or logical equivalence between indicative and material conditionals.
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Archival date: 2013-11-04
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