If a man buys a horse, … you have no argument against material implication: On a flaw in the foundations of the restrictor approach to conditionals

Linguistische Berichte 269:43-54 (2022)
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The paper discusses a prominent one of Kratzer's (1986, 1991, 2012) arguments against material implication analyses of the denotation of (indicative) conditional sentences. This is the argument based on the sentence _Most of the time, if a man buys a horse, he pays cash for it_. It is shown that material implication makes a prediction that does conform to speakers' intuitions, contrary to Kratzer's claim. The paper also argues that Lewis's (1975) attack on material implication analyses of conditional sentences based on examples where the conditional is embedded under the adverbials _sometimes_ and _never_ does not have much force given that the interpretation of such sentences is subject to inferential pragmatic operations in addition to the recovery of their denotation.

Author's Profile

Carsten Breul
University of Wuppertal


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