Arguments, Suppositions, and Conditionals

Semantics and Linguistic Theory (forthcoming)
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Arguments and conditionals are powerful means language provides us to reason about possibilities and to reach conclusions from premises. These two kinds of constructions exhibit several affinities—e.g., they both come in different varieties depending on the mood; they share some of the same connectives (i.e., ‘then’); they allow for similar patterns of modal subordination. In the light of these affinities, it is not surprising that prominent theories of conditionals—old and new suppositionalisms as well as dynamic theories of conditionals—as well as certain reductive theories of arguments tend to semantically assimilate conditionals and arguments. In this paper, I shall marshall some linguistic evidence as well as some theoretical considerations for thinking that, despite these similarities, arguments and conditionals should be given a different semantics and I shall lay out a framework that can capture at least some of their affinities while accounting for their outstanding differences.

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Carlotta Pavese
Cornell University


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