Path Semantics for Indicative Conditionals

Mind (forthcoming)
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Abstract
The literature on indicative conditionals contains two appealing views. The first is the selectional view: on this view, conditionals operate by selecting a single possibility, which is used to evaluate the consequent. The second is the informational view: on this view, conditionals don't express propositions, but rather impose constraints on information states of speakers. Both views are supported by strong arguments, but they are incompatible on their standard formulations. Hence it appears that we have to choose between mutually exclusive options. But the options are not exclusive. This paper develops a theory of the semantics and assertability of conditionals that is both selectional and informational. The theory vindicates the signature inferences of both selectional and informational theories, including so-called Conditionals Excluded Middle and principles about the interplay between conditionals and "might". It also predicts some interesting and puzzling facts about the assertion of conditionals.
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Archival date: 2021-07-19
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