Directional Bias - Why Most Philosophers (Wrongly) Believe Conditionals are not Material

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Abstract
There is almost a consensus among philosophers that indicative conditionals are not material. Their thought hinges on the idea that if conditionals were material, A → B could be vacuously true even if the truth of A would lead to the falsity of B. But since this consequence is implausible, the material account must be false. I will argue that this point of view is mistaken, since it is motivated by the grammatical form of conditional sentences and the symbols used to represent their logical form, which misleadingly suggest an inferential direction from A to B. That conditional sentences mislead us into a directionality bias is a phenomenon that is well-documented in the literature about conditional reasoning. However, this directional appearance is deceptive and does not reflect the underlying truth conditions of conditional sentences. When this illusion is dispelled, we can recognise conditionals for what they are: material truth-functions.
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Archival date: 2020-01-30
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