Making Conditional Speech Acts in the Material Way

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The conventional wisdom about conditionals claims that (1) conditionals that have non-assertive acts in their consequents, such as commands and promises, are not plausibly interpreted as material implications; (2) the most promising hypothesis about these sentences is conditional-assertion theory, which explains a conditional as a conditional speech act, i.e., a performance of a speech act given the assumption of the antecedent. This hypothesis has far-reaching and revisionist consequences, because conditional speech acts are not synonymous with a proposition with truth conditions. This paper argues against this prevalent view in two steps. First, it presents a battery of objections against conditional-assertion theory. Second, it argues that these examples can be convincingly interpreted as categorical assertions of material implications.
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First archival date: 2020-02-16
Latest version: 12 (2020-03-04)
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A Theory of Conditionals.Stalnaker, Robert C.

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