Making Conditional Speech Acts in the Material Way


The prevailing viewpoint concerning conditionals asserts two claims: (1) conditionals featuring non-assertive acts in their consequents, such as commands and promises, cannot plausibly be construed as assertions of material implication; (2) the most promising hypothesis for such sentences is conditional-assertion theory, which defines a conditional as a conditional speech act, i.e., the performance of a speech act given the assumption of the antecedent. This hypothesis carries significant and far-reaching implications, as conditional speech acts are not synonymous with a proposition possessing truth conditions. This paper opposes such a view in two steps. Firstly, it presents a battery of objections against conditional-assertion theory. Secondly, it advances the argument that such examples can indeed be convincingly construed as assertions of material implication.

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