Necessary and Sufficient Conditions are Converse Relations

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Abstract
According to the so-called ‘standard theory’ of conditions, the conditionship relation is converse, that is, if A is a sufficient condition for B, B is a necessary condition for A. This theory faces well-known counterexamples that appeal to both causal and other asymmetric considerations. I show that these counterexamples lose their plausibility once we clarify two key components of the standard theory: that to satisfy a condition is to instantiate a property, and that what is usually called ‘conditionship relation’ is an inferential relation. Throughout the paper this way of interpreting the standard theory is compared favourably over an alternative interpretation that is outlined in causal terms, since it can be applied to all counterexamples without losing its intuitive appeal.
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First archival date: 2020-01-30
Latest version: 2 (2020-02-08)
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2020-01-30

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