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indicative conditionals


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Sentences such as ‘if Alfred comes, there will be a row’ or ‘if Oswald did not shoot Kennedy, then someone else did’. These are standardly contrasted with counterfactual conditionals: for example the second of them is true, whereas the corresponding counterfactual ‘if Oswald had not shot Kennedy, then someone else would have’ is false. But the nature of the contrast, and indeed the right account of the meaning of indicative conditionals, are both highly controversial. In standard propositional calculus, indicative conditionals are treated as expressing the truth function of material implication, although this generates well-known paradoxes.

Subjects: Philosophy.


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