On the Meaning of the Conditional
Adams (Ernest)
Source: Philosophical Topics , Spring 1987, Vol. 15, No. 1, Philosophy of Language, pp. 5-22
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. Objectives. This paper will be about the meanings of indicative conditional sentences like S:
      If you eat that candy you'll be sick.
  2. I will try to make it plausible that it is part of the meaning of such a sentence that its use signals the utterer's intention that the person addressed should come to have a high degree of belief in something, the 'best-in- the-long-run' degree of belief in which is a conditional frequency.
  3. This can be interpreted as supporting a Conditional Probability Thesis: namely that the probabilities of conditionals are conditional probabilities. The argument is complicated and rather than developing it abstractly I will focus on a particular example involving the use of sentence S.

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