11 August 2023
Trivalent and Dynamic Theories of Conditionals
The course explores two families of theories of indicative conditionals: trivalent and dynamic/informational semantics. We start by introducing trivalent and dynamic theories of conditionals, making reference to both classical and contemporary work. We then introduce puzzles relating conditionals and probability and Stalnaker's Thesis, i.e. the claim that probabilities of conditionals are conditional probabilities. We show how both trivalent and dynamic approaches can offer solutions to these puzzles. Trivalent theories vindicate Stalnaker's Thesis while avoiding some of its paradoxical consequences, and are simple and workable. Dynamic theories can be combined with theories of probability in a way to vindicate Stalnaker's Thesis, and at the same time are well-integrated with a compositional semantics for modality in natural language. Yet both theories have open problems. We conclude by exploring a hybrid approach, which exploits the fact that the notion of support at the core of dynamic semantics is inherently partial.
The course will be taught at an introductory level.
Lorenzo Rossi and Paolo Santorio
EUR 490: Early student registration
EUR 690: Early non-academic registration
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