A Philosophical Guide to Conditionals

Paperback | April 1, 2003

byJonathan Bennett

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Conditional sentences are among the most intriguing and puzzling features of language: analysis of their meaning and function has important implications for, and uses in, many areas of philosophy. Jonathan Bennett, one of the world's leading experts, distils many years' work and teaching intothis Philosophical Guide to Conditionals, the fullest and most authoritative treatment of the subject. The literature on conditionals is difficult - needlessly so. Bennett's treatment is meticulously careful and luminously clear. He presents and evaluates in detail various approaches to theunderstanding of 'indicative' conditionals (like 'If Shakespeare didn't write Hamlet, some aristocrat did') and 'subjunctive' conditionals (like 'If rabbits had not been deliberately introduced into New Zealand, there would be none there today'); and he offers his own view, which will be recognizedas a major original contribution to the subject.Journeying through this intellectual territory brings one into contact with the metaphysics of possible worlds, probability and belief-change, probability and logic, the pragmatics of conversation, determinism, ambiguity, vagueness, the law of excluded middle, facts versus events, and more. Onemight perhaps learn more philosophy from a thorough study of conditionals than from any other kind of work. Bennett's Guide is an ideal introduction for undergraduates with a philosophical grounding, and will also be a rich source of illumination and stimulation for graduate students andprofessional philosophers.

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Conditional sentences are among the most intriguing and puzzling features of language: analysis of their meaning and function has important implications for, and uses in, many areas of philosophy. Jonathan Bennett, one of the world's leading experts, distils many years' work and teaching intothis Philosophical Guide to Conditionals, t...

Jonathan Bennett, who now lives on an island near Vancouver, British Columbia, was formerly Lecturer in Moral Science at the University of Cambridge, and Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia and then at Syracuse University. He has held visiting positions at Cornell, Michigan, Pittsburgh, and Princeton, and has...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:404 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.87 inPublished:April 1, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199258872

ISBN - 13:9780199258871

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. The Material Condition: Grice3. The Material Condition: Jackson4. The Equation5. The Equation Attacked6. The Subjectivity of Indicative Conditionals7. Indicative Conditionals Lack Truth Values8. Uses of Indicative Conditionals9. The Logic of Indicative Conditionals10. Subjunctive Conditionals - First Steps11. The Competition for 'Closest'12. Unrolling from the Antecedent Time13. Forks14. Reflections on Legality15. Truth at the Actual World16. Subjunctive Conditionals and Probability17. 'Even If...'18. Backward Subjunctive Conditionals19. Subjunctive Conditionals and Time's Arrow20. Support Theories21. The Need for Worlds22. Relating the Two Kinds of Conditional23. Unifying the Two Kinds of ConditionalReferencesIndex of PersonsIndex of Topics

Editorial Reviews

`He provides a useful, digestible and often entertaining discussion of many different debates.'The Philosophical Quarterly