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The Journal of Philosophy

Volume 115, Issue 10, October 2018

Paolo Santorio
Pages 513-549

Alternatives and Truthmakers in Conditional Semantics

Natural language conditionals seem to be subject to three logical requirements: they invalidate Antecedent Strengthening, they validate so-called Simplification of Disjunctive Antecedents, and they allow for the replacement of logically equivalent clauses in antecedent position. Unfortunately, these requirements are jointly inconsistent. Conservative solutions to the puzzle drop Simplification, treating it as a pragmatic inference. I show that pragmatic accounts of Simplification fail, and develop a truthmaker semantics for conditionals that captures all the relevant data. Differently from existing truthmaker semantics, my semantics extends, rather than replaces, standard possible worlds semantics. The main innovation is the notion of a truthmaker in play: this notion is cognitive, rather than metaphysical, and can be defined in a purely syntactic way.

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