jen - Bennett's Ch 7: Indicative Conditionals Lack Truth...

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Bennett’s Ch 7: Indicative Conditionals Lack Truth Values Jennifer Zale, 10/12/04 §38. No Truth Value (NTV) I. Main idea of NTV: Indicative conditionals have no truth conditions and no truth value. They are neither are neither true nor false. They are not propositions. II. “Friends of NTV” Notable Opponents Ernest Adams (founder) Jackson Bennett Lycan Gibbard Edgington McDermott III. Requirements for joining “Friends of NTV” Reject horseshoe analysis. A C A C Believe that A C has Ramseyan conditions for acceptability. Believe there’s nothing more to A C than these Ramseyan acceptability conditions.* End of story. (cf. Jackson, who believes A C has Ramseyan ‘assertability’ conditions PLUS truth conditions). Bennett, in addition to the above, also accepts import/export (i.e., his “If-And”) and has “zero-intolerance” (i.e., If P(A) = 0, then A C is not assertable.) * Bennett’s claim that “there’s nothing more to A C than Ramseyan acceptability conditions” suggests that Ramseyan acceptability is constitutive of the meaning of A C. Bennett’s remarks on this are not very illuminating: o “A C means whatever it has to mean such that P(A C) is P(C A) . . . it means whatever satisfies the logic that has been built on this foundation” (p. 58, chap. 4, italics in original). o “In Adams’ theory, the Equation does not assert an equality; rather it defines P(A C) as P(C A), telling us what a conditional probability is. ...On this account the equation does not embody a substantive claim” (p. 104, chap. 7) §39. Embedding Indicative Conditionals (ICs) I. No Free Pass. A. NTV items do NOT get a “free pass” to be embedded inside larger truth-functional constructions (note: items with truth values do get free pass). The worry seems to be that if you imbed an IC, the whole proposition loses its sense. That is, not only does it not have a truth value, but it is also is meaningless. Each proposed form of embedding NTV items should be judged separately (Adams).
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B. Although, on Jackson’s view, ICs have truth conditions, he concedes that the Ramseyan assertability conditions of ICs do not survive embedding. So ICs aren’t any more embeddable on Jackson’s account than they are on Adams’ account. Jackson says he never promised that embedding ICs would always generate a (conventionally) “meaningful sentence.” (Bennett notes that this is a 6 th way Jackson’s Ramseyan feature differs from Jackson’s other examples of conventional implicature—e.g., “but”.) II. Is restricted embedding a merit of the NTV theory or a shortcoming ? Bennett: “Intuitive evidence” that ICs are not freely embeddable suggests it’s a merit.
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This note was uploaded on 08/01/2008 for the course PHIL 290 taught by Professor Fitelson during the Fall '06 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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jen - Bennett's Ch 7: Indicative Conditionals Lack Truth...

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