A Philosophical Guide to Conditionals

A Philosophical Guide to Conditionals

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Description

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 into this 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 the understanding 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 recognized as 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. One might 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 and professional philosophers.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 404 pages
  • 157 x 234 x 22mm | 591g
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0199258872
  • 9780199258871
  • 1,113,689

Table of contents

1. Introduction ; 2. The Material Condition: Grice ; 3. The Material Condition: Jackson ; 4. The Equation ; 5. The Equation Attacked ; 6. The Subjectivity of Indicative Conditionals ; 7. Indicative Conditionals Lack Truth Values ; 8. Uses of Indicative Conditionals ; 9. The Logic of Indicative Conditionals ; 10. Subjunctive Conditionals - First Steps ; 11. The Competition for 'Closest' ; 12. Unrolling from the Antecedent Time ; 13. Forks ; 14. Reflections on Legality ; 15. Truth at the Actual World ; 16. Subjunctive Conditionals and Probability ; 17. 'Even If...' ; 18. Backward Subjunctive Conditionals ; 19. Subjunctive Conditionals and Time's Arrow ; 20. Support Theories ; 21. The Need for Worlds ; 22. Relating the Two Kinds of Conditional ; 23. Unifying the Two Kinds of Conditional ; References ; Index of Persons ; Index of Topics
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Review quote

Jonathan Bennett sets out in this ambitious project to provide a complete and thorough guide to the subject of philosophical conditionals. I suspect that in lesser hands this text could have become something of a chore, taking on, as it does, aspects of semantics that are highly technical and difficult to work through. But in this case the results are delightful. Bennett explores the field of conditionals without needless technicality, (indeed on occasion one wonders
that others have managed to make such heavy work in a field that seems so simple when presented thus) is pellucidly clear at all times and, above all, makes the topic of conditionals interesting and relevant to the reader. * Jonathan Tallant, Philosophical Writings * Bennett's welcome guide . . . exhibits good common sense . . . presents good explanations of technical work to nontechnical readers, and most importantly, provides the only book available where we can find the whole literature on conditionals vigorously explained and analyzed. * Richard Mendelsohn, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews *
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About Jonathan Bennett

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 been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and a visiting Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. He is
Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the British Academy.
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Rating details

14 ratings
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4 43% (6)
3 14% (2)
2 7% (1)
1 7% (1)
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