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Towards a Radically Pragmatic Theory of If-Conditionals
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, Arts and Humanities. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2011 (English)In: Making Semantics Pragmatic / [ed] Ken Turner, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2011, 103-141 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

It is generally agreed that constructions of the form “if P, Q” are capable of conveying a number of different relations between antecedent and consequent, with pragmatics playing a central role in determining these relations. Controversy concerns what the conventional contribution of the if-clause is, how it constrains the pragmatic processes, and what those processes are. In this essay, I begin to argue that the conventional contribution of if-clauses to semantics is exhausted by the fact that these clauses introduce a proposition without presenting it as true so that the consequent can be understood in relation to it. Given our cognitive interests in such non-truth-presentational introductions, conditionals will make salient the wide but nevertheless disciplined variety of contents that we naturally attribute to them; no further substantial constraints of the sorts proposed by standard theories of conditionals are needed to explain the phenomena. If this is correct, it provides prima facie evidence for a radically contextualist account of conditionals according to which conditionals have no truth-evaluable or intuitively complete content absent some contextually provided, sufficiently salient relation between antecedent and consequent.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2011. 103-141 p.
, Current Research in the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface, ISSN 1472-7870 ; 24
Keyword [en]
Semantics, Pragmatics
Keyword [sv]
Semantik, Pragmatik
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73448DOI: 10.1108/S1472-7870(2011)0000024007ISBN: 978-0-85724-909-8OAI: diva2:472492
Available from: 2012-01-03 Created: 2012-01-03 Last updated: 2015-01-08Bibliographically approved

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Björnsson, Gunnar
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