Introduction to the Logic of Conditionals


Hamburg, August 4-8, 2008


Instructors: Mikaël Cozic & Paul Egré


Course Description: The purpose of this course is to give an introduction to the logic and semantics of conditional sentences (sentences of the form "if P then Q") in natural language. We will start by a review of the limitations of the truth-functional analysis of conditionals in classical logic, and will give a detailed exposition and comparison of the conditional logics of Stalnaker, Lewis, and Adams, with emphasis on the Lewis-Kratzer account of if-clauses as restrictors of quantifiers (day 1-2), and emphasis on recent developments (Schlenker's treatment of conditionals as descriptions, Girard's generalization of Lewis's logic). We will then focus on two main aspects of the logic of conditionals: (i) the probability of conditionals (Adam's Thesis) and the significance of Lewis's triviality results (do conditionals have truth conditions?) (day 3-4); (ii) the problem of giving a unified semantics for indicative conditionals and counterfactual conditionals (interaction between tense and modality) (day 5). The course is open to linguists, philosophers and logicians, and presupposes only basic knowledge of propositional logic.

For more information: check the detailed syllabus of the course.

Lecture Notes:

The slides of the course will be put online daily as we go along. If you are new to logic: please bear with us, ask questions (during or off class) and read the slides. If anything is unclear, let us know!

Lecture 1: The Stalnaker-Lewis conditional [slides]

Lecture 2: Conditionals as restrictors [slides]

Lecture 3: Conditionals and Rational Belief Change [slides]

Lecture 4: Triviality results and their implications [slides]

Lecture 5: Indicative vs. Subjunctive Conditionals [slides]

The complete course packet for this course, including syllabus and slides, is also available in pdf (3,1Mo): [course packet]


Link: ESSLLI 2008 Main Page


(last updated: 09/08/2008)