Negating conditional sentences

Paul Égré

18 Oct 2013, 2pm-4pm, Oak Hall 408

Theories of indicative conditionals differ on whether sentences of the form “if A then C” have as their negation the conjunction “A and not C” or the conditional negation “if A then not C”. We argue that this opposition is unduly restrictive. We adopt a version of Kratzer’s modal analysis of conditionals on which the default negation of an indicative conditional is “if A then possibly not C”, a conditional negation weaker than “if A then not C”. We present empirical evidence in favor of this assumption and for the hypothesis that both conjunctive negation and strong conditional negation can be retrieved from this weak negation based on pragmatic assumptions regarding the information available to the contradictor of a conditional.