LIRa Session: Karolina Krzyżanowska

Speaker: Karolina Krzyżanowska

Date and Time: Thursday, October 25th 2018, 16:30-18:00

Venue: ILLC Seminar Room F1.15, Science Park 107.

Title: True clauses and false connections: what’s wrong with missing-link conditionals?

Abstract. The majority of the prominent theories of indicative conditionals validate the Principle of Conjunctive Sufficiency. That is, on those accounts, whenever the antecedent, P, and the consequent, Q, are true, the conditional, “If P then Q,” is acceptable, whether or not there is a meaningful connection between P and Q. At the same time, almost everyone seems to agree that conditionals without a connection are odd. Gricean explanation of the oddity of missing-link conditionals rests on an observation that such conditionals are rendered highly acceptable only in situations in which a stronger assertion, for instance, that of a conjunction of P and Q, is warranted. Asserting a weaker, less informative conditional is odd because it is a violation of the Maxim of Quantity. In my talk, I will present empirical data that challenge Gricean explanation of why missing-link conditionals are odd. Furthermore, I will argue that these findings can be reconciled with general principles of Gricean pragmatics, but at the cost of giving up Conjunctive Sufficiency.