LIRa Session: Hans Rott

Speaker: Hans Rott

Date and Time: Thursday, September 23rd 2021, 16:30-18:00, Amsterdam time.

Venue: online.

Title: Difference-making and ‘Because’

Abstract. Causes make a difference to their effects, explanantia make a difference to their explananda, reasons make a difference to what they are reasons for. The paradigmatic way of reporting about causal, explanatory or reason relations is in the form of sentences using ‘because’ or its stylistic variant ‘since’. Such sentences thus express that the antecedent makes a difference to the consequent. We suggest to analyze ‘because’ with the help of a difference-making conditional ». The latter is stronger than the usual suppositional conditional >. A»C can be defined by the conjunction of (i) A>C and (ii) ¬(¬A>C). We show that the logic of difference making can be extended to get a logic for ‘C because A’ by adding the clauses that (iii) A is true/accepted and (iv) C is true/accepted. We show that under a rather standard analysis of the suppositional conditional, the analysis of ‘C because A’ reduces to just (ii) and (iv). In other words, an explanation of C by A implies that the explanandum C is true or believed to be true, and it also implies the might conditional ‘If ¬A had been the case, ¬C might have been the case.’

– Eric Raidl, ‘Definable conditionals’, Topoi 40(1), 2021, 87-105.
– Hans Rott, ‘Difference-making conditionals and the Relevant Ramsey Test’, Review of Symbolic Logic, online Dec 2019,