Semantic, Pragmatic, and Cross-linguistic Perspectives
Workshop held at the University of Connecticut October 21-22, 2022
with generous support from the UConn College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the UConn Humanities Institute, and the National Science Foundation. Details below.
|Friday, October 21|
|Daniel Lassiter, Department of Linguistics and English Language, University of Edinburgh, UK|
|Masaya Yoshida, Department of Linguistics, Northwestern University, U.S.A. The Syntax of Conditional-Topic in Japanese|
|Yurie Hara, Research Faculty of Media and Communication, Hokkaido University, Japan|
|Paul Égré, Directeur de recherche au CNRS / Professeur attaché Département de Philosophie de l'ENS, France|
|Nicole Cruz, Department of Psychology, Universität Innsbruck, Austria|
|Saturday, October 22|
Department of Psychology, Durham University, UK
There has been increasing confirmation, supporting Bayesian approaches in the psychology of reasoning, of the conditional probability hypothesis that the probability of the natural language conditional, P(if p then q), is the conditional probability of q given p, P(q|p). Some studies have found possible exceptions to the hypothesis when p and q are independent. Other studies have not supported this conclusion. But the former studies have encouraged the development of truth condition inferentialism, which implies that there must be a compelling argument from p to q, with p pivotal in it, for a conditional if p then q to be true. There are clear examples of uses of if p then q, sometimes expressible with "even if", that are true although p and q are independent. I will call such cases true independence conditionals. Inferentialists have tried to dismiss these uses as "non-standard", but usually, when even if not-p, q holds, there is an implicit if p then q that is also an independence conditional. Uses of independence conditionals cannot be called "non-standard", and it is circular to claim that a theory only applies to "standard" cases, with the "standard" cases taken as the ones the theory applies to. A theory defended in this way is untestable. Moreover, research by inferentialists themselves has disconfirmed truth condition inferentialism. They try to argue that their disconfirming findings are the result of belief bias, but there are serious problems with this argument. Other psychological results also disconfirm truth condition inferentialism. Independence conditionals play an important role in human reasoning, and I will draw attention to questions that should be asked about them.
|María Biezma, Department of Linguistics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, U.S.A.|
|Omar Agha, Department of Linguistics, University of Connecticut, U.S.A.|
|Paolo Santorio, Department of Philosophy, University of Maryland, U.S.A.|
- UConn College of Arts and Sciences, Research in Academic Themes initiative: Conditional Thought and Talk.
- National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant: Research on conditional and modal language. Magdalena Kaufmann (PI) and Stefan Kaufmann (Co-PI).