This book proposes a semantic theory of conditionals that can account for (i) the variability in usages that conditional sentences can be put; and (ii) both conditional sentences of the form ‘if p, q’ and those conditional thoughts that are expressed without using ‘if’. It presents theoretical arguments as well as empirical evidence from English and other languages in support of the thesis that an adequate study of conditionals has to go beyond an analysis of specific sentence forms or lexical items. The resulting perspective on conditionals is one in which conditionality is located at a higher level than that of the sentence; namely, at the level of thought. The author argues that it is only through adopting such a perspective, and with it, a commitment to context-dependent semantics, that we can successfully represent conditional utterances as they are used and understood by ordinary language users. It will be of interest to students and scholars working on the semantics of conditionals in the fields of linguistics (especially semantics and pragmatics) and philosophy of language.
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