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Indicatives, subjunctives, and the falsity of the antecedent

Indicatives, subjunctives, and the falsity of the antecedent

Skovgaard-Olsen, Niels and Collins, Peter ORCID: 0000-0003-4831-2524 (2021) Indicatives, subjunctives, and the falsity of the antecedent. Cognitive Science. ISSN 0364-0213 (Print), 1551-6709 (Online) (In Press)

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Abstract

It is widely held that there are important differences between indicative conditionals (e.g. “If the authors are linguists, they have written a linguistics paper”) and subjunctive conditionals (e.g. “If the authors had been linguists, they would have written a linguistics paper”). A central difference is that indicatives and subjunctives convey different stances towards the truth of their antecedents. Indicatives (often) convey neutrality: for example, about whether the authors in question are linguists. Subjunctives (often) convey the falsity of the antecedent: for example, that the authors in question are not linguists. This paper tests prominent accounts of how these different stances are conveyed: whether by presupposition or conversational implicature. Experiment 1 tests the presupposition account by investigating whether the stances project – remain constant – when embedded under operators like negations, possibility modals, and interrogatives, a key characteristic of presuppositions. Experiment 2 tests the conversational-implicature account by investigating whether the stances can be cancelled without producing a contradiction, a key characteristic of implicatures. The results provide evidence that both stances – neutrality about the antecedent in indicatives and the falsity of the antecedent in subjunctives – are conveyed by conversational implicatures.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: As I understand it, Cognitive Science allow authors to freely distribute even the final PDF of their article. However, my co-author is at a German institution which has an open-access deal with Wiley, and the article will accordingly be published open access - Peter Collins Oct 1 2021.
Uncontrolled Keywords: subjunctive conditionals, indicative conditionals, falsity of the antecedent, presupposition, conversational implicature
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2021 09:40
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/34006

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