A New Approach to Testimonial Conditionals

AbstractConditionals pervade every aspect of our thinking, from the mundane and everyday such as `if you eat too much cheese, you will have nightmares' to the most fundamental concerns as in `if global warming isn't halted, sea levels will rise dramatically'. Many decades of research have focussed on the semantics of conditionals and how people reason from conditionals in everyday life. Here it has been rather overlooked how we come to such conditionals in the first place. In many cases, they are learned through testimony: someone warns us about the ill-effects of cheese. Any full account of the conditional must consequently incorporate such learning. Here, we provide a new formal account of belief change in response to a testimonial conditional.

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