Chimerical conditionals

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Itamar Francez


This paper introduces and analyzes chimerical conditionals, a class of conditionals that are puzzling vis-à-vis the distinction between so-called 'biscuit' and hypothetical conditionals. An analysis of this distinction is developed which draws on the pragmatic account of Franke 2009. Building on this analysis, chimericity is then shown to derive from a systematic ambiguity of a definite and often implicit argument in the consequent of chimerical conditionals, between a rigid designator and an individual concept reading. This ambiguity is argued to arise from different ways in which context can resolve familiarity presuppositions. One consequence of the inquiry is that the notion of (in)dependence employed in much work on conditionals cannot be viewed as a relation between propositions, but must be made sensitive to the dynamics of information flow.

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Itamar Francez, University of Chicago

assistant prof., linguistics