Single Idea 15725

[catalogued under 10. Modality / B. Possibility / 8. Conditionals / c. Truth-function conditionals]

Full Idea

In its unquantified form 'If p then q' the indicative conditional is perhaps best represented as suffering a truth-value gap whenever its antecedent is false.


A 'truth-value gap' is 'neither true nor false'

Gist of Idea

Normal conditionals have a truth-value gap when the antecedent is false.


Willard Quine (Word and Object [1960], 46)

Book Reference

Quine,Willard: 'Word and Object' [MIT 1969], p.226

A Reaction

That is, the clear truth-functional reading of the conditional (favoured by Lewis, his pupil) is unacceptable. Quine favours the Edgington line, that we are only interested in situations where the antecedent might be true.