The Meaning of If




2023.07.1 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

Justin Khoo, The Meaning of If, Oxford University Press, 2022, 356pp., $74.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780190096700.

Reviewed by Paolo Santorio, University of Maryland, College Park

If is a simple word that gives rise to hard puzzles. It has been the subject of a vast literature, starting with Robert Stalnaker’s (1968), David Lewis’s (1973a; 1973b), and Angelika Kratzer’s (1986; 2012) classical writings. The last fifteen years have seen a wave of new work on the topic, often growing out of advances in linguistic semantics and formal epistemology. Justin Khoo’s The Meaning of If is one of the most ambitious and comprehensive pieces of work in this new wave. The book suggests a general view about the content of conditionals—conditionals encode inferential dispositions— and implements it in a formal framework, which includes both a compositional semantics and principles for assigning probability to conditionals.

The book is divided into three parts. The first…

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