Jos Tellings


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Conditional answers and the role of probabilistic epistemic representations
Jos Tellings
Proceedings of the Probability and Meaning Conference (PaM 2020)

Conditional utterances can be used in discourse as answers to regular, non-conditional questions in situations of partial knowledge of the answerer. We claim that the probabilities assigned to possible epistemic states of A are a measure of the utility of conditional answers. A second criterion that makes a conditional answer ‘if p, then q’ relevant has to do with the dependency between p and q that is conveyed in the statement. A conditional answer counts as relevant when this dependency leads the question asker to shift from a decision problem about q to an alternative, easier, decision problem about p.