Conditional answers and the role of probabilistic epistemic representations
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.