Conditional imperfection
Neal Whitman
nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET
Thu Nov 21 17:12:47 UTC 2013
Indeed I do remember that talk. I remember you illustrating entailments with Venn diagrams. One had A as a subset of P; one had P as a subset of A; all this so you could get a laugh when you casually talked about "whether A-ness implies P-ness, or P-ness implies A-ness."
Neal
________________________________
From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Sent: Thursday, November 21, 2013 10:59 AM
Subject: Re: Conditional imperfection
...
Certainly "only if", by virtue of its presupposition, is a lot closer to "if and only if" than simple "if" conditionals are. Even though we often move from e.g. "If you mow the lawn I'll give you $5" to "If and only if you mow the lawn I'll give you $5" (Geis & Zwicky's "invited inference", which Neal will recall my discussing at OSU at a talk in Arnold's honor back in the previous millennium), this if-->iff "conditional perfection" (whence Neal's subject line) amounts to a context-dependent implicature rather than a presupposition and is much easier to slough off.
LH
On Nov 20, 2013, at 11:50 PM, Neal Whitman wrote:
> From my latest blog post:
>
> "You're a Jew," Doug said, "if and only if you believe in God!"
> ...
>
> "So ... Muslims are Jews?" I asked.
>
> "No, Dad," Doug explained. He then summarized for me the concept of
> /only if/, concluding, "You've out-literaled yourself!"
>
> Later on, I drew a truth table for /if/ and one for /only if/, and
> showed them to Doug. He found that, after all, he and I agreed about
> the meaning of /only if/. So what's the difference between /only if/
> and /if and only if/, I asked.
>
> "I don't think there is one," Doug said.
>
> I drew up the table for /if and only if/, and Doug understood it,
> but in his opinion, in ordinary conversation, /if and only if/ was
> just an emphatic way of saying "only if".
>
> "I'm with Doug on this one," my wife offered. In a casual,
> dinner-table conversation, I shouldn't have taken Doug's /if and
> only if/ in this technical sense.
>
> Technical sense? This was my first inkling that there was more than
> one sense!
>
>
> http://literalminded.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/conditional-imperfection/
>
>
>
> Is this new to anyone else?
>
> Neal
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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