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Durham University

Psychology

Profile

Publication details for Professor David Over

Over, D. E. & Evans, J. S. B. T. (2003). The probability of conditionals: The psychological evidence. Mind & Language 18(4): 340-358.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

The two main psychological theories of the ordinary conditional were
designed to account for inferences made from assumptions, but few
premises in everyday life can be simply assumed true. Useful premises
usually have a probability that is less than certainty. But what is the
probability of the ordinary conditional and how is it determined? We
argue that people use a two stage Ramsey test that we specify to make
probability judgements about indicative conditionals in natural
language, and we describe experiments that support this conclusion. Our
account can explain why most people give the conditional probability as
the probability of the conditional, but also why some give the
conjunctive probability. We discuss how our psychological work is
related to the analysis of ordinary indicative conditionals in
philosophical logic.

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