Week 9, 25 November 2014 (16:00-18:00 Law 111)

David Miller (Warwick)

Title : Reconditioning the Conditional (slides)

Abstract: Many authors have hoped to understand the indicative conditional construction in everyday language by means of what are usually called conditional probabilities. Other authors have hoped to make sense of conditional probabilities in terms of the absolute probabilities of conditional statements. Although all such hopes were disappointed by the triviality theorems of Lewis (1976), there have been copious subsequent attempts both to rescue CCCP ( the conditional construal of conditional probability ) and to extend and to intensify the arguments against it. In this paper it will be shown that triviality is avoidable if the probability function is replaced by an alternative generalization of the deducibility relation, the measure of deductive dependence of Miller & Popper (1986). It will be suggested further that this alternative way of orchestrating conditionals is nicely in harmony with the test proposed in Ramsey (1931), and also with the idea that it is not the truth value of a conditional statement that is of primary concern but its assertability or acceptability.

About the seminar

The Midlands Logic Seminar was founded in 2011 and aims to cover all areas of mathematical logic, as well as related areas of theoretical computer science and philosophy of mathematics.

Study group

Our topic for Term 1 of 2014-2015 is the use of induction and heuristics in mathematical problem solving. We will be working through George Polya's book Induction and Analogy in Mathematics .


All meetings for Term 1 2014-15 will be Tuesday from 16:00-18:00 (study group 16:00-17:00, research talks 17:00-18:00) in room 310 of Watson Building (TBC) on the campus of the University of Birmingham.
  • campus map
  • google maps
    To get to campus, take the train from Birmingham New Street to the University stop (7 minutes).


    Dr Richard Kaye
    School of Mathematics
    University of Birmingham


    Dr Walter Dean
    Department of Philosophy
    University of Warwick