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Dudman and the Plans of Mice and Men

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V.H. Dudman has argued that a better semantic account of the conditional emerges from placing grammar ‘in the driver's seat’. His account of their grammar identifies two main categories, which differ from those postulated by traditional theorists, and which he claims correspond to two very different and deep-rooted styles of thought. I show that it is unlikely that a perfect match exists between styles of thought and grammatical categories in the way that Dudman postulates. I consider arguments by Dale and Edgington in this context. More importantly, however, I also show that even if there were a perfect match, Dudman's account would still obscure semantic similarities between ‘if’-sentences which are arguably of greater importance than the ones he highlights. This, I suggest, has implications extending far beyond Dudman's work.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Bristol

Publication date: 1998-01-01

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