Lecture Notes.
 
  

 
Module Ten: Session Eight
Conditional Claims  

Conditional claims are also called hypothetical claims. The conditional claim is a very versitile and useful logical tool. It is the Swiss Army knife of logic.

  • The basic form of the conditional claim is, "IF________, THEN________."

  • For instance, "If the sun is shining, then it will be warm."

  • Every conditional claim contains two independent clauses.

  • One independent clause follows the "if." The other independent clause follows the "then."

The conditional claim can be put into symbolic form;

  • This symbolic form is read, "If P, then Q." The P and the Q represent independent clauses.

It is called hypothetical because we don't know from looking at the claim itself whether or not the sun is currently shining, or whether or not it is warm. We only know one thing: that whenever that the sun is shining, that it will be warm.

A COMMON ERROR is to think of the conditional claim as an entire argument. An argument requires a minimum of two sentences. The conditional claim is only one. So it can't be an entire argument.

Antecedent and consequent
The part of the sentence that comes after the "if" and before the "then" is called the antecedent. For instance, "the sun is shining"

The part of the sentence that comes after the "then" is called the consequent. For instance, "it will be warm."

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