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Presuppositions, Conditions, and Consequences

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2020

Trudy Govier*
Affiliation:
Trent University

Extract

An analysis of necessary condition and presupposition reveals that, as logical relations, these notions are basically similar to each other and different from the notion of entailment or other ‘if-then’ relations of logical consequence. Both necessary condition and presupposition seem to be two-directional in a rather peculiar way. Appreciating this is helpful in interpreting philosophers such as Kant and Strawson who have relied extensively on these relations in constructing the philosophical arguments often referred to as transcendental arguments. It also suggests some fundamental shortcomings in Strawson's account of presupposition and in the logician's way of presenting necessary condition using ‘⊂'.

In the discussion which follows I shall exhibit some of the differences between necessary condition and presupposition on the one hand and entailment on the other. I shall then go on to offer an explanation of these differences in conjunction with an analysis of necessary condition and presupposition which diverges from other contemporaty accounts. Once these distinctions and explanations have been stated, I shall make some suggestions about their relevance to the interpretation and assessment of philosophical texts and arguments.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Authors 1972

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References

1 Entailment is usually considered to be an ‘if-then’ relationship which is stronger than either material or strict implication; it requires some connection in meaning between implicans and implicandum. For attempts to specify this sense of “entail”, see Lewy's, C.Entailment”, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (Supplementary Volume) XXXII (1958)Google Scholar and Wright's, G. H. von article on entailment in Logical Studies (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1957).Google Scholar

2 This mistake is pointed out by R. P. Wolff in Kant's Theory of Mental Activity, Chap. III.

3 Journal of Philosophy, LXV (1968).

4 Ibid., p. 357.

5 The propositional variables, p and q, are used rather loosely here, purely for stylistic convenience. This loose usage is completely harmless; all of the examples cited could be reworded so as to represent presupposition and necessary condition as relations between propositions.

6 This model was originally suggested to me by Professor Rolf George.

7 Critique of Pure Reason, A93, B126, p. 126.

8 Ibid., A202, 8247, p. 227.

9 Ibid., A199, 8244, pp. 225–226. See also A196, 8241, pp. 223–224.

10 Ibid., A202, 8247, p. 227.

11 Strawson, Individuals, pp. 3036Google Scholar.

12 Ibid., pp. 28–29.

13 Ibid., p. 106.

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