Embedding If and Only If

with Adam Sennet

Journal of Philosophical Logic, 2012, 41(2): 449–60

Some left-nested indicative conditionals are hard to interpret while others seem fine. Some proponents of the view that indicative conditionals have No Truth Values (NTV) use their view to explain why some left-nestings are hard to interpret: the embedded conditional does not express the truth conditions needed by the embedding conditional. Left-nestings that seem fine are then explained away as cases of ad hoc, pragmatic interpretation. We challenge this explanation. The standard reasons for NTV about indicative conditionals (triviality results, Gibbardian standoffs, etc.) extend naturally to NTV about biconditionals. So NTVers about conditionals should also be NTVers about biconditionals. But biconditionals embed much more freely than conditionals. If NTV explains why some left-nested conditionals are hard to interpret, why do biconditionals embed successfully in the very contexts where conditionals do not embed?