Causal Premise Semantics



The rise of causality and the attendant graph-theoretic modeling tools in the study of counterfactual reasoning has had resounding effects in many areas of cognitive science, but it has thus far not permeated the mainstream in linguistic theory to a comparable degree. In this study I show that a version of the predominant framework for the formal semantic analysis of conditionals, Kratzer-style premise semantics, allows for a straightforward implementation of the crucial ideas and insights of Pearl-style causal networks. I spell out the details of such an implementation, focusing especially on the notions of intervention on a network and backtracking interpretations of counterfactuals.