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Brennan, A. (2003). Necessary and sufficient conditions. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. October 3, 2017, https://plato.stanford. ... s/necessary-sufficient/. 
Resource type: Web Encyclopedia Article
Peer reviewed
ID no. (ISBN etc.): 1095-5054
BibTeX citation key: Brennan2003
View all bibliographic details
Categories: General
Keywords: Ambiguity
Creators: Brennan
Publisher: Stanford University (Stanford)
Collection: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Attachments   URLs   https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/necessary-sufficien ...
Abstract
"A handy tool in the search for precise definitions is the specification of necessary and/or sufficient conditions for the application of a term, the use of a concept, or the occurrence of some phenomenon or event. For example, without water and oxygen, there would be no human life; hence these things are necessary conditions for the existence of human beings. Cockneys, according to the traditional definition, are all and only those born within the sound of the Bow Bells. Hence birth within the specified area is both a necessary and a sufficient condition for being a Cockney.

Like other fundamental concepts, the concepts of necessary and sufficient conditions cannot be readily specified in other terms. This article shows how elusive the quest is for a definition of the terms “necessary” and “sufficient”, indicating the existence of systematic ambiguity in the concepts of necessary and sufficient conditions. It also shows the connection between puzzles over this issue and troublesome issues surrounding the word “if” and its use in conditional sentences."


  
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