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Profile: Nate Charlow (University of Toronto)
  1. Nate Charlow (forthcoming). Decision Theory: Yes! Truth Conditions: No! In Nate Charlow Matthew Chrisman (ed.), Deontic Modals. Oxford University Press.
    This essay makes the case for, in the phrase of Angelika Kratzer, packing the fruits of the study of rational decision-making into our semantics for deontic modals—specifically, for parametrizing the truth-condition of a deontic modal to things like decision problems and decision theories (and ultimately also things like moral and epistemological views). Then it knocks it down. While the fundamental relation of the semantic theory must relate deontic modals to things like decision problems and theories, this semantic relation cannot be (...)
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  2. Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.) (forthcoming). Deontic Modals. Oxford UP.
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  3. Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.) (forthcoming). Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press.
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  4. Nate Charlow (2014). Logic and Semantics for Imperatives. Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (4):617-664.
    In this paper I will develop a view about the semantics of imperatives, which I term Modal Noncognitivism, on which imperatives might be said to have truth conditions (dispositionally, anyway), but on which it does not make sense to see them as expressing propositions (hence does not make sense to ascribe to them truth or falsity). This view stands against “Cognitivist” accounts of the semantics of imperatives, on which imperatives are claimed to express propositions, which are then enlisted in explanations (...)
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  5. Nate Charlow (2014). The Meaning of Imperatives. Philosophy Compass 9 (8):540-555.
    This article surveys a range of current views on the semantics of imperatives, presenting them as more or less conservative with respect to the Truth-Conditional Paradigm in semantics. It describes and critiques views at either extreme of this spectrum: accounts on which the meaning of an imperative is a modal truth-condition, as well as various accounts that attempt to explain imperative meaning without making use of truth-conditions. It briefly describes and encourages further work on a family of views lying somewhere (...)
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  6. Nate Charlow (2014). The Problem with the Frege–Geach Problem. Philosophical Studies 167 (3):635-665.
    I resolve the major challenge to an Expressivist theory of the meaning of normative discourse: the Frege–Geach Problem. Drawing on considerations from the semantics of directive language (e.g., imperatives), I argue that, although certain forms of Expressivism (like Gibbard’s) do run into at least one version of the Problem, it is reasonably clear that there is a version of Expressivism that does not.
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  7. Nate Charlow (2014). When Truth Gives Out. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review 123 (3):367-371.
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  8. Nate Charlow (2013). Conditional Preferences and Practical Conditionals. Linguistics and Philosophy 36 (6):463-511.
    I argue that taking the Practical Conditionals Thesis (PCT) seriously demands a new understanding of the semantics of such conditionals. Practical Conditionals Thesis: A practical conditional [if A][ought(B)] expresses B’s conditional preferability given A Paul Weirich has argued that the conditional utility of a state of affairs B on A is to be identified as the degree to which it is desired under indicative supposition that A. Similarly, exploiting the PCT, I will argue that the proper analysis of indicative practical (...)
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  9. Nate Charlow (2013). Presupposition and the a Priori. Philosophical Studies 165 (2):509-526.
    This paper argues for and explores the implications of the following epistemological principle for knowability a priori (with ‘ $\mathcal{K}_\mathcal{A}$ ’ abbreviating ‘it is knowable a priori that’).(AK) For all ϕ, ψ such that ϕ semantically presupposes ψ: if $\mathcal{K}_\mathcal{A}\phi, \,\mathcal{K}_\mathcal{A}\psi .$ Well-known arguments for the contingent a priori and a priori knowledge of logical truth founder when the semantic presuppositions of the putative items of knowledge are made explicit. Likewise, certain kinds of analytic truth turn out to carry semantic (...)
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  10. Nate Charlow (2013). What We Know and What to Do. Synthese 190 (12):2291-2323.
    This paper discusses an important puzzle about the semantics of indicative conditionals and deontic necessity modals (should, ought, etc.): the Miner Puzzle (Parfit, ms; Kolodny and MacFarlane, J Philos 107:115–143, 2010). Rejecting modus ponens for the indicative conditional, as others have proposed, seems to solve a version of the puzzle, but is actually orthogonal to the puzzle itself. In fact, I prove that the puzzle arises for a variety of sophisticated analyses of the truth-conditions of indicative conditionals. A comprehensive solution (...)
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  11. Nate Charlow (2011). Practical Language: Its Meaning and Use. Dissertation, University of Michigan
    I demonstrate that a "speech act" theory of meaning for imperatives is—contra a dominant position in philosophy and linguistics—theoretically desirable. A speech act-theoretic account of the meaning of an imperative !φ is characterized, broadly, by the following claims. -/- LINGUISTIC MEANING AS USE !φ’s meaning is a matter of the speech act an utterance of it conventionally functions to express—what a speaker conventionally uses it to do (its conventional discourse function, CDF). -/- IMPERATIVE USE AS PRACTICAL !φ's CDF is to (...)
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  12. Nate Charlow (2010). Restricting and Embedding Imperatives. In M. Aloni, H. Bastiaanse, T. de Jager & K. Schulz (eds.), Logic, Language, and Meaning: Selected Papers from the 17th Amsterdam Colloquium. Springer.
    We use imperatives to refute a naïve analysis of update potentials (force-operators attaching to sentences), arguing for a dynamic analysis of imperative force as restrictable, directed, and embeddable. We propose a dynamic, non-modal analysis of conditional imperatives, as a counterpoint to static, modal analyses. Our analysis retains Kratzer's analysis of if-clauses as restrictors of some operator, but avoids typing it as a generalized quantifier over worlds (against her), instead as a dynamic force operator. Arguments for a restrictor treatment (but against (...)
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