In this paper I will be concerned with the question as to whether expressivist theories of meaning can coherently be combined with deflationist theories of truth. After outlining what I take expressivism to be and what I take deflationism about truth to be, I’ll explain why I don’t take the general version of this question to be very hard, and why the answer is ‘yes’. Having settled that, I’ll move on to what I take to be a more pressing and (...) interesting version of the question, arising from a prima facie tension between deflationism about truth and the motivations underlying expressivism for what I take to be two of its most promising applications: to indicative conditionals and epistemicmodals. Here I’ll argue that the challenge is substantive, but that there is no conceptual obstacle to its being met, provided that one’s expressivism takes the right form. (shrink)
Epistemicmodals in consequent place of indicative conditionals give rise to apparent counterexamples to Modus Ponens and Modus Tollens. Familiar assumptions of fa- miliar truth conditional theories of modality facilitate a prima facie explanation—viz., that the target cases harbor epistemic modal equivocations. However, these explana- tions go too far. For they foster other predictions of equivocation in places where in fact there are no equivocations. It is argued here that the key to the solution is to drop (...) the assumption that modal claims are inherently relational (i.e., that they ex- press a logical relation between a prejacent and a premise-set) in favor of a view that treats them as inherently quantificational. In particular it is suggested that modals are mass noun descriptions of information. We demonstrate how this approach unlocks the equivocation problem. (shrink)
In “EpistemicModals,” Seth Yalcin argues that what explains the deficiency of sentences containing epistemicmodals of the form ‘p and it might be that not-p’ is that sentences of this sort are strictly contradictory, and thus are not instances of a Moore-paradox as has been previous suggested. Benjamin Schnieder, however, argues in his Yalcin’s explanation of these sentences’ deficiency turns out to be insufficiently general, as it cannot account for less complex but still defective sentences, (...) such as ‘Suppose it might be raining.’ Consequently, Schnieder proposes his own, expressivist treatment of epistemicmodals which he thinks can explain the deficiency of both the original sentence type as well as more complex cases of embedded sentences containing epistemicmodals. In this study, I argue that although Schnieder is right to draw our attention to the explanatory failure of Yalcin’s account, we aren’t forced to adopt Schnieder’s expressivist account of epistemicmodals. I defend instead a contextualist-friendly alternative which explains the deficiencies of all the relevant sentence types, while avoiding both the defects of Yalcin’s account and the intuitive costs of expressivism. (shrink)
Recently, Yalcin (Epistemicmodals. Mind, 116 , 983–1026, 2007) put forward a novel account of epistemicmodals. It is based on the observation that sentences of the form ‘ & Might ’ do not embed under ‘suppose’ and ‘if’. Yalcin concludes that such sentences must be contradictory and develops a notion of informational consequence which validates this idea. I will show that informational consequence is inadequate as an account of the logic of epistemicmodals: (...) it cannot deal with reasoning from uncertain premises. Finally, I offer an alternative way of explaining the relevant linguistic data. (shrink)
This paper presents and discusses a range of counterexamples to the common view that quantifiers cannot take scope over epistemicmodals. Some of the counterexamples raise problems for ‘force modifier’ theories of epistemicmodals. Some of the counterexamples raise problems for Robert Stalnaker’s theory of counterfactuals, according to which a special kind of epistemic modal must be able to scope over a whole counterfactual. Finally, some of the counterexamples suggest that David Lewis must countenance ‘would’ (...) counterfactuals in which a covert ‘would’ scopes over the whole consequent of the counterfactual, including an overt ‘might.’. (shrink)
It is widely acknowledged that epistemicmodals admit of inter-subjective flexibility. This paper introduces intra-subjective flexibility for epistemicmodals and draws on this flexibility to argue that fallibilism is consistent with the standard account of epistemicmodals.
In this paper, we explore semantics for comparative epistemicmodals that avoid the entailment problems shown to result from Kratzer’s (1991) semantics by Yalcin (2006, 2009, 2010). In contrast to the alternative semantics presented by Yalcin and Lassiter (2010, 2011), based on finitely additive probability measures, we introduce semantics based on qualitatively additive measures, as well as semantics based on purely qualitative orderings, including orderings on propositions derived from orderings on worlds in the tradition of Kratzer (1991). All (...) of these semantics avoid the entailment problems that result from Kratzer’s semantics. Our discussion focuses on methodological issues concerning the choice between different semantics. (shrink)
On Kratzer’s canonical account, modal expressions (like “might” and “must”) are represented semantically as quantifiers over possibilities. Such expressions are themselves neutral; they make a single contribution to determining the propositions expressed across a wide range of uses. What modulates the modality of the proposition expressed—as bouletic, epistemic, deontic, etc.—is context.2 This ain’t the canon for nothing. Its power lies in its ability to figure in a simple and highly unified explanation of a fairly wide range of language use. (...) Recently, though, the canon’s neat story has come under attack. The challenge cases involve the epistemic use of a modal sentence for which no single resolution of the contextual parameter appears capable of accommodating all our intuitions.3 According to these revisionaries, such cases show that the canonical story needs to be amended in some way that makes multiple bodies of information relevant to the assessment of such statements. Here I show that how the right canonical, flexibly contextualist account of modals can accommodate the full range of challenge cases. The key will be to extend Kratzer’s formal semantic account with an account of how context selects values for a modal’s.. (shrink)
By “epistemicmodals,” I mean epistemic uses of modal words: adverbs like “necessarily,” “possibly,” and “probably,” adjectives like “necessary,” “possible,” and “probable,” and auxiliaries like “might,” “may,” “must,” and “could.” It is hard to say exactly what makes a word modal, or what makes a use of a modal epistemic, without begging the questions that will be our concern below, but some examples should get the idea across. If I say “Goldbach’s conjecture might be true, and (...) it might be false,” I am not endorsing the Cartesian view that God could have made the truths of arithmetic come out differently. I make the claim not because I believe in the metaphysical contingency of mathematics, but because I know that Goldbach’s conjecture has not yet been proved or refuted. Similarly, if I say “Joe can’t be running,” I am not saying that Joe’s constitution prohibits him from running, or that Joe is essentially a non-runner, or that Joe isn’t allowed to run. My basis for making the claim may be nothing more than that I see Joe’s running shoes hanging on a hook. (shrink)
A primary challenge from the relativist to the contextualist about epistemicmodals is to explain eavesdropping data—i.e., why the eavesdropper is inclined to judge the speaker as having uttered an epistemic modal falsehood (when she is so inclined), even though the speaker’s utterance is true according to reasonable contextualist truth conditions. The issue turns in large part on the strength and shape of the data, both of which are in dispute. One complaint is that an eavesdropper’s truth (...) value judgments fluctuate with variations of non- epistemic fact (even after the relevant epistemic/information states are determined). The project here is to strengthen and reframe this complaint in a debate-neutral way, and to show how a sober contextualism can uniformly accommodate it and the standard eavesdropping data. Along the way we reject John Hawthorne’s danger-theoretic explanation of these subtleties. (shrink)
Seth Yalcin has pointed out some puzzling facts about the behaviour of epistemicmodals in certain embedded contexts. For example, conditionals that begin ‘If it is raining and it might not be raining, …’ sound unacceptable, unlike conditionals that begin ‘If it is raining and I don’t know it, …’. These facts pose a prima facie problem for an orthodox treatment of epistemicmodals, according to which they express propositions about the knowledge of some contextually specified (...) individual or group. This paper develops an explanation of the puzzling facts about embedding within an orthodox framework, using broadly Gricean resources. (shrink)
I think that there are good reasons to adopt a relativist semantics for epistemic modal claims such as ``the treasure might be under the palm tree'', according to which such utterances determine a truth value relative to something finer-grained than just a world (or a <world, time> pair). Anyone who is inclined to relativise truth to more than just worlds and times faces a problem about assertion. It's easy to be puzzled about just what purpose would be served by (...) assertions of this kind, and how to understand what we'd be up to in our use of sentences like ``the treasure might be under the palm tree'', if they have such peculiar truth conditions. After providing a very quick argument to motivate a relativist view of epistemicmodals, I bring out and attempt to resolve this problem in making sense of the role of assertions with relativist truth conditions. Solving this problem should be helpful in two ways: first, it eliminates an apparently forceful objection to relativism, and second, spelling out the relativist account of assertion and communication will help to make clear just what the relativist position is, exactly, and why it's interesting. (shrink)
I develop a new argument for an expressivist account of epistemicmodals, which starts from a puzzle about epistemicmodals which Seth Yalcin recently presented. I reject Yalcin's own solution to the puzzle, and give a better explanation based on expressivism concerning epistemicmodals. I also address two alleged problems for expressivism: do embeddings of epistemicmodals pose a serious threat to expressivism, and how can expressivism account for disagreements about statements containing (...)epistemicmodals? (shrink)
A very simple contextualist treatment of a sentence containing an epistemic modal, e.g. a might be F, is that it is true iff for all the contextually salient community knows, a is F. It is widely agreed that the simple theory will not work in some cases, but the counterexamples produced so far seem amenable to a more complicated contextualist theory. We argue, however, that no contextualist theory can capture the evaluations speakers naturally make of sentences containing epistemic (...)modals. If we want to respect these evaluations, our best option is a relativist theory of epistemicmodals. On a relativist theory, an utterance of a might be F can be true relative to one context of evaluation and false relative to another. We argue that such a theory does better than any rival approach at capturing all the behaviour of epistemicmodals. (shrink)
In assessing the veridicality of utterances, we normally seem to assess the satisfaction of conditions that the speaker had been concerned to get right in making the utterance. However, the debate about assessor-relativism about epistemicmodals, predicates of taste, gradable adjectives and conditionals has been largely driven by cases in which seemingly felicitous assessments of utterances are insensitive to aspects of the context of utterance that were highly relevant to the speaker’s choice of words. In this paper, we (...) offer an explanation of why certain locutions invite insensitive assessments, focusing primarily on ’tasty’ and ’might’. We spell out some reasons why felicitous insensitive assessments are puzzling and argue briefly that recent attempts to accommodate such assessments (including attempts by John MacFarlane, Kai von Fintel and Anthony Gillies) all fail to provide more than hints at a solution to the puzzle. In the main part of the paper, we develop an account of felicitous insensitive assessments by identifying a number of pragmatic factors that influence the felicity of assessments. Before closing, we argue that the role of these factors extend beyond cases considered in the debate about assessor-relativism and fit comfortably with standard contextualist analyses of the relevant locutions. (shrink)
Predicates of personal taste (fun, tasty) and epistemicmodals (might, must) share a similar analytical difficulty in determining whose taste or knowledge is being expressed. Accordingly, they have parallel behavior in attitude reports and in a certain kind of disagreement. On the other hand, they differ in how freely they can be linked to a contextually salient individual, with epistemicmodals being much more restricted in this respect. I propose an account of both classes using Lasersohn’s (...) (Linguistics and Philosophy 28: 643–686, 2005) “judge” parameter, at the same time arguing for crucial changes to Lasersohn’s view in order to allow the extension to epistemicmodals and address empirical problems faced by his account. (shrink)
This paper considers some questions related to the determination of epistemic modal domains. Specifically, given situations in which groups of agents have epistemic states that bear on a modal domain, how is the domain best restricted? This is a metasemantic project, in which I combine a standard semantics for epistemicmodals, as developed by Kratzer, with a standard story about conversational dynamics, as developed by Stalnaker. I show how a standard framework for epistemic logic can (...) model their interaction. I contend that if groups have epistemic states that bear on the modal domain, as the data suggests, then careful attention must be paid to the method of combination selected for the epistemic states of the individuals within the group. Specifically, there should be some explanation of the flow of information in a group-deliberative setting. Through this study we find a novel explanation of modal disagreement and uptake. (shrink)
Epistemic modal operators give rise to something very like, but also very unlike, Moore's paradox. I set out the puzzling phenomena, explain why a standard relational semantics for these operators cannot handle them, and recommend an alternative semantics. A pragmatics appropriate to the semantics is developed and interactions between the semantics, the pragmatics, and the definition of consequence are investigated. The semantics is then extended to probability operators. Some problems and prospects for probabilistic representations of content and context are (...) explored. (shrink)
Imagine that Ann, asked to name her favorite treat, answers: 1. Licorice is tasty Imagine that Ben, having hidden some licorice in the cupboard, whispers to Ann: 2. There might be licorice in the cupboard. What if any role is played by perspective—whom the licorice is tasty to, whose evidence allows for licorice in the cupboard—in the semantics of such sentences?
I defend a contextualist account of bare epistemic modal claims against recent objections. I argue that in uttering a sentence of the form ‘It might be that p,’ a speaker is performing two speech acts. First, she is (directly) asserting that in view of the knowledge possessed by some relevant group, it might be that p. The content of this first speech act is accounted for by the contextualist view. But the speaker's utterance also generates an indirect speech act (...) that consists in a weak suggestive that p. Since this second speech act is typically the main point of a bare epistemic modal utterance, our (negative or positive) responses to the utterance actually target this second speech act. I show how this two-speech-act account can explain the data recently adduced against contextualism. (shrink)
Probabilistic theories of “should” and “ought” face a predicament. At first blush, it seems that such theories must provide different lexical entries for the epistemic and the deontic interpretations of these modals. I show that there is a new style of premise semantics that can avoid this consequence in an attractively conservative way.
There is a lot that we don’t know. That means that there are a lot of possibilities that are, epistemically speaking, open. For instance, we don’t know whether it rained in Seattle yesterday. So, for us at least, there is an epistemic possibility where it rained in Seattle yesterday, and one where it did not. It’s tempting to give a very simple analysis of epistemic possibility: • A possibility is an epistemic possibility if we do not know (...) that it does not obtain. But this is problematic for a few reasons. One issue, one that we’ll come back to, concerns the first two words. The analysis appears to quantify over possibilities. But what are they? As we said, that will become a large issue pretty soon, so let’s set it aside for now. A more immediate problem is that it isn’t clear what it is to have de re attitudes towards possibilities, such that we know a particular possibility does or doesn’t obtain. Let’s try rephrasing our analysis so that it avoids this complication. (shrink)
This paper explores the possibility of supplementing the suppositional view of indicative conditionals with a corresponding view of epistemicmodals. The most striking feature of the suppositional view consists in its claim that indicative conditionals are to be evaluated by conditional probabilities. On the basis of a natural link between indicative conditionals and epistemicmodals, a corresponding thesis about the probabilities of statements governed by epistemicmodals can be derived. The paper proceeds by deriving (...) further consequences of this thesis, in particular, the logic of epistemicmodals and their logical interaction with indicative conditionals are studied. (shrink)
In the paper we argue that truth-relativism is potentially hostage to a problem of exhibiting witnesses of its own truth. The problem for the relativist stems from acceptance of a trumping principle according to which there is a dependency between ascriptions of truth of an utterance and ascriptions of truth to other ascriptions of truth of that utterance. We argue that such a dependency indeed holds in the case of future contingents and the case of epistemicmodals and (...) that, consequently, the relativist about these domains cannot exhibit witnesses to his relativism. In the appendix we provide some results on the relation between trumping and multi-order relativism. (shrink)
A paper by Schulz (Philos Stud 149:367–386, 2010) describes how the suppositional view of indicative conditionals can be supplemented with a derived view of epistemicmodals. In a recent criticism of this paper, Willer (Philos Stud 153:365–375, 2011) argues that the resulting account of conditionals and epistemicmodals cannot do justice to the validity of certain inference patterns involving modalised conditionals. In the present response, I analyse Willer’s argument, identify an implicit presupposition which can plausibly be (...) denied and show that accepting it would blur the difference between plain assumptions and their epistemic necessitations. (shrink)
The similarities between the philosophical debates surrounding assessment sensitivity and moral luck run so deep that one can easily adapt almost any argument from one debate, change some terms, adapt the examples, and end up with an argument relevant to the other. This article takes Brian Rosebury's strategy for resisting moral luck in “Moral Responsibility and ‘Moral Luck' ” (1995) and turns it into a strategy for resisting assessment sensitivity. The article shows that one of Bernard Williams's examples motivating moral (...) luck is very similar to one of the examples John MacFarlane uses to motivate the assessment sensitivity of epistemicmodals, and in particular the assessment sensitivity of the auxiliary verb “might.” This means that, if Rosebury is right and we do not actually need moral luck to explain Williams's example, we may not need assessment sensitivity to account for the semantic behaviour of the epistemic modal verb “might” either. (shrink)
Some dynamic semantic theories include an attempt to derive truth-conditional meaning from context change potential. This implies defining truth in terms of context change. Focusing on presuppositions and epistemicmodals, this paper points out some problems with how this project has been carried out. It then suggests a way of overcoming these problems. This involves appealing to a richer notion of context than the one found in standard dynamic systems.
So far, T×W frames have been employed to provide a semantics for a language of tense logic that includes a modal operator that expresses historical necessity. The operator is defined in terms of quantification over possible courses of events that satisfy a certain constraint, namely, that of being alike up to a given point. However, a modal operator can as well be defined without placing that constraint. This paper outlines a T×W logic where an operator of the latter kind is (...) used to express the epistemic property of definiteness. Section 1 provides the theoretical background. Sections 2 and 3 set out the semantics. Sections 4 and 5 show, drawing on established results, that there is a sound and complete axiomatization of the logic outlined. (shrink)
Invariantism about ‘might’ says that ‘might’ semantically expresses the same modal property in every context. This paper presents and defends a version of invariantism. According to it, ‘might’ semantically expresses the same weak modal property in every context. However, speakers who utter sentences containing ‘might’ typically assert propositions concerning stronger types of modality, including epistemic modality. This theory can explain the phenomena that motivate contextualist theories of epistemic uses of ‘might’, and can be defended from objections of the (...) sort that relativists mount against contextualist theories. (shrink)
This paper argues that a priori justification is, in principle, compatible with naturalism—if the a priori is understood in a way that is free of the inessential properties that, historically, have been associated with the concept. I argue that empirical indefeasibility is essential to the primary notion of the a priori; however, the indefeasibility requirement should be interpreted in such a way that we can be fallibilist about apriori-justified claims. This fallibilist notion of the a priori accords with the naturalist’s (...) commitment to scientific methodology in that it allows for apriori-justified claims to be sensitive to further conceptual developments and the expansion of evidence. The fallibilist apriorist allows that an a priori claim is revisable in only a purely epistemic sense. This modal claim is weaker than what is required for a revisability thesis to establish empiricism, so fallibilist apriorism represents a distinct position. (shrink)
I want to discuss a puzzle about the semantics of epistemicmodals, like “It might be the case that” as it occurs in “It might be the case that Goldbach’s conjecture is false.”1 I’ll argue that the puzzle cannot be adequately explained on standard accounts of the semantics of epistemicmodals, and that a proper solution requires relativizing utterance truth to a context of assessment, a semantic device whose utility and coherence I have defended elsewhere for (...) future contingents (MacFarlane.. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the acquisition of certain aspects of the meaning of epistemic modal verbs. Epistemicmodals encode the probability, predictability or certainty of the proposition embedded under the modal verb. The sentences in (1) are examples of epistemic modality1.
The subject of this article is Modal-Epistemic Arithmetic (MEA), a theory introduced by Horsten to interpret Epistemic Arithmetic (EA), which in turn was introduced by Shapiro to interpret Heyting Arithmetic. I will show how to interpret MEA in EA such that one can prove that the interpretation of EA is MEA is faithful. Moreover, I will show that one can get rid of a particular Platonist assumption. Then I will discuss models for MEA in light of the problems (...) of logical omniscience and logical competence. Awareness models, impossible worlds models and syntactical models have been introduced to deal with the first problem. Certain conditions on the accessibility relations are needed to deal with the second problem. I go on to argue that those models are subject to the problem of quantifying in, for which I will provide a solution. (shrink)
A dynamic semantics for epistemically modalized sentences is an attractive alternative to the orthodox view that our best theory of meaning ascribes to such sentences truth-conditions relative to what is known. This essay demonstrates that a dynamic theory about might and must offers elegant explanations of a range of puzzling observations about epistemicmodals. The first part of the story offers a unifying treatment of disputes about epistemic modality and disputes about matters of fact while at the (...) same time avoiding the complexities of alternative theories. The second part of the story extends the basic framework to cover some complicated data about retraction and the interaction between epistemic modality and tense. A comparison between the suggestion made in this essay and current versions of the orthodoxy is provided. (shrink)
In this paper I argue for a doctrine I call ?infallibilism?, which I stipulate to mean that If S knows that p, then the epistemic probability of p for S is 1. Some fallibilists will claim that this doctrine should be rejected because it leads to scepticism. Though it's not obvious that infallibilism does lead to scepticism, I argue that we should be willing to accept it even if it does. Infallibilism should be preferred because it has greater explanatory (...) power than fallibilism. In particular, I argue that an infallibilist can easily explain why assertions of ?p, but possibly not-p? (where the ?possibly? is read as referring to epistemic possibility) is infelicitous in terms of the knowledge rule of assertion. But a fallibilist cannot. Furthermore, an infallibilist can explain the infelicity of utterances of ?p, but I don't know that p? and ?p might be true, but I'm not willing to say that for all I know, p is true?, and why when a speaker thinks p is epistemically possible for her, she will agree (if asked) that for all she knows, p is true. The simplest explanation of these facts entails infallibilism. Fallibilists have tried and failed to explain the infelicity of ?p, but I don't know that p?, but have not even attempted to explain the last two facts. I close by considering two facts that seem to pose a problem for infallibilism, and argue that they don't. (shrink)
Of late, evidentiality has received great attention in formal semantics. In this paper I develop ‘evidentiality-informed’ truth conditions for modal operators such as must and may . With language data drawn from Luoping Nase (a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in the P.R. of China and belonging to the Yi Nationality), I illustrate that epistemicmodals clash with clauses articulating first-hand information. I then demonstrate that existing models such as Kratzer’s graded possible-worlds semantics fail to provide accurate truth conditions for (...)modals tagging clauses with first-hand information. As a remedy I propose a fuzzy version of possible-worlds semantics with various grades of belief and knowledge. In addition to preserving the expressive power of graded possible-worlds semantics, the fuzzy model will be shown to supply appropriate truth conditions for epistemicmodals appended to evidential clauses (i.e. clauses expressing first-hand information). (shrink)
This paper is about the relationship between two questions: the question of what the objects of assertion are and the question of how best to theorise about ‘shifty’ phenomena like modality and tense. I argue that the relationship between these two questions is less direct than is often supposed. I then explore the consequences of this for a number of debates in the philosophy of language.
Many conditionals seem to convey the existence of a link between their antecedent and consequent. We draw on a recently proposed typology of conditionals to argue for an old philosophical idea according to which the link is inferential in nature. We show that the proposal has explanatory force by presenting empirical results on the evidential meaning of certain English and Dutch modal expressions.
This paper argues that just as full beliefs can constitute knowledge, so can properties of your credence distribution. The resulting notion of probabilistic knowledge helps us give a natural account of knowledge ascriptions embedding language of subjective uncertainty, and a simple diagnosis of probabilistic analogs of Gettier cases. Just like propositional knowledge, probabilistic knowledge is factive, safe, and sensitive. And it helps us build knowledge-based norms of action without accepting implausible semantic assumptions or endorsing the claim that knowledge is interest-relative.
This paper defends a counterexample to Modus Tollens, and uses it to draw some conclusions about the logic and semantics of indicative conditionals and probability operators in natural language. Along the way we investigate some of the interactions of these expressions with 'knows', and we call into question the thesis that all knowledge ascriptions have truth-conditions.
Graeme Forbes (2011) raises some problems for two-dimensional semantic theories. The problems concern nested environments: linguistic environments where sentences are nested under both modal and epistemic operators. Closely related problems involving nested environments have been raised by Scott Soames (2005) and Josh Dever (2007). Soames (forthcoming) goes so far as to say that nested environments pose the “chief technical problem” for strong two-dimensionalism. We might call the problem of handling nested environments within two-dimensional semantics the nesting problem. We first (...) lay out the basic principles of two-dimensional semantics and a simple treatment of necessity and apriority operators, and spell out how Forbes' puzzle arises within this framework. We then show how a generalized version of the puzzle arises independently of two-dimensional semantics. We go on to spell out a two-dimensional treatment of attitude verbs and spell out a two-dimensional treatment of the apriority operator that fits the two-dimensional treatment of attitude verbs and show how these handle Forbes' puzzles. (shrink)
Concessive knowledge attributions (CKAs) are knowledge attributions of the form ‘S knows p, but it’s possible that q’, where q obviously entails not-p (Rysiew, Nous (Detroit, Mich.) 35:477–514, 2001). The significance of CKAs has been widely discussed recently. It’s agreed by all that CKAs are infelicitous, at least typically. But the agreement ends there. Different writers have invoked them in their defenses of all sorts of philosophical theses; to name just a few: contextualism, invariantism, fallibilism, infallibilism, and that the knowledge (...) rules for assertion and practical reasoning are false. In fact, there is a lot of confusion about CKAs and their significance. I try to clear some of this confusion up, as well as show what their significance is with respect to the debate between fallibilists and infallibilists about knowledge in particular. (shrink)
Lewis thought concessive knowledge attributions (e.g., ‘I know that Harry is a zebra, but it might be that he’s just a cleverly disguised mule’) caused serious trouble for fallibilists. As he saw it, CKAs are overt statements of the fallibilist view and they are contradictory. Dougherty and Rysiew have argued that CKAs are pragmatically defective rather than semantically defective. Stanley thinks that their pragmatic response to Lewis fails, but the fallibilist cause is not lost because Lewis was wrong about the (...) commitments of fallibilism. There are problems with Dougherty and Rysiew’s response to Stanley and there are problems with Stanley’s response to Lewis. I’ll offer a defense of fallibilism of my own and show that fallibilists needn’t worry about CKAs. (shrink)
Erratum to: Naturalism, fallibilism, and the a priori Content Type Journal Article Category Erratum Pages 1-1 DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9889-4 Authors Lisa Warenski, Philosophy, Union College, Humanities 216B, 807 Union Street, Schenectady, NY 12308, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Contextualism about ‘might’ says that the property that ‘might’ expresses varies from context to context. I argue against contextualism. I focus on problems that contextualism apparently has with attitude ascriptions in which ‘might’ appears in an embedded ‘that’-clause. I argue that contextualists can deal rather easily with many of these problems, but I also argue that serious difficulties remain with collective and quantified says-that ascriptions. Herman Cappelen and John Hawthorne atempt to deal with these remaining problems, but I argue that (...) their attempt fails. (shrink)