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  1. added 2020-05-29
    Anankastic Conditionals Are Still a Mystery.Milo Phillips-Brown - 2019 - Semantics and Pragmatics 12 (13):1-17.
    ‘If you want to go to Harlem, you have to take the A train’ doesn’t look special. Yet a compositional account of its meaning, and the meaning of anankastic conditionals more generally, has proven an enigma. Semanticists have responded by assigning anankastics a unique status, distinguishing them from ordinary indicative conditionals. Condoravdi & Lauer (2016) maintain instead that “anankastic conditionals are just conditionals.” I argue that Condoravdi and Lauer don’t give a general solution to a well-known problem: the problem of (...)
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  2. added 2020-05-25
    Truthmaker Semantics for Natural Language: Attitude Verbs, Modals, and Intensional Transitive Verbs.Friederike Moltmann - forthcoming - Theoretical Linguistics.
    This paper gives an outline of truthmaker semantics for natural language against the background of standard possible-worlds semantics. It develops a truthmaker semantics for attitude reports and deontic modals based on an ontology of attitudinal and modal objects and on a semantic function of clauses as predicates of such objects. It also présents new motivations for 'object-based truthmaker semantics' from intensional transitive verbs such as ‘need’, ‘look for’, ‘own’, and ‘buy’ and gives an outline of their semantics.
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  3. added 2020-05-18
    Knowledge of Objective 'Oughts': Monotonicity and the New Miners Puzzle.Daniel Muñoz & Jack Spencer - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    In the classic Miners case, an agent subjectively ought to do what they know is objectively wrong. This case shows that the subjective and objective ‘oughts’ are somewhat independent. But there remains a powerful intuition that the guidance of objective ‘oughts’ is more authoritative—so long as we know what they tell us. We argue that this intuition must be given up in light of a monotonicity principle, which undercuts the rationale for saying that objective ‘oughts’ are an authoritative guide for (...)
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  4. added 2020-02-26
    Some Constraints on Contextualism About Modals.Daniel Skibra - 2020 - In The Architecture of Context and Context-Sensitivity. pp. 295-315.
    The following paradigm, most closely associated with the work of Angelika Kratzer, dominates the literature on the semantics of modals: MUST is a universal quantifier over a contextually determined set of worlds, where ⌜MUST.
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  5. added 2020-01-26
    Deontic Modality in Rationality and Reasoning.Alessandra Marra - 2019 - Dissertation, Tilburg University
    The present dissertation investigates certain facets of the logical structure of oughts – where “ought” is used as a noun, roughly meaning obligation. I do so by following two lines of inquiry. The first part of the thesis places oughts in the context of practical rationality. The second part of the thesis concerns the inference rules governing arguments about oughts, and specifically the inference rule of Reasoning by Cases. These two lines of inquiry, together, aim to expound upon oughts in (...)
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  6. added 2020-01-13
    Future Orientation on an Event-Relative Semantics for Modals.Daniel Skibra - 2020 - In Maggie Baird (ed.), NELS 49: Proceedings of the Forty-Ninth Annual Meeting of the North East Linguistic Society: Volume 3. Amherst, MA: GLSA, Dept. of Linguistics. pp. 149-162.
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  7. added 2019-11-05
    "Ought" and Error.Christine Tiefensee - 2020 - Journal of Philosophy 117 (2):96-114.
    The moral error theory generally does not receive good press in metaethics. This paper adds to the bad news. In contrast to other critics, though, I do not attack error theorists’ characteristic thesis that no moral assertion is ever true. Instead, I develop a new counter-argument which questions error theorists’ ability to defend their claim that moral utterances are meaningful assertions. More precisely: Moral error theorists lack a convincing account of the meaning of deontic moral assertions, or so I will (...)
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  8. added 2019-09-22
    Deontic Logic and Natural Language.Fabrizio Cariani - forthcoming - In Dov Gabbay, Ron van der Meyden, John Horty, Xavier Parent & Leandert van der Torre (eds.), The Handbook of Deontic Logic (Vol. II). College Publications.
    There has been a recent surge of work on deontic modality within philosophy of language. This work has put the deontic logic tradition in contact with natural language semantics, resulting in significant increase in sophistication on both ends. This chapter surveys the main motivations, achievements, and prospects of this work.
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  9. added 2019-06-06
    The Mental Model Theory of Conditionals: A Reply to Guy Politzer.Philip N. Johnson-Laird, Ruth M. J. Byrne & Vittorio Girotto - 2009 - Topoi 28 (1):75-80.
    This paper replies to Politzer’s ( 2007 ) criticisms of the mental model theory of conditionals. It argues that the theory provides a correct account of negation of conditionals, that it does not provide a truth-functional account of their meaning, though it predicts that certain interpretations of conditionals yield acceptable versions of the ‘paradoxes’ of material implication, and that it postulates three main strategies for estimating the probabilities of conditionals.
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  10. added 2019-06-06
    IV—Free Choice Permission.Hans Kamp - 1973 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 74 (1):57-74.
  11. added 2019-04-15
    What Normative Terms Mean and Why It Matters for Ethical Theory.Alex Silk - 2015 - In Mark C. Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Vol. 5. pp. 296–325.
    This paper investigates how inquiry into normative language can improve substantive normative theorizing. First I examine two dimensions along which normative language differs: “strength” and “subjectivity.” Next I show how greater sensitivity to these features of the meaning and use of normative language can illuminate debates about three issues in ethics: the coherence of moral dilemmas, the possibility of supererogatory acts, and the connection between making a normative judgment and being motivated to act accordingly. The paper concludes with several brief (...)
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  12. added 2019-02-15
    The Free Choice Permission as a Default Rule.Daniela Glavaničová - 2018 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 25 (4):495-516.
    It is quite plausible to say that you may read or write implies that you may read and you may write (though possibly not both at once). This so-called free choice principle is well-known in deontic logic. Sadly, despite being so intuitive and seemingly innocent, this principle causes a lot of worries. The paper briefly but critically examines leading accounts of free choice permission present in the literature. Subsequently, the paper suggests to accept the free choice principle, but only as (...)
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  13. added 2019-02-01
    Flexible Contextualism About Deontic Modals: A Puzzle About Information-Sensitivity.J. L. Dowell - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (2-3):149-178.
    According to a recent challenge to Kratzer's canonical contextualist semantics for deontic modal expressions, no contextualist view can make sense of cases in which such a modal must be information-sensitive in some way. Here I show how Kratzer's semantics is compatible with readings of the targeted sentences that fit with the data. I then outline a general account of how contexts select parameter values for modal expressions and show, in terms of that account, how the needed, contextualist-friendly readings might plausibly (...)
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  14. added 2018-11-05
    Normativity in Language and Law.Alex Silk - forthcoming - In David Plunkett, Kevin Toh & Scott Shapiro (eds.), Dimensions of Normativity: New Essays on Metaethics and Jurisprudence. Oxford University Press.
    This chapter develops an account of the meaning and use of various types of legal claims, and uses this account to inform debates about the nature and normativity of law. The account draws on a general framework for implementing a contextualist theory, called 'Discourse Contextualism' (Silk 2016). The aim of Discourse Contextualism is to derive the apparent normativity of claims of law from a particular contextualist interpretation of a standard semantics for modals, along with general principles of interpretation and conversation. (...)
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  15. added 2018-09-04
    ‘Ought’-Contextualism Beyond the Parochial.Alex Worsnip - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (11):3099-3119.
    Despite increasing prominence, ‘ought’-contextualism is regarded with suspicion by most metaethicists. As I’ll argue, however, contextualism is a very weak claim, that every metaethicist can sign up to. The real controversy concerns how contextualism is developed. I then draw an oft-overlooked distinction between “parochial” contextualism—on which the contextually-relevant standards are those that the speaker, or others in her environment, subscribe to—and “aspirational” contextualism—on which the contextually-relevant standards are the objective standards for the relevant domain. However, I argue that neither view (...)
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  16. added 2018-08-18
    All Reasons Are Moral.Daniel Muñoz - manuscript
    Morality doesn't always require our best. Prudent acts and heroic sacrifices are optional, not obligatory. To explain this, some philosophers claim that reasons of self-interest must have a special "non-moral" significance. A better explanation, I argue, is that we have prerogatives based in rights.
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  17. added 2018-08-07
    Permissives and Epistemic Modals.Josh Parsons - manuscript
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  18. added 2018-06-27
    An Object‐Based Truthmaker Semantics for Modals.Friederike Moltmann - 2018 - Philosophical Issues 28 (1):255-288.
    Possible worlds semantics faces a range of difficulties for at least certain types of modals, especially deontic modals with their distinction between heavy and light permissions and obligations. This paper outlines a new semantics of modals that aims to overcome some of those difficulties. The semantics is based on an a novel ontology of modal objects, entities like obligations, permissions, needs, as well as epistemic states, abilities, and essences. Moreover, it is based on truthmaking, in the sense of Fine’s recent (...)
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  19. added 2018-04-24
    Normative Reasons as Reasons Why We Ought.Jacob M. Nebel - 2019 - Mind 128 (510):459-484.
    I defend the view that a reason for someone to do something is just a reason why she ought to do it. This simple view has been thought incompatible with the existence of reasons to do things that we may refrain from doing or even ought not to do. For it is widely assumed that there are reasons why we ought to do something only if we ought to do it. I present several counterexamples to this principle and reject some (...)
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  20. added 2018-03-20
    Default Logic and Hafta.Anthony Gillies - manuscript
    This is a note from an AMC session on Jeff Horty's (2012) book *Reasons as Defaults*.
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  21. added 2018-03-15
    Conditional Obligation and Counterfactuals.Judith Wagner Decew - 1981 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 10 (1):55 - 72.
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  22. added 2018-03-05
    Decision-Theoretic Relativity in Deontic Modality.Nate Charlow - 2018 - Linguistics and Philosophy 41 (3):251-287.
    This paper explores the idea that a semantics for ‘ought’ should be neutral between different ways of deciding what an agent ought to do in a situation. While the idea is, I argue, well-motivated, taking it seriously leads to surprising, even paradoxical, problems for theorizing about the meaning of ‘ought’. This paper describes and defends one strategy—a form of Expressivism for the modal ‘ought’—for navigating these problems.
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  23. added 2018-01-20
    Weak and Strong Necessity Modals: On Linguistic Means of Expressing "A Primitive Concept OUGHT".Alex Silk - forthcoming - In Meaning, Decision, and Norms: Themes from the Work of Allan Gibbard.
    This paper develops an account of the meaning of `ought', and the distinction between weak necessity modals (`ought', `should') and strong necessity modals (`must', `have to'). I argue that there is nothing specially ``strong'' about strong necessity modals per se: uses of `Must p' predicate the (deontic/epistemic/etc.) necessity of the prejacent p of the actual world (evaluation world). The apparent ``weakness'' of weak necessity modals derives from their bracketing whether the necessity of the prejacent is verified in the actual world. (...)
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  24. added 2018-01-05
    Needing and Necessity.Guy Fletcher - 2018 - In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 170-192.
    Claims about needs are a ubiquitous feature of everyday practical discourse. It is therefore unsurprising that needs have long been a topic of interest in moral philosophy, applied ethics, and political philosophy. Philosophers have devoted much time and energy to developing theories of the nature of human needs and the like. -/- Philosophers working on needs are typically committed to the idea that there are different kinds of needs and that within the different kinds of needs is a privileged class (...)
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  25. added 2017-12-22
    Metanormative Theory and the Meaning of Deontic Modals.Matthew Chrisman - 2016 - In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modality. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 395-424.
    Philosophical debate about the meaning of normative terms has long been pulled in two directions by the apparently competing ideas: (i) ‘ought’s do not describe what is actually the case but rather prescribe possible action, thought, or feeling, (ii) all declarative sentences deserve the same general semantic treatment, e.g. in terms of compositionally specified truth conditions. In this paper, I pursue resolution of this tension by rehearsing the case for a relatively standard truth-conditionalist semantics for ‘ought’ conceived as a necessity (...)
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  26. added 2017-12-22
    Deontic Modals.Matthew Chrisman - 2015 - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  27. added 2017-11-29
    Truth-Assessment Methodology and the Case Against the Relativist Case 1 a Gainst Contextualism About Deontic Modals.J. L. Dowell - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (3):325-357.
    Recent challenges to Kratzer’s canonical contextualist semantics for modal expressions are united by a shared methodological practice: Each requires the assessment of the truth or warrant of a sentence in a scenario. The default evidential status accorded these judgments is a constraining one: It is assumed that, to be plausible, a semantic hypothesis must vindicate the reported judgments. Fully assessing the extent to which these cases do generate data that puts pressure on the canonical semantics, then, requires an understanding of (...)
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  28. added 2017-11-07
    'Must', 'Ought' and the Structure of Standards.Gunnar Björnsson & Robert Shanklin - 2014 - In Fabrizio Cariani, Davide Grossi, Joke Meheus & Xavier Parent (eds.), Deontic Logic and Normative Systems. Springer. pp. 33–48.
    This paper concerns the semantic difference between strong and weak neces-sity modals. First we identify a number of explananda: their well-known in-tuitive difference in strength between ‘must’ and ‘ought’ as well as differ-ences in connections to probabilistic considerations and acts of requiring and recommending. Here we argue that important extant analyses of the se-mantic differences, though tailored to account for some of these aspects, fail to account for all. We proceed to suggest that the difference between ’ought’ and ’must’ lies (...)
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  29. added 2017-10-23
    Modals, Contextual Parameters, and the Modal Uniformity Hypothesis.Daniel Skibra - manuscript
    There is a common assumption in the semantics of modal auxiliaries in natural language; in utterances of MOD φ , where MOD is a modal and φ is the prejacent, context determines the particular flavor of modality expressed by the modal. Such is the standard contextualist semantics of Kratzer and related proposals. This winds up being a problem, because there is a significant class of modals which have constraints on the admissible modal flavor that are not traceable to context. For (...)
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  30. added 2017-09-21
    'Ought': OUT OF ORDER.Stephen Finlay - 2016 - In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    This paper argues that the innovation of an ordering source parameter in the standard Lewis-Kratzer semantics for modals was a mistake, at least for English auxiliaries like ‘ought’, and that a simpler dyadic semantics (as proposed in my earlier work) provides a superior account of normative uses of modals. I programmatically investigate problems arising from (i) instrumental conditionals, (ii) gradability and “weak necessity”, (iii) information-sensitivity, and (iv) conflicts, and show how the simpler semantics provides intuitive solutions given three basic moves: (...)
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  31. added 2017-08-18
    Confusion of Tongues: A Theory of Normative Language, by Stephen Finlay.J. L. Dowell - 2016 - Mind 125 (498):585-593.
  32. added 2017-07-27
    The Relativity of Evaluative Sentences: Disagreeing Over Disagreement.Justina Díaz Legaspe - 2013 - Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 54 (127):211-226.
    Evaluative sentences (moral judgments, expressions of taste, epistemic modals) are relative to the speaker's standards. Lately, a phenomenon has challenged the traditional explanation of this relativity: whenever two speakers disagree over them they contradict each other without being at fault. Hence, it is thought that the correction of the assertions involved must be relative to an unprivileged standard not necessarily the speaker's. I will claim instead that so far, neither this nor any other proposal has provided an explanation of the (...)
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  33. added 2017-05-22
    Contextualism and Knowledge Norms.Alex Worsnip - 2017 - In Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Contextualism. Routledge. pp. 177-189.
    I provide an opinionated overview of the literature on the relationship of contextualism to knowledge norms for action, assertion, and belief. I point out that contextualists about ‘knows’ are precluded from accepting the simplest versions of knowledge norms; they must, if they are to accept knowledge norms at all, accept “relativized” versions of them. I survey arguments from knowledge norms both for and against contextualism, tentatively concluding that commitment to knowledge norms does not conclusively win the day either for contextualism (...)
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  34. added 2017-03-05
    Justification as Faultlessness.Bob Beddor - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (4):901-926.
    According to deontological approaches to justification, we can analyze justification in deontic terms. In this paper, I try to advance the discussion of deontological approaches by applying recent insights in the semantics of deontic modals. Specifically, I use the distinction between weak necessity modals and strong necessity modals to make progress on a question that has received surprisingly little discussion in the literature, namely: ‘What’s the best version of a deontological approach?’ The two most obvious hypotheses are the Permissive View, (...)
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  35. added 2017-02-11
    Counterfactual-Style Revisions in the Semantics of Deontic Modals.Ana Arregui - 2011 - Journal of Semantics 28 (2):171-210.
    The article argues for a parallelism between the interpretation of deontic modals and the interpretation of counterfactuals. The main claim is that dependencies between facts play a role in the resolution of both types of modality: in both cases, facts ‘stand and fall’ together. The article provides two types of evidence supporting this claim: (i) evidence that comes from the interaction between primary and secondary duties (as presented in contrary-to-duty imperatives) and (ii) evidence that comes from the possibility of reproducing (...)
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  36. added 2017-02-03
    Following the Rules: Practical Reasoning and Deontic Constraint.Joseph Heath - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
    Introduction -- Instrumental rationality -- Social order -- Deontic constraint -- Intentional states -- Preference noncognitivism -- A naturalistic perspective -- Transcendental necessity -- Weakness of will -- Normative ethics.
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  37. added 2017-02-01
    A New Semantics for First-Order Logic, Multivalent and Mostly Intensional.Hugues Leblanc - 1984 - Topoi 3 (1):55-62.
  38. added 2017-01-19
    Why We Need a Relevant Theory of Conditionals.Edwin D. Mares - 1994 - Topoi 13 (1):31-36.
    This paper presents ConR (Conditional R), a logic of conditionals based on Anderson and Belnap''s system R. A Routley-Meyer-style semantics for ConR is given for the system (the completeness of ConR over this semantics is proved in E. Mares and A. Fuhrmann, A Relevant Theory of Conditionals (unpublished MS)). Moreover, it is argued that adopting a relevant theory of conditionals will improve certain theories that utilize conditionals, i.e. Lewis'' theory of causation, Lewis'' dyadic deontic logic, and Chellas'' dyadic deontic logic.
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  39. added 2016-12-08
    Ought, Agents, and Actions.M. Schroeder - 2011 - Philosophical Review 120 (1):1-41.
    According to a naïve view sometimes apparent in the writings of moral philosophers, ‘ought’ often expresses a relation between agents and actions – the relation that obtains between an agent and an action when that action is what that agent ought to do. It is not part of this naïve view that ‘ought’ always expresses this relation – on the contrary, adherents of the naïve view are happy to allow that ‘ought’ also has an epistemic sense, on which it means, (...)
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  40. added 2016-11-05
    Expressing Permission.William B. Starr - 2016 - Semantics and Linguistic Theory 26:325-349.
    This paper proposes a semantics for free choice permission that explains both the non-classical behavior of modals and disjunction in sentences used to grant permission, and their classical behavior under negation. It also explains why permissions can expire when new information comes in and why free choice arises even when modals scope under disjunction. On the proposed approach, deontic modals update preference orderings, and connectives operate on these updates rather than propositions. The success of this approach stems from its capacity (...)
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  41. added 2016-11-04
    Dynamic Expressivism About Deontic Modality.William B. Starr - 2016 - In Nate Charlow Matthew Chrisman (ed.), Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press. pp. 355-394.
  42. added 2016-11-01
    Clause-Type, Force, and Normative Judgment in the Semantics of Imperatives.Nate Charlow - forthcoming - In Daniel Fogal Daniel Harris & Matt Moss (eds.), New Work on Speech Acts. Oxford University Press.
    I argue that imperatives express contents that are both cognitively and semantically related to, but nevertheless distinct from, modal propositions. Imperatives, on this analysis, semantically encode features of planning that are modally specified. Uttering an imperative amounts to tokening this feature in discourse, and thereby proffering it for adoption by the audience. This analysis deals smoothly with the problems afflicting Portner's Dynamic Pragmatic account and Kaufmann's Modal account. It also suggests an appealing reorientation of clause-type theorizing, in which the cognitive (...)
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  43. added 2016-09-08
    Deontic Logic and Normative Systems.Olivier Roy, Allard Tamminga & Malte Willer (eds.) - 2016 - London, UK: College Publications.
    The biennial DEON conferences are designed to promote interdisciplinary cooperation amongst scholars interested in linking the formal-logical study of normative concepts and normative systems with computer science, artificial intelligence, linguistics, philosophy, organization theory and law. In addition to these general themes, DEON 2016 encouraged a special focus on the topic "Reasons, Argumentation and Justification.".
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  44. added 2016-08-01
    Discourse Contextualism: A Framework for Contextualist Semantics and Pragmatics.Alex Silk - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
    This book investigates context-sensitivity in natural language by examining the meaning and use of a target class of theoretically recalcitrant expressions. These expressions-including epistemic vocabulary, normative and evaluative vocabulary, and vague language -exhibit systematic differences from paradigm context-sensitive expressions in their discourse dynamics and embedding properties. Many researchers have responded by rethinking the nature of linguistic meaning and communication. Drawing on general insights about the role of context in interpretation and collaborative action, Silk develops an improved contextualist theory of CR-expressions (...)
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  45. added 2016-05-13
    Nominalizations: The Case of Nominalizations of Modal Predicates.Friederike Moltmann - forthcoming - In Lisa Matthewson, Cécile Meier, Hotze Rullman, Thomas Ede Zimmermann & Daniel Gutzmann (eds.), Blackwell Companion to Semantics. Wiley.
    Nominalizations of modal predicates have received little, if any, attention in the semantic or philosophical literature. This paper will argue that nominalizations of modal predicates require recognizing a novel ontological category of modal objects and it will outline a new semantics of modals based on modal objects.
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  46. added 2016-05-05
    Contextualism About Deontic Conditionals.Aaron Bronfman & Janice Dowell, J. L. - manuscript
  47. added 2016-05-05
    The Language of Reasons and 'Ought'.Aaron Bronfman & J. L. Dowell - forthcoming - In Daniel Star (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Reasons.
  48. added 2016-05-05
    Contextualist Solutions to Three Puzzles About Practical Conditionals.Janice Dowell, J. L. - 2012 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, volume 7. Oxford University Press.
  49. added 2016-04-29
    Deontic Modals and Probability: One Theory to Rule Them All?Fabrizio Cariani - forthcoming - In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    This paper motivates and develops a novel semantic framework for deontic modals. The framework is designed to shed light on two things: the relationship between deontic modals and substantive theories of practical rationality and the interaction of deontic modals with conditionals, epistemic modals and probability operators. I argue that, in order to model inferential connections between deontic modals and probability operators, we need more structure than is provided by classical intensional theories. In particular, we need probabilistic structure that interacts directly (...)
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  50. added 2016-02-17
    Consequence and Contrast in Deontic Semantics.Fabrizio Cariani - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy 113 (8):396-416.
    Contrastivists view ought-sentences as expressing comparisons among alternatives. Deontic actualists believe that the value of each alternative in such a comparison is determined by what would actually happen if that alternative were to be the case. One of the arguments that motivates actualism is a challenge to the principle of agglomeration over conjunction—the principle according to which if you ought to run and you ought to jump, then you ought to run and jump. I argue that there is no way (...)
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