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  1. Attitudes, Deontics and Semantic Neutrality.Fabrizio Cariani - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (4):491-511.
    It has been recently suggested that a semantic theory for deontic modals should be neutral between a very large range of normative and evaluative theories. This article aims to clarify this talk of neutrality, in particular its scope and motivation. My thesis is that neutrality is best understood as an empirical thesis about a fragment of natural language that includes deontic modals – not as a new, sui generis methodological constraint on natural language semantics.
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  • An Invariantist Theory of 'Might' Might Be Right.David Braun - 2012 - Linguistics and Philosophy 35 (6):461-489.
    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 (...)
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  • Oughts and Ends.Stephen Finlay - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (3):315 - 340.
    This paper advances a reductive semantics for ‘ought’ and a naturalistic theory of normativity. It gives a unified analysis of predictive, instrumental, and categorical uses of ‘ought’: the predictive ‘ought’ is basic, and is interpreted in terms of probability. Instrumental ‘oughts’ are analyzed as predictive ‘oughts’ occurring under an ‘in order that’ modifer (the end-relational theory). The theory is then extended to categorical uses of ‘ought’: it is argued that they are special rhetorical uses of the instrumental ‘ought’. Plausible conversational (...)
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  • Confusion About Concessive Knowledge Attributions.Dylan Dodd - 2010 - Synthese 172 (3):381 - 396.
    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 (...)
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  • Legal Positivism and Deontic Detachment.Robert Mullins - 2018 - Ratio Juris 31 (1):4-8.
    I consider a puzzle that arises when the logical principle known as “deontic detachment” is applied to the law. It is not possible to accept the principle of deontic detachment in a legal setting while also accepting that the so-called “social facts thesis” applies to all legal propositions. According to the social facts thesis, the existence and content of law is determined by the attitudes or practices of legal officials. Abandoning deontic detachment is not an appropriate solution to the problem—the (...)
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  • Assessing the Modality Particles of the Yi Group in Fuzzy Possible-Worlds Semantics.Matthias Gerner - 2009 - Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (2):143-184.
    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 epistemic modals 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 (...)
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  • Free Choice Permission and the Counterfactuals of Pragmatics.Melissa Fusco - 2014 - Linguistics and Philosophy 37 (4):275-290.
    This paper addresses a little puzzle with a surprisingly long pedigree and a surprisingly large wake: the puzzle of Free Choice Permission. I begin by presenting a popular sketch of a pragmatic solution to the puzzle, due to Kratzer and Shimoyama, which has received a good deal of discussion, endorsement and elaboration in recent work :535–590, 2006; Fox, in: Sauerland and Stateva Presupposition and implicature in compositional semantics, 2007; Geurts, Mind Lang 24:51–79, 2009; von Fintel, Central APA session on Deontic (...)
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  • On Not Getting Out of Bed.Samuel Asarnow - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-28.
    This morning I intended to get out of bed when my alarm went off. Hearing my alarm, I formed the intention to get up now. Yet, for a time, I remained in bed, irrationally lazy. It seems I irrationally failed to execute my intention. Such cases of execution failure pose a challenge for Mentalists about rationality, who believe that facts about rationality supervene on facts about the mind. For, this morning, my mind was in order; it was my action that (...)
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  • Modalised Conditionals: A Response to Willer.Moritz Schulz - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (3):673-682.
    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 epistemic modals. In a recent criticism of this paper, Willer (Philos Stud 153:365–375, 2011) argues that the resulting account of conditionals and epistemic modals 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 (...)
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  • Epistemic Modals and Common Ground.Ezra Cook - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (2-3):179-209.
    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 epistemic modals, 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 (...)
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  • Williamsonian Modal Epistemology, Possibility-Based.Barbara Vetter - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):766-795.
    Williamsonian modal epistemology is characterized by two commitments: realism about modality, and anti-exceptionalism about our modal knowledge. Williamson’s own counterfactual-based modal epistemology is the best known implementation of WME, but not the only option that is available. I sketch and defend an alternative implementation which takes our knowledge of metaphysical modality to arise, not from knowledge of counterfactuals, but from our knowledge of ordinary possibility statements of the form ‘x can F’. I defend this view against a criticism indicated in (...)
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  • Is Objective Consequentialism Compatible with the Principle That “Ought” Implies “Can”?Vuko Andrić - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (1):63-77.
    Some philosophers hold that objective consequentialism is false because it is incompatible with the principle that “ought” implies “can”. Roughly speaking, objective consequentialism is the doctrine that you always ought to do what will in fact have the best consequences. According to the principle that “ought” implies “can”, you have a moral obligation to do something only if you can do that thing. Frances Howard-Snyder has used an innovative thought experiment to argue that sometimes you cannot do what will in (...)
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  • Ability, Frankfurt Examples, and Obligation.Ishtiyaque Haji & Ryan Hebert - 2018 - The Journal of Ethics 22 (2):163-190.
    Frankfurt examples invite controversy over whether the pertinent agent in these examples lacks the specific ability to do otherwise, and whether what she does can be obligatory or permissible. We develop an account of ability that implies that this agent does not have the specific ability to refrain from performing the germane action. The account also undergirds a view of obligation that entails that it is morally required or prohibited for an agent to perform an action only if she has (...)
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  • How to Embed an Epistemic Modal: Attitude Problems and Other Defects of Character.Alex Silk - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (7):1773-1799.
    This paper develops a contextualist account of certain recalcitrant embedding phenomena with epistemic modals. I focus on three prominent objections to contextualism from embedding: first, that contextualism mischaracterizes subjects’ states of mind; second, that contextualism fails to predict how epistemic modals are obligatorily linked to the subject in attitude ascriptions; and third, that contextualism fails to explain the persisting anomalousness of so-called “epistemic contradictions” in suppositional contexts. Contextualists have inadequately appreciated the force of these objections. Drawing on a more general (...)
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  • Bounded Modality.Matthew Mandelkern - 2019 - Philosophical Review 128 (1):1-61.
    What does 'might' mean? One hypothesis is that 'It might be raining' is essentially an avowal of ignorance like 'For all I know, it's raining'. But it turns out these two constructions embed in different ways, in particular as parts of larger constructions like Wittgenstein's 'It might be raining and it's not' and Moore's 'It's raining and I don't know it', respectively. A variety of approaches have been developed to account for those differences. All approaches agree that both Moore sentences (...)
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  • The Essence of Essentialism.George E. Newman & Joshua Knobe - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Over the past several decades, psychological essentialism has been an important topic of study, incorporating research from multiple areas of psychology, philosophy and linguistics. At its most basic level, essentialism is the tendency to represent certain concepts in terms of a deeper, unobservable property that is responsible for category membership. Originally, this concept was used to understand people’s reasoning about natural kind concepts, such as TIGER and WATER, but more recently, researchers have identified the emergence of essentialist-like intuitions in a (...)
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  • What 'Must' Adds.Matthew Mandelkern - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-42.
    There is a difference between the conditions in which one can felicitously use a ‘must’- claim like (1-a) and those in which one can use the corresponding claim without the ‘must’, as in (1-b): -/- (1) a. It must be raining out. b. It is raining out. -/- It is difficult to pin down just what this difference amounts to. And it is difficult to account for this difference, since assertions of 'Must p' and assertions of p alone seem to (...)
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  • Future and Non-Future Modal Sentences.Tom Werner - 2006 - Natural Language Semantics 14 (3):235-255.
    In this paper, I argue for two principles to determine the temporal interpretation of modal sentences in English, given a theory in which modals are interpreted against double conversational backgrounds and an ontology in which possible worlds branch towards the future, The Disparity Principle requires that a modal sentence makes distinctions between worlds in the modal base. The Non- disparity Principle requires that a modal sentence does not make distinctions on the basis of facts settled at speech time. Selection of (...)
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  • Moral Disagreement and Moral Semantics.Justin Khoo & Joshua Knobe - 2016 - Noûs:109-143.
    When speakers utter conflicting moral sentences, it seems clear that they disagree. It has often been suggested that the fact that the speakers disagree gives us evidence for a claim about the semantics of the sentences they are uttering. Specifically, it has been suggested that the existence of the disagreement gives us reason to infer that there must be an incompatibility between the contents of these sentences. This inference then plays a key role in a now-standard argument against certain theories (...)
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  • Might Moral Epistemologists Be Asking The Wrong Questions?Caleb Perl - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
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  • Compliance and Command II, Imperatives and Deontics.Kit Fine - 2018 - Review of Symbolic Logic 11 (4):634-664.
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  • 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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  • On a Neglected Aspect of Agentive Experience.Andrew Sims - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-18.
    There is an argument for incompatibilism that is based on the experience of agency. Authors who endorse this argument place pro tanto evidential weight on one or more of two putative aspects of the experience of being an agent: i) the experience of being the causal source of our actions; ii) the experience of having robust alternative possibilities available to one. With some exceptions, these authors and their critics alike neglect a third significant aspect of the experience of agency: iii) (...)
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  • Lewis and Taylor as Partners in Sin.James Van Cleve - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-11.
    David Lewis’s analysis of “can” in “The Paradoxes of Time Travel” has been widely accepted both as a definitive analysis of “can” and as a successful resolution of the Grandfather Paradox for time travel. I argue that the central feature of his analysis puts it on all fours with a fallacy frequently imputed to fatalists such as Richard Taylor. I go on to consider two moves that might be made to avoid the fallacy, arguing that one of them leads to (...)
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  • On Similarity in Counterfactuals.Ana Arregui - 2009 - Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (3):245-278.
    This paper investigates the interpretation of counterfactual conditionals. The main goal of the paper is to provide an account of the semantic role of similarity in the evaluation of counterfactuals. The paper proposes an analysis according to which counterfactuals are treated as predications “ de re ” over past situations in the actual world. The relevant situations enter semantic composition via the interpretation of tense. Counterfactuals are treated as law-like conditionals with de re predication over particular facts. Similarity with respect (...)
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  • Are Epistemic Reasons Perspective-Dependent?Davide Fassio - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-31.
    This paper focuses on the relation between epistemic reasons and the subject’s epistemic perspective. It tackles the questions of whether epistemic reasons are dependent on the perspective of the subject they are reasons for, and if so, whether they are dependent on the actual or the potential perspective. It is argued that epistemic reasons are either independent or minimally dependent on the subject’s epistemic perspective. In particular, I provide three arguments supporting the conclusion that epistemic reasons are not dependent on (...)
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  • Modality in Language.Eric Swanson - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (6):1193-1207.
    This article discusses some of the ways in which natural language can express modal information – information which is, to a first approximation, about what could be or must be the case, as opposed to being about what actually is the case. It motivates, explains, and raises problems for Angelika Kratzer's influential theory of modal auxiliaries, and introduces a new approach to one important debate about the relationships between modality, evidentiality, context change, and imperative force.
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  • Quiddistic Knowledge.Jonathan Schaffer - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 123 (1-2):1-32.
    Is the relation between properties and the causal powers they confer necessary, or contingent? Necessary, says Sydney Shoemaker, on pain of skepticism about the properties. Contingent, says David Lewis, swallowing the skeptical conclusion. I shall argue that Lewis is right about the metaphysics, but that Shoemaker and Lewis are wrong about the epistemology. Properties have intrinsic natures (quiddities), which we can know.
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  • Evidence and Plausibility in Neighborhood Structures.Johan van Benthem, David Fernández-Duque & Eric Pacuit - 2014 - Annals of Pure and Applied Logic 165 (1):106-133.
    The intuitive notion of evidence has both semantic and syntactic features. In this paper, we develop an evidence logic for epistemic agents faced with possibly contradictory evidence from different sources. The logic is based on a neighborhood semantics, where a neighborhood N indicates that the agent has reason to believe that the true state of the world lies in N. Further notions of relative plausibility between worlds and beliefs based on the latter ordering are then defined in terms of this (...)
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  • Knowing How.Kieran Setiya - 2012 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (3pt3):285-307.
    Argues from the possibility of basic intentional action to a non-propositional theory of knowing how. The argument supports a broadly Anscombean conception of the will as a capacity for practical knowledge.
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  • The Psychological Representation of Modality.Jonathan Phillips & Joshua Knobe - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (1):1-.
    A series of recent studies have explored the impact of people's judgments regarding physical law, morality, and probability. Surprisingly, such studies indicate that these three apparently unrelated types of judgments often have precisely the same impact. We argue that these findings provide evidence for a more general hypothesis about the kind of cognition people use to think about possibilities. Specifically, we suggest that this aspect of people's cognition is best understood using an idea developed within work in the formal semantics (...)
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  • Abilities to Do Otherwise.Simon Kittle - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (11):3017-3035.
    In this paper I argue that there are different ways that an agent may be able to do otherwise and that therefore, when free will is understood as requiring that an agent be able to do otherwise, we face the following question: which way of being able to do otherwise is most relevant to free will? I answer this question by first discussing the nature of intrinsic dispositions and abilities, arguing that for each action type there is a spectrum of (...)
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  • Why Intellectualism Still Fails.Andreas Ditter - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (264):500-515.
    Intellectualism about knowledge-how is the view that knowing how to do something amounts to knowing a fact. The version of intellectualism defended by Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson holds that knowledge-how is a species of knowledge-wh, i.e., knowledge-where, -when, -who, etc. It draws its major motivation from the uniformity between ascriptions of knowledge-how and ascriptions of knowledge-wh in English, being all infinitival embedded question constructions. My aim in this paper is to challenge intellectualism of this sort. I argue that the (...)
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  • Modal Subordination and Pronominal Anaphora in Discourse.Craige Roberts - 1989 - Linguistics and Philosophy 12 (6):683 - 721.
  • Modal Semantics Without Worlds.Craig Warmke - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (11):702-715.
    Over the last half century, possible worlds have bled into almost every area of philosophy. In the metaphysics of modality, for example, philosophers have used possible worlds almost exclusively to illuminate discourse about metaphysical necessity and possibility. But recently, some have grown dissatisfied with possible worlds. Why are horses necessarily mammals? Because the property of being a horse bears a special relationship to the property of being a mammal, they say. Not because every horse is a mammal in every possible (...)
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  • What Difference Might and May Make.Gerhard Nuffer - 2015 - Synthese 192 (2):405-429.
    How does your information change when you learn that something might be the case, where the modal “might” is epistemic? On the orthodox view, a proposition is added to your information base; on the view defended here, no propositions are added to your information base but some are removed from it. I argue that Stephen Yablo’s recent attempt to define this removal operation as a kind of propositional subtraction fails, offer a definition of my own in terms of the part–whole (...)
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  • 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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  • VI-BayesianExpressivism.Seth Yalcin - 2012 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (2pt2):123-160.
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  • Deterministic Chance.Antony Eagle - 2011 - Noûs 45 (2):269 - 299.
    I sketch a new constraint on chance, which connects chance ascriptions closely with ascriptions of ability, and more specifically with 'CAN'-claims. This connection between chance and ability has some claim to be a platitude; moreover, it exposes the debate over deterministic chance to the extensive literature on (in)compatibilism about free will. The upshot is that a prima facie case for the tenability of deterministic chance can be made. But the main thrust of the paper is to draw attention to the (...)
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  • Evidence Sensitivity in Weak Necessity Deontic Modals.Alex Silk - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (4):691-723.
    Kolodny and MacFarlane have made a pioneering contribution to our understanding of how the interpretation of deontic modals can be sensitive to evidence and information. But integrating the discussion of information-sensitivity into the standard Kratzerian framework for modals suggests ways of capturing the relevant data without treating deontic modals as “informational modals” in their sense. I show that though one such way of capturing the data within the standard semantics fails, an alternative does not. Nevertheless I argue that we have (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Disagreement: New Essays By David Christensen and Jennifer Lackey.Tomas Bogardus & Anna Brinkerhoff - 2015 - Analysis 75 (2):339-342.
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  • Mood and Gradability: An Investigation of the Subjunctive Mood in Spanish.Elisabeth Villalta - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (4):467-522.
    In Spanish (and other Romance languages) certain predicates select the subjunctive mood in the embedded clause, while others select the indicative mood. In this paper, I present a new analysis for the predicates that select the subjunctive mood in Spanish that is based on a semantics of comparison. The main generalization proposed here is the following: in Spanish, a predicate selects the subjunctive mood in its embedded proposition if the proposition is compared to its contextual alternatives on a scale introduced (...)
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  • Dynamic Logics of Evidence-Based Beliefs.Johan van Benthem & Eric Pacuit - 2011 - Studia Logica 99 (1-3):61-92.
  • Moral Contextualism and the Problem of Triviality.Daan Evers - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (2):285-297.
    Moral contextualism is the view that claims like ‘A ought to X’ are implicitly relative to some (contextually variable) standard. This leads to a problem: what are fundamental moral claims like ‘You ought to maximize happiness’ relative to? If this claim is relative to a utilitarian standard, then its truth conditions are trivial: ‘Relative to utilitarianism, you ought to maximize happiness’. But it certainly doesn’t seem trivial that you ought to maximize happiness (utilitarianism is a highly controversial position). Some people (...)
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  • In Defense of the Modal Account of the Progressive.Ivan Mayerhofer - 2014 - Mind and Language 29 (1):85-108.
    When we talk about creation, we use the progressive and verbs of creation as in ‘Mary is building a house’. The modal account of the progressive says that a sentence such as ‘Mary is building a house’ is true just in case Mary eventually builds a house in all worlds in which her house-building proceeds normally. Recently, the modal account has come under fire from those who claim that it over-generates modal entailments and those who think the progressive should be (...)
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  • Eavesdropping in Context.Joshua S. Heter - 2014 - Analytic Philosophy 55 (4):363-367.
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  • Conditional Excluded Middle Without the Limit Assumption.Eric Swanson - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2):301-321.
  • Conditionals.Kyle Rawlins - 2013 - Natural Language Semantics 21 (2):111-178.
    I give an account of the compositional semantics of unconditionals that explains their relationship to if -conditionals in the Lewis/Kratzer/Heim tradition. Unconditionals involve an alternative-denoting adjunct that supplies domain restrictions pointwise to a main-clause operator such as a modal. The differences from if -clauses follow from the structure of the adjuncts; both are conditionals in the Lewisian sense. In the course of treating unconditionals, I provide a concrete implementation of conditionals where conditional adjuncts in general are a species of correlative, (...)
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  • Temporal Constraints on the Meaning of Evidentiality.Jungmee Lee - 2013 - Natural Language Semantics 21 (1):1-41.
    This paper explores how the meaning of evidentiality is temporally constrained, by investigating the meaning of Korean evidential sentences with –te. Unlike evidential sentences in languages that have previously been formally analyzed , e.g. Cuzco Quechua and Cheyenne, Korean evidential sentences with –te are compatible with both direct and indirect evidence types. In this paper, I analyze –te as an evidential that lexically encodes the meaning of a ‘sensory observation’. I account for the availability of both direct and indirect evidential (...)
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