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  1. 'Ought' and Resolution Semantics.Fabrizio Cariani - 2013 - Noûs 47 (3):534-558.
    I motivate and characterize an intensional semantics for ‘ought’ on which it does not behave as a universal quantifier over possibilities. My motivational argument centers on taking at face value some standard challenges to the quantificational semantics, especially to the idea that ‘ought’-sentences satisfy the principle of Inheritance. I argue that standard pragmatic approaches to these puzzles are either not sufficiently detailed or unconvincing.
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  • Whither Anankastics?Billy Dunaway & Alex Silk - 2014 - Philosophical Perspectives 28 (1):75-94.
  • One Ought Too Many.Stephen Finlay & Justin Snedegar - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):102-124.
    Some philosophers hold that „ought‟ is ambiguous between a sense expressing a propositional operator and a sense expressing a relation between an agent and an action. We defend the opposing view that „ought‟ always expresses a propositional operator against Mark Schroeder‟s recent objections that it cannot adequately accommodate an ambiguity in „ought‟ sentences between evaluative and deliberative readings, predicting readings of sentences that are not actually available. We show how adopting an independently well-motivated contrastivist semantics for „ought‟, according to which (...)
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  • Safety and the True–True Problem.Jon Cogburn & Jeffrey W. Roland - 2013 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (2):246-267.
    Standard accounts of semantics for counterfactuals confront the true–true problem: when the antecedent and consequent of a counterfactual are both actually true, the counterfactual is automatically true. This problem presents a challenge to safety-based accounts of knowledge. In this paper, drawing on work by Angelika Kratzer, Alan Penczek, and Duncan Pritchard, we propose a revised understanding of semantics for counterfactuals utilizing machinery from generalized quantifier theory which enables safety theorists to meet the challenge of the true–true problem.
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  • Epistemic Modals and Credal Disagreement.Torfinn Thomesen Huvenes - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (4):987-1011.
    Considerations involving disagreement, as well as related considerations involving correction and retraction, have played an important role in recent debates about epistemic modals. For instance, it has been argued that contextualist views about epistemic modals have problems when it comes to explaining cases of disagreement. In response to these challenges, I explore the idea that the relevant cases of disagreement may involve credal disagreement. In a case of credal disagreement, the parties have different degrees of belief or credences. There does (...)
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  • Innocent Exclusion in an Alternative Semantics.Luis Alonso-Ovalle - 2008 - Natural Language Semantics 16 (2):115-128.
    The exclusive component of unembedded disjunctions is standardly derived as a conversational implicature by assuming that or forms a lexical scale with and. It is well known, however, that this assumption does not suffice to determine the required scalar competitors of disjunctions with more than two atomic disjuncts (McCawley, Everything that linguists have always wanted to know about logic* (But were ashamed to ask). Chicago University Press, Chicago, 1993, p. 324; Simons, “Or”: Issues in the semantics and pragmatics of disjunction. (...)
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  • Logic and Semantics for Imperatives.Nate Charlow - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (4):617-664.
    In this paper I will develop a view about the semantics of imperatives, which I term Modal Noncognitivism, on which imperatives might be said to have truth conditions (dispositionally, anyway), but on which it does not make sense to see them as expressing propositions (hence does not make sense to ascribe to them truth or falsity). This view stands against “Cognitivist” accounts of the semantics of imperatives, on which imperatives are claimed to express propositions, which are then enlisted in explanations (...)
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  • Against Fallibilism.Dylan Dodd - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):665 - 685.
    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 (...)
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  • Punishing the Awkward, the Stupid, the Weak, and the Selfish: The Culpability of Negligence.Michael Moore & Heidi Hurd - 2011 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 5 (2):147-198.
    Negligence is a problematic basis for being morally blamed and punished for having caused some harm, because in such cases there is no choice to cause or allow—or risk causing or allowing—such harm to occur. The standard theories as to why inadvertent risk creation can be blameworthy despite the lack of culpable choice are that in such cases there is blame for: (1) an unexercised capacity to have adverted to the risk; (2) a defect in character explaining why one did (...)
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  • On Unidirectionality in Precisification.Peter Klecha - 2018 - Linguistics and Philosophy 41 (1):87-124.
    This paper provides a formal pragmatic analysis of precision which accounts for its essential properties, but also for Lewis’s :339–359, 1979) observation of asymmetry in how standards of precision may shift due to normal discourse moves: Only up, not down. I propose that shifts of the kind observed and discussed by Lewis are in fact cases of underlying disagreement about the standard of precision, which is only revealed when one interlocutor uses an expression which signals their adherence to a higher (...)
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  • The Nature of Doubt and a New Puzzle About Belief, Doubt, and Confidence.Andrew Moon - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1827-1848.
    In this paper, I present and defend a novel account of doubt. In Part 1, I make some preliminary observations about the nature of doubt. In Part 2, I introduce a new puzzle about the relationship between three psychological states: doubt, belief, and confidence. I present this puzzle because my account of doubt emerges as a possible solution to it. Lastly, in Part 3, I elaborate on and defend my account of doubt. Roughly, one has doubt if and only if (...)
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  • Necessitarian Propositions.Jonathan Schaffer - 2012 - Synthese 189 (1):119-162.
    Kaplan (drawing on Montague and Prior, inter alia) made explicit the idea of world and time neutral propositions, which bear truth values only relative to world and time parameters. There was then a debate over the role of time. Temporalists sided with Kaplan in maintaining time neutral propositions with time relative truth values, while eternalists claimed that all propositions specify the needed time information and so bear the same truth value at all times. But there never was much of a (...)
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  • Modality and its Conversational Backgrounds in the Reconstruction of Argumentation.Andrea Rocci - 2008 - Argumentation 22 (2):165-189.
    The paper considers the role of modality in the rational reconstruction of standpoints and arguments. The paper examines in what conditions modal markers can act as argumentative indicators and what kind of cues they provide for the reconstruction of argument. The paper critically re-examines Toulmin’s hypothesis that the meaning of the modals can be analyzed in terms of a field-invariant argumentative force and field-dependent criteria in the light of the Theory of Relative Modality developed within linguistic semantics, showing how this (...)
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  • On Necessity and Comparison.Aynat Rubinstein - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (4):512-554.
    The ability to compare possibilities and designate some as ‘better’ than others is a fundamental aspect of our use of modals and propositional attitude verbs. This article aims to support a proposal by Sloman that certain modal expressions, in particular, ought, in fact have a more pronounced comparative backbone than others . The connection between ‘ought’ and ‘better’ is supported by linguistic data and a proposal is advanced for modeling ideals in a way that makes room for non-comparative, strong, priority-type (...)
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  • Can I Kill My Younger Self? Time Travel and the Retrosuicide Paradox.Peter B. M. Vranas - 2009 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (4):520-534.
    If time travel is possible, presumably so is my shooting my younger self ; then apparently I can kill him – I can commit retrosuicide. But if I were to kill him I would not exist to shoot him, so how can I kill him? The standard solution to this paradox understands ability as compossibility with the relevant facts and points to an equivocation about which facts are relevant: my killing YS is compossible with his proximity but not with his (...)
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  • Is Knowledge Normative?Mark Schroeder - 2015 - Philosophical Issues 25 (1):379-395.
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  • Knowledge and the Permissibility of Action.N. Ángel Pinillos - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    I argue in favor of a certain connection between knowledge and the permissibility of action. On this approach, we do not think of the relation between those notions as reflecting a universal epistemic principle. Instead, we think of it as something resembling a platitude from folk psychology. With the help of some elementary tools from the logic of normativity and counterfactuals, I attempt to establish the connection by deriving it from more elementary principles. The new formulation involves a ceteris paribus (...)
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  • The Agentive Modalities.John Maier - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (3):113-134.
    A number of philosophical projects require a proper understanding of the modal aspects of agency, or of what I call ‘the agentive modalities.’ I propose a general account of the agentive modalities, one which takes as its primitive the decision-theoretic notion of an option. I relate this account to the standard semantics for ‘can’ and to the viability of some positions in the free will debates.
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  • Causal Premise Semantics.Stefan Kaufmann - 2013 - Cognitive Science 37 (6):1136-1170.
    The rise of causality and the attendant graph-theoretic modeling tools in the study of counterfactual reasoning has had resounding effects in many areas of cognitive science, but it has thus far not permeated the mainstream in linguistic theory to a comparable degree. In this study I show that a version of the predominant framework for the formal semantic analysis of conditionals, Kratzer-style premise semantics, allows for a straightforward implementation of the crucial ideas and insights of Pearl-style causal networks. I spell (...)
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  • On the Treatment of Incomparability in Ordering Semantics and Premise Semantics.Eric Swanson - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 40 (6):693-713.
    In his original semantics for counterfactuals, David Lewis presupposed that the ordering of worlds relevant to the evaluation of a counterfactual admitted no incomparability between worlds. He later came to abandon this assumption. But the approach to incomparability he endorsed makes counterintuitive predictions about a class of examples circumscribed in this paper. The same underlying problem is present in the theories of modals and conditionals developed by Bas van Fraassen, Frank Veltman, and Angelika Kratzer. I show how to reformulate all (...)
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  • Rational 'Ought' Implies 'Can'.Ralph Wedgwood - 2013 - Philosophical Issues 23 (1):70-92.
    Every kind of ‘ought’ implies some kind of ‘can’ – but there are many kinds of ‘ought’ and even more kinds of ‘can’. In this essay, I shall focus on a particular kind of ‘ought’ – specifically, on what I shall call the “rational ‘ought’”. On every occasion of use, this kind of ‘ought’ is focused on the situation of a particular agent at a particular time; but this kind of ‘ought’ is concerned, not with how that agent acts at (...)
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  • Ghosts, Murderers, and the Semantics of Descriptions.Anders Johan Schoubye - 2013 - Noûs 47 (3):496-533.
    It is widely agreed that sentences containing a non-denoting description embedded in the scope of a propositional attitude verb have true de dicto interpretations, and Russell's (1905) analysis of definite descriptions is often praised for its simple analysis of such cases, cf. e.g. Neale (1990). However, several people, incl. Elbourne (2005, 2009), Heim (1991), and Kripke (2005), have contested this by arguing that Russell's analysis yields incorrect predictions in non-doxastic attitude contexts. Heim and Elbourne have subsequently argued that once certain (...)
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  • Deliberative Modality Under Epistemic Uncertainty.Fabrizio Cariani, Magdalena Kaufmann & Stefan Kaufmann - 2013 - Linguistics and Philosophy 36 (3):225-259.
    We discuss the semantic significance of a puzzle concerning ‘ought’ and conditionals recently discussed by Kolodny and MacFarlane. We argue that the puzzle is problematic for the standard Kratzer-style analysis of modality. In Kratzer’s semantics, modals are evaluated relative to a pair of conversational backgrounds. We show that there is no sensible way of assigning values to these conversational backgrounds so as to derive all of the intuitions in Kolodny and MacFarlane’s case. We show that the appropriate verdicts can be (...)
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  • An Investigation of the Lumps of Thought.Angelika Kratzer - 1989 - Linguistics and Philosophy 12 (5):607 - 653.
  • The Application of Constraint Semantics to the Language of Subjective Uncertainty.Eric Swanson - 2016 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 45 (2):121-146.
    This paper develops a compositional, type-driven constraint semantic theory for a fragment of the language of subjective uncertainty. In the particular application explored here, the interpretation function of constraint semantics yields not propositions but constraints on credal states as the semantic values of declarative sentences. Constraints are richer than propositions in that constraints can straightforwardly represent assessments of the probability that the world is one way rather than another. The richness of constraints helps us model communicative acts in essentially the (...)
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  • Worlds, Events, and Inertia.Károly Varasdi - 2017 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 26 (3):303-332.
    The semantics of progressive sentences presents a challenge to linguists and philosophers alike. According to a widely accepted view, the truth-conditions of progressive sentences rely essentially on a notion of inertia. Dowty suggested inertia worlds to implement this “inertia idea” in a formal semantic theory of the progressive. The main thesis of the paper is that the notion of inertia went through a subtle, but crucial change when worlds were replaced by events in Landman and Portner :760–787, 1998), and that (...)
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  • Imperatives and Modals.Paul Portner - 2007 - Natural Language Semantics 15 (4):351-383.
    Imperatives may be interpreted with many subvarieties of directive force, for example as orders, invitations, or pieces of advice. I argue that the range of meanings that imperatives can convey should be identified with the variety of interpretations that are possible for non-dynamic root modals (what I call ‘priority modals’), including deontic, bouletic, and teleological readings. This paper presents an analysis of the relationship between imperatives and priority modals in discourse which asserts that, just as declaratives contribute to the Common (...)
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  • Epistemic Conditionals and Conditional Epistemics.Anthony S. Gillies - 2004 - Noûs 38 (4):585–616.
  • The Varieties of Modality.Jessica Leech - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (2):n/a-n/a.
    In ‘The Varieties of Necessity’ Fine presents purported counterexamples to the view that a proposition is a naturally necessary truth if and only if it is logically necessary relative to or conditional upon the basic truths about the status and distribution of natural kinds, properties and relations. The aim of this article is to defend the view that natural necessity is relative necessity, and the general idea that we can define other kinds of necessity as relative, against Fine's criticisms.
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  • Probabilities of Conditionals in Context.Justin Khoo - 2016 - Linguistics and Philosophy 39 (1):1-43.
    The Ramseyan thesis that the probability of an indicative conditional is equal to the corresponding conditional probability of its consequent given its antecedent is both widely confirmed and subject to attested counterexamples (e.g., McGee 2000, Kaufmann 2004). This raises several puzzling questions. For instance, why are there interpretations of conditionals that violate this Ramseyan thesis in certain contexts, and why are they otherwise very rare? In this paper, I raise some challenges to Stefan Kaufmann's account of why the Ramseyan thesis (...)
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  • Spaces of Possibility.Timothy Williamson - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82:189-204.
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  • Judgment Ascriptions.Kjell Johan Sæbø - 2009 - Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (4):327-352.
    Some propositional attitude verbs require that the complement contain some “subjective predicate”. In terms of the theory proposed by Lasersohn, these verbs would seem to identify the “judge” of the embedded proposition with the matrix subject, and there have been suggestions in this direction. I show that it is possible to analyze these verbs as setting the judge and doing nothing more; then according to whether a judge index or a judge argument is assumed, unless the complement contains a subjective (...)
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  • ?Can? And the Logic of Ability.Charles B. Cross - 1986 - Philosophical Studies 50 (1):53-64.
    A selection function based semantics is offered for the 'can' of ability based on the idea that 'John can run a four minute mile' is true iff John would do so under the right conditions, meaning that he would do so under at least one appropriately chosen test condition. Completeness is proved for an axiom system and semantics based on this idea, and the logic turns out to be interestingly different from any standard system of modal logic.
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  • Normative Reasons as Reasons Why We Ought.Jacob M. Nebel - forthcoming - Mind:fzy013.
    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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  • Must . . . Stay . . . Strong!Kai von Fintel & Anthony S. Gillies - 2010 - Natural Language Semantics 18 (4):351-383.
    It is a recurring mantra that epistemic must creates a statement that is weaker than the corresponding flat-footed assertion: It must be raining vs. It’s raining. Contrary to classic discussions of the phenomenon such as by Karttunen, Kratzer, and Veltman, we argue that instead of having a weak semantics, must presupposes the presence of an indirect inference or deduction rather than of a direct observation. This is independent of the strength of the claim being made. Epistemic must is therefore quite (...)
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  • Modality, Scale Structure, and Scalar Reasoning.Daniel Lassiter - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (4):461-490.
    Epistemic and deontic comparatives differ in how they interact with disjunction. I argue that this difference provides a compelling empirical argument against the semantics of Kratzer, which predicts that all modal comparatives should interact with disjunction in the same way. Interestingly, an identical distinction is found in the semantics of non-modal adjectives: additive adjectives like ‘heavy’ behave logically like epistemic comparatives, and intermediate adjectives like ‘hot’ behave like deontic comparatives. I characterize this distinction formally and argue that the divergence between (...)
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  • Judge Dependence, Epistemic Modals, and Predicates of Personal Taste.Tamina Stephenson - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (4):487--525.
    Predicates of personal taste (fun, tasty) and epistemic modals (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 epistemic modals being much more restricted in this respect. I propose an account of both classes using Lasersohn’s (Linguistics and Philosophy 28: (...)
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  • Indeterministic Choice and Ability.Ishtiyaque Haji & Ryan Hebert - 2018 - The Journal of Ethics 22 (2):191-203.
    The problem of luck is advanced and defended against libertarian theories of responsibility-enabling ability. An outline of an account of ability is articulated to explore some features of the sort of ability moral responsibility requires. The account vindicates the luck objection and suggests a novel puzzle: Libertarianism is structurally barred from answering the problem of luck because responsibility requires, but inherently lacks, an explanation from reason states to actions that preserves reliability of connection between responsibility-grounding reasons-sensitivity and action.
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  • Knowledge-How is the Norm of Intention.Joshua Habgood-Coote - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (7):1703-1727.
    It is a widely shared intuition that there is a close connection between knowledge-how and intentional action. In this paper, I explore one aspect of this connection: the normative connection between intending to do something and knowing how to do it. I argue for a norm connecting knowledge-how and intending in a way that parallels the knowledge norms of assertion, belief, and practical reasoning, which I call the knowledge-how norm of Intention. I argue that this norm can appeal to support (...)
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  • Modals as Distributive Indefinites.Hotze Rullmann, Lisa Matthewson & Henry Davis - 2008 - Natural Language Semantics 16 (4):317-357.
    Modals in St’át’imcets (Lillooet Salish) show two differences from their counterparts in English. First, they have variable quantificational force, systematically allowing both possibility and necessity interpretations; and second, they lexically restrict the conversational background, distinguishing for example between deontic and (several kinds of) epistemic modality. We provide an analysis of the St’át’imcets modals according to which they are akin to specific indefinites in the nominal domain. They introduce choice function variables which select a subset of the accessible worlds. Following Klinedinst, (...)
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  • What We Can Say About What We Can Do: A Defense of the Conditional Analysis of 'Can'.Jan Thomas - 1995 - Philosophical Papers 24 (3):167-182.
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  • The Problem with the Frege–Geach Problem.Nate Charlow - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (3):635-665.
    I resolve the major challenge to an Expressivist theory of the meaning of normative discourse: the Frege–Geach Problem. Drawing on considerations from the semantics of directive language (e.g., imperatives), I argue that, although certain forms of Expressivism (like Gibbard’s) do run into at least one version of the Problem, it is reasonably clear that there is a version of Expressivism that does not.
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  • Russellianism Unencumbered.Mark McCullagh - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2819-2843.
    Richard Heck, Jr has recently argued against Russellianism about proper names not in the usual way—by appeal to “intuitions” about the truth conditions of “that”-clause belief ascriptions—but by appeal to our need to specify beliefs in a way that reflects their individuation. Since beliefs are individuated by their psychological roles and not their Russellian contents, he argues, Russellianism is precluded in principle from accounting for our ability to specify beliefs in ordinary language. I argue that Heck thus makes things easier (...)
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  • Dynamic Logics of Evidence-Based Beliefs.J. Benthem & E. Pacuit - 2011 - Studia Logica 99 (1-3):61-92.
    This paper adds evidence structure to standard models of belief, in the form of families of sets of worlds. We show how these more fine-grained models support natural actions of “evidence management”, ranging from update with external new information to internal rearrangement. We show how this perspective leads to new richer languages for existing neighborhood semantics for modal logic. Our main results are relative completeness theorems for the resulting dynamic logic of evidence.
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  • ‘Ought’ and Control.Matthew Chrisman - 2012 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):433-451.
    Ethical theorists often assume that the verb ?ought? means roughly ?has an obligation?; however, this assumption is belied by the diversity of ?flavours? of ought-sentences in English. A natural response is that ?ought? is ambiguous. However, this response is incompatible with the standard treatment of ?ought? by theoretical semanticists, who classify ?ought? as a member of the family of modal verbs, which are treated uniformly as operators. To many ethical theorists, however, this popular treatment in linguistics seems to elide an (...)
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  • Counterfactuals, Correlatives, and Disjunction.Luis Alonso-Ovalle - 2009 - Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (2):207-244.
    The natural interpretation of counterfactuals with disjunctive antecedents involves selecting from each of the disjuncts the worlds that come closest to the world of evaluation. It has been long noticed that capturing this interpretation poses a problem for a minimal change semantics for counterfactuals, because selecting the closest worlds from each disjunct requires accessing the denotation of the disjuncts from the denotation of the disjunctive antecedent, which the standard boolean analysis of or does not allow (Creary and Hill, Philosophy of (...)
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  • Evidence and Justification in Groups with Conflicting Background Beliefs.Kent W. Staley - 2010 - Episteme 7 (3):232-247.
    Some prominent accounts of scientific evidence treat evidence as an unrelativized concept. But whether belief in a hypothesis is justified seems relative to the epistemic situation of the believer. The issue becomes yet more complicated in the context of group epistemic agents, for then one confronts the problem of relativizing to an epistemic situation that may include conflicting beliefs. As a step toward resolution of these difficulties, an ideal of justification is here proposed that incorporates both an unrelativized evidence requirement (...)
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  • One's Modus Ponens: Modality, Coherence and Logic.Una Stojnić - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (1):167-214.
    Recently, there has been a shift away from traditional truth-conditional accounts of meaning towards non-truth-conditional ones, e.g., expressivism, relativism and certain forms of dynamic semantics. Fueling this trend is some puzzling behavior of modal discourse. One particularly surprising manifestation of such behavior is the alleged failure of some of the most entrenched classical rules of inference; viz., modus ponens and modus tollens. These revisionary, non-truth-conditional accounts tout these failures, and the alleged tension between the behavior of modal vocabulary and classical (...)
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  • Disposition Ascriptions.Simona Aimar - 2018 - Philosophical Studies:1-26.
    I argue that disposition ascriptions—claims like ‘the glass is fragile’—are semantically equivalent to possibility claims: they are true when the given object manifests the disposition in at least one accessible possible world.
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  • Normative Certitude for Expressivists.Michael Ridge - forthcoming - Synthese.
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