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  1. How to Do Things with Modals.Matthew Mandelkern - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    In a brief discussion of epistemic modals, Wittgenstein (1953) warns against ‘regard[ing] a hesitant assertion as an assertion of hesitancy’. A modal claim like ‘It might be raining’, the thought goes, should not be regarded as an assertion of the speaker's uncertainty as to whether or not it is raining, but rather as something quite different in kind: a proposal to treat the possibility of rain as live. Wittgenstein’s admonition has, in recent years, been at the heart of arguments that, (...)
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  • Might-Beliefs and Asymmetric Disagreement.Benjamin Lennertz - 2019 - Synthese 196 (11):4775-4805.
    What we can call asymmetric disagreement occurs when one agent is in disagreement with another, but not vice-versa. In this paper, I give an example of and develop a framework for understanding this phenomenon. One pivotal feature of my example is that one of the agents in the scenario has a belief about what might be the case—a might-belief. I show that a traditional account of might-beliefs and disagreement cannot explain the initially surprising phenomenon of asymmetric disagreement. In order to (...)
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  • Modals Under Epistemic Tension.Guillermo Del Pinal & Brandon Waldon - 2019 - Natural Language Semantics 27 (2):135-188.
    According to Kratzer’s influential account of epistemic 'must' and 'might', these operators involve quantification over domains of possibilities determined by a modal base and an ordering source. Recently, this account has been challenged by invoking contexts of ‘epistemic tension’: i.e., cases in which an assertion that 'must p' is conjoined with the possibility that 'not p', and cases in which speakers try to downplay a previous assertion that 'must p', after finding out that 'not p'. Epistemic tensions have been invoked (...)
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  • Evidentiality, Learning Events and Spatiotemporal Distance: The View From Bulgarian.Todor Koev - 2016 - Journal of Semantics:ffv014.
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  • Epistemic Comparison, Models of Uncertainty, and the Disjunction Puzzle.D. Lassiter - 2015 - Journal of Semantics 32 (4):649-684.
  • Generalized Update Semantics.Simon Goldstein - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):795-835.
    This paper explores the relationship between dynamic and truth conditional semantics for epistemic modals. It provides a generalization of a standard dynamic update semantics for modals. This new semantics derives a Kripke semantics for modals and a standard dynamic semantics for modals as special cases. The semantics allows for new characterizations of a variety of principles in modal logic, including the inconsistency of ‘p and might not p’. Finally, the semantics provides a construction procedure for transforming any truth conditional semantics (...)
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  • The Counterfactual Direct Argument.Simon Goldstein - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-40.
    Many have accepted that ordinary counterfactuals and might counterfactuals are duals. In this paper, I show that this thesis leads to paradoxical results when combined with a few different unorthodox yet increasingly popular theses, including the thesis that counterfactuals are strict conditionals. Given Duality and several other theses, we can quickly infer the validity of another paradoxical principle, ‘The Counterfactual Direct Argument’, which says that ‘A> ’ entails ‘A> ’. First, I provide a collapse theorem for the ‘counterfactual direct argument’. (...)
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  • A Closer Look at the Perceptual Source in Copy Raising Constructions.Rachel Etta Rudolph - 2019 - Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 23 2:287-304.
    Simple claims with the verb ‘seem’, as well as the specific sensory verbs, ‘look’, ‘sound’, etc., require the speaker to have some relevant kind of perceptual acquaintance (Pearson, 2013; Ninan, 2014). But different forms of these reports differ in their perceptual requirements. For example, the copy raising (CR) report, ‘Tom seems like he’s cooking’ requires the speaker to have seen Tom, while its expletive subject (ES) variant, ‘It seems like Tom is cooking’, does not (Rogers, 1972; Asudeh and Toivonen, 2012). (...)
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  • Dynamics of Epistemic Modality.Malte Willer - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (1):45-92.
    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 epistemic modals. 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 (...)
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  • Believing Epistemic Contradictions.Beddor Bob & Simon Goldstein - 2018 - Review of Symbolic Logic (1):87-114.
    What is it to believe something might be the case? We develop a puzzle that creates difficulties for standard answers to this question. We go on to propose our own solution, which integrates a Bayesian approach to belief with a dynamic semantics for epistemic modals. After showing how our account solves the puzzle, we explore a surprising consequence: virtually all of our beliefs about what might be the case provide counterexamples to the view that rational belief is closed under logical (...)
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  • An Update on Epistemic Modals.Malte Willer - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 44 (6):835–849.
    Epistemic modals are a prominent topic in the literature on natural language semantics, with wide-ranging implications for issues in philosophy of language and philosophical logic. Considerations about the role that epistemic "might" and "must" play in discourse and reasoning have led to the development of several important alternatives to classical possible worlds semantics for natural language modal expressions. This is an opinionated overview of what I take to be some of the most exciting issues and developments in the field.
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  • Hedged Assertion.Matthew A. Benton & Peter Van Elswyk - forthcoming - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Surprisingly little has been written about hedged assertion. Linguists often focus on semantic or syntactic theorizing about, for example, grammatical evidentials or epistemic modals, but pay far less attention to what hedging does at the level of action. By contrast, philosophers have focused extensively on normative issues regarding what epistemic position is required for proper assertion, yet they have almost exclusively considered unqualified declaratives. This essay considers the linguistic and normative issues side-by-side. We aim to bring some order and clarity (...)
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  • A Solution to Karttunen's Problem.Matthew Mandelkern - 2017 - In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21.
    There is a difference between the conditions in which one can felicitously assert a ‘must’-claim versus those in which one can use the corresponding non-modal claim. But it is difficult to pin down just what this difference amounts to. And it is even harder to account for this difference, since assertions of 'Must ϕ' and assertions of ϕ alone seem to have the same basic goal: namely, coming to agreement that [[ϕ]] is true. In this paper I take on this (...)
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  • What ‘Must’ Adds.Matthew Mandelkern - 2019 - Linguistics and Philosophy 42 (3):225-266.
    There is a difference between the conditions in which one can felicitously use a ‘must’-claim like and those in which one can use the corresponding claim without the ‘must’, as in : $$\begin{aligned}&\hbox {} \,\,\quad \hbox {a. It must be raining out}.\\&\qquad \,\,\, \hbox {b. It is raining out}. \end{aligned}$$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 (...)
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  • Modality and Expressibility.Matthew Mandelkern - forthcoming - Review of Symbolic Logic:1-39.
    When embedding data are used to argue against semantic theory A and in favor of semantic theory B, it is important to ask whether A could, after all, make sense of those data. It is possible to ask that question on a case-by-case basis. But suppose we could show that A can make sense of all the embedding data which B can possibly make sense of. This would, in one fell swoop, undermine all arguments in favor of B over A (...)
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  • Updating Data Semantics.Anthony S. Gillies - forthcoming - Mind:fzy008.
    This paper has three main goals. First, to motivate a puzzle about how ignorance-expressing language like \expression{maybe} and \expression{if} interact: they (surprisingly) iterate and when they do they exhibit scopelessness. Second, to argue that there is an ambiguity in our theoretical toolbox and that resolving that opens the door to a solution to the puzzle. And third, to explore the reach of that solution (it turns out to do work in unexpected places). Along the way, the paper highlights a number (...)
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  • Projecting Possibilities in the Nominal Domain: Spanish Uno Cualquiera.Luis Alonso-Ovalle & Paula Menéndez-Benito - 2018 - Journal of Semantics 35 (1):1-41.
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  • Totally Between Subjectivity and Discourse. Exploring the Pragmatic Side of Intensification.Andrea Beltrama - 2018 - Journal of Semantics 35 (2):219-261.
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  • French Future: Exploring the Future Ratification Hypothesis.Alda Mari - 2015 - Journal of French Language Studies:1-26.
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  • Perspectival Plurality, Relativism, and Multiple Indexing.Dan Zeman - 2018 - In Rob Truswell, Chris Cummins, Caroline Heycock, Brian Rabern & Hannah Rohde (eds.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21, Vol. 2. Semantics Archives. pp. 1353-1370.
    In this paper I focus on a recently discussed phenomenon illustrated by sentences containing predicates of taste: the phenomenon of " perspectival plurality " , whereby sentences containing two or more predicates of taste have readings according to which each predicate pertains to a different perspective. This phenomenon has been shown to be problematic for (at least certain versions of) relativism. My main aim is to further the discussion by showing that the phenomenon extends to other perspectival expressions than predicates (...)
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  • Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 21.Rob Truswell, Chris Cummins, Caroline Heycock, Brian Rabern & Hannah Rohde (eds.) - 2018 - Semantics Archives.
    The present volume contains a collection of papers presented at the 21st annual meeting “Sinn und Bedeutung” of the Gesellschaft fur Semantik, which was held at the University of Edinburgh on September 4th–6th, 2016. The Sinn und Bedeutung conferences are one of the leading international venues for research in formal semantics.
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  • Assertions of Clarity & Raising Awareness.Phil Crone - 2019 - Journal of Semantics 36 (1):53-97.
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  • Gradable Possibility and Epistemic Comparison.Elena Herburger & Aynat Rubinstein - 2019 - Journal of Semantics 36 (1):165-191.
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  • Grading Modal Judgment.Nate Charlow - forthcoming - Mind.
    This paper proposes a new model of graded modal judgment. It begins by problematizing the phenomenon: given plausible constraints on the logic of epistemic modality, it is impossible to model graded attitudes toward modal claims as judgments of probability targeting epistemically modal propositions. This paper considers two alternative models, on which modal operators are non-proposition-forming: (1) Moss (2015), in which graded attitudes toward modal claims are represented as judgments of probability targeting a “proxy” proposition, belief in which would underwrite belief (...)
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  • Presupposition and the a Priori.Nate Charlow - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (2):509-526.
    This paper argues for and explores the implications of the following epistemological principle for knowability a priori (with 'Ka' abbreviating 'it is knowable a priori that'). -/- (AK) For all ϕ, ψ such that ϕ semantically presupposes ψ: if Ka(ϕ), Ka(ψ). -/- Well-known arguments for the contingent a priori and a priori knowledge of logical truth founder when the semantic presuppositions of the putative items of knowledge are made explicit. Likewise, certain kinds of analytic truth turn out to carry semantic (...)
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  • Clarity and the Grammar of Skepticism.Chris Barker - 2009 - Mind and Language 24 (3):253-273.
    Why ever assert clarity? If It is clear that p is true, then saying so should be at best superfluous. Barker and Taranto (2003) and Taranto (2006) suggest that asserting clarity reveals information about the beliefs of the discourse participants, specifically, that they both believe that p . However, mutual belief is not sufficient to guarantee clarity ( It is clear that God exists ). I propose instead that It is clear that p means instead (roughly) 'the publicly available evidence (...)
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  • Evidential Scalar Implicatures.Martina Faller - 2012 - Linguistics and Philosophy 35 (4):285-312.
    This paper develops an analysis of a scalar implicature that is induced by the use of reportative evidentials such as the Cuzco Quechua enclitic = si and the German modal sollen. Reportatives, in addition to specifying the speaker’s source of information for a statement as a report by someone else, also usually convey that the speaker does not have direct evidence for the proposition expressed. While this type of implicature can be calculated using the same kind of Gricean reasoning that (...)
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  • Open Questions and Epistemic Necessity.Brett Sherman - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (273):819-840.
    Why can I not appropriately utter ‘It must be raining’ while standing outside in the rain, even though every world consistent with my knowledge is one in which it is raining? The common response to this problem is to hold that epistemic must, in addition to quantifying over epistemic possibilities, carries some additional evidential information concerning the source of one'S evidence. I argue that this is a mistake: epistemic modals are mere quantifiers over epistemic possibilities. My central claim is that (...)
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  • The Social Value of Reasoning in Epistemic Justification.Jennifer Nagel - 2015 - Episteme 12 (2):297-308.
    When and why does it matter whether we can give an explicit justification for what we believe? This paper examines these questions in the light of recent empirical work on the social functions served by our capacity to reason, in particular, Mercier and Sperber’s argumentative theory of reasoning.
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  • Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 9.Emar Maier, Corien Bary & Janneke Huitink (eds.) - 2005 - Nijmegen Centre for Semantics.
  • Still Going Strong.Kai von Fintel & Anthony S. Gillies - manuscript
    In "*Must* ...stay ...strong!" (von Fintel & Gillies 2010) we set out to slay a dragon, or rather what we called The Mantra: that epistemic *must* has a modal force weaker than expected from standard modal logic, that it doesn't entail its prejacent, and that the best explanation for the evidential feel of *must* is a pragmatic explanation. We argued that all three sub-mantras are wrong and offered an explanation according to which *must* is strong, entailing, and the felt indirectness (...)
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  • A Judge-Free Semantics for Predicates of Personal Taste.H. Pearson - 2013 - Journal of Semantics 30 (1):103-154.
    We offer a new account of the semantics of predicates of personal taste (PPTs) like tasty and fun which, unlike recent proposals (Lasersohn 2005; Stephenson 2007a, 2007b), does not appeal to a judge parameter as a component of the evaluation index. We identify empirical shortcomings of previous proposals, arguing that PPTs have a first-person-oriented meaning component even in cases that seem to involve an exocentric interpretation. We propose that the interpretation of PPTs involves first-person-oriented genericity in the sense of Moltmann (...)
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  • Commitment and States of Mind with Mood and Modality.Alex Silk - 2018 - Natural Language Semantics 26 (2):125-166.
    This paper develops an account of mood selection with attitude predicates in French. I start by examining the “contextual commitment” account of mood developed by Portner and Rubinstein Proceedings of SALT 22, CLC Publications, Ithaca, NY, pp 461–487, 2012). A key innovation of Portner and Rubinstein’s account is to treat mood selection as fundamentally depending on a relation between individuals’ attitudes and the predicate’s modal backgrounds. I raise challenges for P&R’s qualitative analysis of contextual commitment and explanations of mood selection. (...)
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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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  • Epistemic Authority, Episodic Memory, and the Sense of Self.Jennifer Nagel - 2018 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41.
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  • The Semantic Roots of Positive Polarity: Epistemic Modal Verbs and Adverbs in English, Greek and Italian.Anastasia Giannakidou & Alda Mari - 2018 - Linguistics and Philosophy 41 (6):623-664.
    Epistemic modal verbs and adverbs of necessity are claimed to be positive polarity items. We study their behavior by examining modal spread, a phenomenon that appears redundant or even anomalous, since it involves two apparent modal operators being interpreted as a single modality. We propose an analysis in which the modal adverb is an argument of the MUST modal, providing a meta-evaluation \ which ranks the Ideal, stereotypical worlds in the modal base as better possibilities than the Non-Ideal worlds in (...)
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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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  • Modus Ponens Under the Restrictor View.Moritz Schulz - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (6):1001-1028.
    There is a renewed debate about modus ponens. Strikingly, the recent counterexamples in Cantwell, Dreier and MacFarlane and Kolodny are generated by restricted readings of the ‘if’-clause. Moreover, it can be argued on general grounds that the restrictor view of conditionals developed in Kratzer and Lewis leads to counterexamples to modus ponens. This paper provides a careful analysis of modus ponens within the framework of the restrictor view. Despite appearances to the contrary, there is a robust sense in which modus (...)
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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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  • Must, Knowledge, and Directness.Daniel Lassiter - 2016 - Natural Language Semantics 24 (2):117-163.
    This paper presents corpus and experimental data that problematize the traditional analysis of must as a strong necessity modal, as recently revived and defended by von Fintel and Gillies :351–383, 2010). I provide naturalistic examples showing that must p can be used alongside an explicit denial of knowledge of p or certainty in p, and that it can be conjoined with an expression indicating that p is not certain or that not-p is possible. I also report the results of an (...)
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  • Inferential Conditionals and Evidentiality.K. Krzyżanowska, S. Wenmackers & I. Douven - 2013 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 22 (3):315-334.
    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.
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  • The Revenge of the Semantics‐Pragmatics Distinction.Josh Dever - 2013 - Philosophical Perspectives 27 (1):104-144.
  • Triviality For Restrictor Conditionals.Nate Charlow - 2016 - Noûs 50 (3):533-564.
    I present two Triviality results for Kratzer's standard “restrictor” analysis of indicative conditionals. I both refine and undermine the common claim that problems of Triviality do not arise for Kratzer conditionals since they are not strictly conditionals at all.
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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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