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  1. Might Do Better: Flexible Relativism and the QUD.Bob Beddor & Andy Egan - 2018 - Semantics and Pragmatics 11.
    The past decade has seen a protracted debate over the semantics of epistemic modals. According to contextualists, epistemic modals quantify over the possibilities compatible with some contextually determined group’s information. Relativists often object that contextualism fails to do justice to the way we assess utterances containing epistemic modals for truth or falsity. However, recent empirical work seems to cast doubt on the relativist’s claim, suggesting that ordinary speakers’ judgments about epistemic modals are more closely in line with contextualism than relativism (...)
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  • Assertion and Modality.Fabrizio Cariani - forthcoming - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This essay is an opinionated exploration of the constraints that modal discourse imposes on the theory of assertion. Primary focus is on the question whether modal discourse challenges the traditional view that all assertions have propositional content. This question is tackled largely with reference to discourse involving epistemic modals, although connections with other flavors of modality are noted along the way.
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  • Embedded Taste Predicates.Julia Zakkou - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (6):718-739.
    ABSTRACTWide-ranging semantic flexibility is often considered a magic cure for contextualism to account for all kinds of troubling data. In particular, it seems to offer a way to account for our intuitions regarding embedded perspectival sentences. As has been pointed out by Lasersohn [2009. “Relative Truth, Speaker Commitment, and Control of Implicit Arguments.” Synthese 166 : 359â374], however, the semantic flexibility does not present a remedy for all kinds of embeddings. In particular, it seems ineffective when it comes to embeddings (...)
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  • Epistemic Modals and Context: Experimental Data.Joshua Knobe & Seth Yalcin - 2014 - Semantics and Pragmatics 7 (10):1-21.
    Recently, a number of theorists (MacFarlane (2003, 2011), Egan et al. (2005), Egan (2007), Stephenson (2007a,b)) have argued that an adequate semantics and pragmatics for epistemic modals calls for some technical notion of relativist truth and/or relativist content. Much of this work has relied on an empirical thesis about speaker judgments, namely that competent speakers tend to judge a present-tense bare epistemic possibility claim true only if the prejacent is compatible with their information. Relativists have in particular appealed to judgments (...)
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  • Simple Contextualism About Epistemic Modals Is Incorrect.Benjamin Lennertz - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (4):252-262.
    I argue against a simple contextualist account of epistemic modals. My argument, like the argument on which it is based , charges that simple contextualism cannot explain all of the conversational data about uses of epistemic modals. My argument improves on its predecessor by insulating itself from recent contextualist attempts by Janice Dowell and Igor Yanovich to get around that argument. In particular, I use linguistic data to show that an utterance of an epistemic modal sentence can be warranted, while (...)
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  • Epistemic Modals and Sensitivity to Contextually‐Salient Partitions.Andy Demfree Yu - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (2):134-146.
    Expressivists and relativists about epistemic modals often motivate their view by arguing against contextualist treatments of certain cases. However, I argue that even expressivists and relativists should consider being a kind of contextualist. Specifically, data involving mixed disjunctions motivate taking epistemic modals to be sensitive to contextually-salient partitions, and thus context-sensitive.
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  • Closure and Epistemic Modals.Justin Bledin & Tamar Lando - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (1):3-22.
    According to a popular closure principle for epistemic justification, if one is justified in believing each of the premises in set Φ and one comes to believe that ψ on the basis of competently deducing ψ from Φ—while retaining justified beliefs in the premises—then one is justified in believing that ψ. This principle is prima facie compelling; it seems to capture the sense in which competent deduction is an epistemically secure means to extend belief. However, even the single-premise version of (...)
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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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  • Invariantist 'Might' and Modal Meaning Change.Igor Yanovich - 2013 - Linguistics and Philosophy 36 (2):175-180.
    Invariantism proposed by Braun (Linguistics and Philosophy 35(6):461–489, 2012) aims to maintain full identity of semantic content between all uses of ‘might’. I invoke well-known facts regarding diachronic change in meanings of modals to argue that invariantism commits us to implausible duplication of familiar processes of lexical semantic change on the level of “lexical pragmatics”, with no obvious payoff.
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