New Horizons for a Theory of Epistemic Modals

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):309-324 (2019)
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Abstract

ABSTRACTRecent debate over the semantics and pragmatics of epistemic modals has focused on intuitions about cross-contextual truth-value assessments. In this paper, we advocate a different approach to evaluating theories of epistemic modals. Our strategy focuses on judgments of the incompatibility of two different epistemic possibility claims, or two different truth value assessments of a single epistemic possibility claim. We subject the predictions of existing theories to empirical scrutiny, and argue that existing contextualist and relativist theories are unable to account for the full pattern of observed judgments. As a way of illustrating the theoretical upshot of these results, we conclude by developing a novel theory of epistemic modals that is able to predict the results.

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Author Profiles

Justin Khoo
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jonathan Phillips
Dartmouth College

Citations of this work

Feasibility and Normative Penetration.Matthew Lindauer & Nicholas Southwood - forthcoming - Journal of Moral Philosophy.
A direction effect on taste predicates.Alexander Dinges & Julia Zakkou - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20 (27):1-22.
The Orthologic of Epistemic Modals.Wesley H. Holliday & Matthew Mandelkern - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-77.
Judges, experiencers, and taste.Michael Glanzberg - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
Making sense of relative truth.John MacFarlane - 2005 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 105 (3):321–339.
Nonindexical contextualism.John MacFarlane - 2009 - Synthese 166 (2):231-250.

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