Bounded Modality

Philosophical Review 128 (1):1-61 (2019)

Authors
Matthew Mandelkern
All Souls College, Oxford
Abstract
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 and Wittgenstein sentences are classically consistent. In this paper I argue against this consensus. I adduce a variety of new data which I argue can best be accounted for if we treat Wittgenstein sentences as being classically inconsistent. This creates a puzzle, since there is decisive reason to think that 'Might p' is classically consistent with 'Not p'. How can it also be that 'Might p and not p' and 'Not p and might p' are classically inconsistent? To make sense of this situation, I propose a new theory of epistemic modals and their interaction with embedding operators. This account makes sense of the subtle embedding behavior of epistemic modals, shedding new light on their meaning and, more broadly, the dynamics of information in natural language.
Keywords epistemic modals  local contexts  semantics  connectives  attitudes  conditionals  quantifiers
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1215/00318108-7213001
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Epistemic Modals.Seth Yalcin - 2007 - Mind 116 (464):983-1026.

View all 79 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Dynamic Non-Classicality.Matthew Mandelkern - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-11.
Import‐Export and ‘And’.Matthew Mandelkern - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
How to Do Things with Modals.Matthew Mandelkern - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (1):115-138.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Suppose Yalcin is Wrong About Epistemic Modals.Joshua D. Crabill - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (3):625-635.
Embedding Epistemic Modals.Cian Dorr & John Hawthorne - 2013 - Mind 122 (488):867-914.
Fallibilism and the Flexibility of Epistemic Modals.Charity Anderson - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (3):597-606.
Expressivism Concerning Epistemic Modals.Benjamin Schnieder - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (240):601-615.
'According To' Phrases and Epistemic Modals.Brett Sherman - 2018 - Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 36 (2):627-636.
Deontic Modals and Probability: One Theory to Rule Them All?Fabrizio Cariani - forthcoming - In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press.
Dynamics of Epistemic Modality.Malte Willer - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (1):45-92.
Epistemic Modality De Re.Seth Yalcin - 2015 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2:475-527.
Epistemic Modals in Context.Andy Egan, John Hawthorne & Brian Weatherson - 2005 - In Gerhard Preyer & Georg Peter (eds.), Contextualism in Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 131-170.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2018-03-31

Total views
316 ( #19,993 of 2,286,119 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
102 ( #6,164 of 2,286,119 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature