How not to theorize about the language of subjective uncertainty

In Andy Egan & Brian Weatherson (eds.), Epistemic Modality. Oxford University Press (2009)
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Abstract

A successful theory of the language of subjective uncertainty would meet several important constraints. First, it would explain how use of the language of subjective uncertainty affects addressees’ states of subjective uncertainty. Second, it would explain how such use affects what possibilities are treated as live for purposes of conversation. Third, it would accommodate 'quantifying in' to the scope of epistemic modals. Fourth, it would explain the norms governing the language of subjective uncertainty, and the differences between them and the norms governing the language of subjective certainty. Neither truth conditional nor traditional force modfier theories of the language of subjective uncertainty look adequate to the task of satisfying all four of these constraints.

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Eric Swanson
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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