Must . . . stay . . . strong!

Natural Language Semantics 18 (4):351-383 (2010)
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Abstract

It is a recurring mantra that epistemic must creates a statement that is weaker than the corresponding flat-footed assertion: It must be raining vs. It’s raining. Contrary to classic discussions of the phenomenon such as by Karttunen, Kratzer, and Veltman, we argue that instead of having a weak semantics, must presupposes the presence of an indirect inference or deduction rather than of a direct observation. This is independent of the strength of the claim being made. Epistemic must is therefore quite similar to evidential markers of indirect evidence known from languages with rich evidential systems. We work towards a formalization of the evidential component, relying on a structured model of information states (analogous to some models used in the belief dynamics literature). We explain why in many contexts, one can perceive a lack of confidence on the part of the speaker who uses must

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2009-01-28

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Author Profiles

Kai von Fintel
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Anthony Gillies
Rutgers - New Brunswick

Citations of this work

Hedged Assertion.Matthew A. Benton & Peter Van Elswyk - 2020 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 245-263.
Dynamics of Epistemic Modality.Malte Willer - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (1):45-92.
Epistemic Multilateral Logic.Luca Incurvati & Julian J. Schlöder - 2022 - Review of Symbolic Logic 15 (2):505-536.
Prospects for an Expressivist Theory of Meaning.Nate Charlow - 2015 - Philosophers' Imprint 15:1-43.
Assertion, Evidence, and the Future.Dilip Ninan - 2022 - Philosophical Review 131 (4):405-451.

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