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Paolo Santorio
University of Maryland, College Park
  1. Indeterminacy and Triviality.Paolo Santorio & Robert Williams - manuscript
    Suppose that you're certain that a certain sentence, e.g. "Frida is tall", lacks a determinate truth value. What cognitive attitude should you take towards it—reject it, suspend judgment, or what else? We show that, by adopting a seemingly plausible principle connecting credence in A and Determinately A, we can prove a very implausible answer to this question: i.e., all indeterminate claims should be assigned credence zero. The result is striking similar to so-called triviality results in the literature on modals and (...)
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  2.  67
    Alternatives and Truthmakers in Conditional Semantics.Paolo Santorio - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy 115 (10):513-549.
    Natural language conditionals seem to be subject to three logical requirements: they invalidate Antecedent Strengthening, they validate so-called Simplification of Disjunctive Antecedents, and they allow for the replacement of logically equivalent clauses in antecedent position. Unfortunately, these requirements are jointly inconsistent. Conservative solutions to the puzzle drop Simplification, treating it as a pragmatic inference. I show that pragmatic accounts of Simplification fail, and develop a truthmaker semantics for conditionals that captures all the relevant data. Differently from existing truthmaker semantics, my (...)
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  3. Will Done Better: Selection Semantics, Future Credence, and Indeterminacy.Fabrizio Cariani & Paolo Santorio - 2018 - Mind 127 (505):129-165.
    Statements about the future are central in everyday conversation and reasoning. How should we understand their meaning? The received view among philosophers treats will as a tense: in ‘Cynthia will pass her exam’, will shifts the reference time forward. Linguists, however, have produced substantial evidence for the view that will is a modal, on a par with must and would. The different accounts are designed to satisfy different theoretical constraints, apparently pulling in opposite directions. We show that these constraints are (...)
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  4. Credence for Epistemic Discourse.Paolo Santorio - manuscript
    Many recent theories of epistemic discourse exploit an informational notion of consequence, i.e. a notion that defines entailment as preservation of support by an information state. This paper investigates how informational consequence fits with probabilistic reasoning. I raise two problems. First, all informational inferences that are not also classical inferences are, intuitively, probabilistically invalid. Second, all these inferences can be exploited, in a systematic way, to generate triviality results. The informational theorist is left with two options, both of them radical: (...)
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  5. Confidence Reports.Fabrizio Cariani, Paolo Santorio & Alexis Wellwood - manuscript
    We advocate and develop a states-based semantics for both nominal and adjectival confidence reports, as in "Ann is confident/has confidence that it's raining", and their comparatives "Ann is more confident/has more confidence that it's raining than that it's snowing". Other examples of adjectives that can report confidence include "sure" and "certain". Our account adapts Wellwood's account of adjectival comparatives in which the adjectives denote properties of states, and measure functions are introduced compositionally. We further explore the prospects of applying these (...)
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  6.  77
    Descriptions as Variables.Paolo Santorio - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (1):41-59.
    On a popular view dating back to Russell, descriptions, both definite and indefinite alike, work syntactically and semantically like quantifiers. I have an argument against Russell's view. The argument supports a different picture: descriptions can behave syntactically and semantically like variables. This basic idea can be implemented in very different systematic analyses, but, whichever way one goes, there will be a significant departure from Russell. The claim that descriptions are variables is not new: what I offer is a new way (...)
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  7.  62
    Nonfactual Know-How and the Boundaries of Semantics.Paolo Santorio - 2016 - Philosophical Review 125 (1):35-82.
    Know-how and expressivism are usually regarded as disjoint topics, belonging to distant areas of philosophy. This paper argues that, despite obvious differences, the two debates have important similarities. In particular, semantic and conceptual tools developed by expressivists can be exported to the know-how debate. On the one hand, some of the expressivists' semantic resources can be used to deflect Stanley and Williamson's influential argument for factualism about know-how: the claim that knowing how to do something consists in knowing a fact. (...)
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  8. Reference and Monstrosity.Paolo Santorio - 2012 - Philosophical Review 121 (3):359-406.
    According to the orthodox account developed by Kaplan, indexicals like I, you, and now invariably refer to elements of the context of speech. This essay argues that the orthodoxy is wrong. I, you, and the like are shifted by certain modal operators and hence can fail to refer to elements of the context, for example, I can fail to refer to the speaker. More precisely, indexicals are syntactically akin to logical variables. They can be free, in which case they work, (...)
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  9.  48
    Context-Free Semantics.Paolo Santorio - 2019 - In Ernie LePore & David Sosa (eds.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Language, Volume 1. Oxford University Press. pp. 208-239.
    On a traditional view, the semantics of natural language makes essential use of a context parameter, i.e. a set of coordinates that represents the situation of speech. In classical semantic frameworks, this parameter plays two key roles: first, context contributes to determining the content of utterance; second, it is crucial for defining logical consequence. I point out that recent empirical proposals about context shift in natural language (in particular, context-shifting semantics in the style of Anand and Nevins 2004) are incompatible (...)
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  10.  43
    Interventions in Premise Semantics.Paolo Santorio - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    This paper investigates what happens when we merge two different lines of theorizing about counterfactuals. One is the comparative closeness view, which was developed by Stalnaker and Lewis in the framework of possible worlds semantics. The second is the interventionist view, which is part of the causal models framework developed in statistics and computer science. Common lore and existing literature have it that the two views can be easily fit together, aside from a few details. I argue that, on the (...)
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  11.  68
    Communication for Expressivists.Alejandro Pérez Carballo & Paolo Santorio - 2016 - Ethics 126 (3):607-635.
    How can expressivists make sense of the practice of communication? If communication is not a joint enterprise aimed at sharing information about the world, why do we engage in communication the way we do? Call this *the problem of communication*. Starting from basic assumptions about the rationality of speakers and the nature of assertion, we argue that speakers engaging in conversation about normative matters must presuppose that there is a unique normative standard on which the attitudes of conversational participants ought (...)
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    Choice and prohibition in non-monotonic contexts.Nicole Gotzner, Jacopo Romoli & Paolo Santorio - 2020 - Natural Language Semantics 28 (2):141-174.
    Disjunctions in the scope of possibility modals give rise to a conjunctive inference, generally referred to as ‘free choice.’ For example, Emma can take Spanish or Calculus suggests that Emma can take Spanish and can take Calculus. This inference is not valid on standard semantics for modals in combination with a Boolean semantics for disjunction. Hence free choice has sparked a whole industry of theories in philosophy of language and semantics. This paper investigates free choice in sentences involving a non-monotonic (...)
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