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Bounded Modality

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

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  1. Revisiting McGee’s Probabilistic Analysis of Conditionals.John Cantwell - 2022 - Journal of Philosophical Logic (5):1-45.
    This paper calls for a re-appraisal of McGee's analysis of the semantics, logic and probabilities of indicative conditionals presented in his 1989 paper Conditional probabilities and compounds of conditionals. The probabilistic measures introduced by McGee are given a new axiomatisation built on the principle that the antecedent of a conditional is probabilistically independent of the conditional and a more transparent method of constructing such measures is provided. McGee's Dutch book argument is restructured to more clearly reveal that it introduces a (...)
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  • Epistemic Contradictions Do Not Threaten Classical Logic.Philipp Mayr - 2022 - Acta Analytica 37 (4):551-573.
    Epistemic contradictions are now a well-known and often discussed phenomenon among those who study epistemic modals. These contradictions are expressed by sentences like ‘It is raining and it might not be raining’ whose oddness to the common ear demands an explanation. However, it has turned out to be a rather controversial enterprise to provide such an explanation in a sufficiently precise and general manner. According to pragmatic explanations, epistemic contradictions are semantically consistent but pragmatically defective. According to semantic explanations, one (...)
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  • Witnesses.Matthew Mandelkern - 2022 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (5):1091-1117.
    The meaning of definite descriptions (like ‘the King of France’, ‘the girl’, etc.) has been a central topic in philosophy and linguistics for the past century. Indefinites (‘Something is on the floor’, ‘A child sat down’, etc.) have been relatively neglected in philosophy, under the Russellian assumption that they can be unproblematically treated as existential quantifiers. However, an important tradition, drawing from Stoic logic, has pointed to patterns which suggest that indefinites cannot be treated simply as existential quantifiers. The standard (...)
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  • What It Takes to Believe.Daniel Rothschild - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (5):1345-1362.
    Much linguistic evidence supports the view believing something only requires thinking it likely. I assess and reject a rival view, based on recent work on homogeneity in natural language, according to which belief is a strong, demanding attitude. I discuss the implications of the linguistic considerations about ‘believe’ for our philosophical accounts of belief.
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  • Indicative Conditionals in Objective Contexts.Vít Punčochář & Christopher Gauker - 2020 - Theoria 86 (5):651-687.
    A conversation can be conceived as aiming to circumscribe a set of possibilities that are relevant to the goals of the conversation. This set of possibilities may be conceived as determined by the goals and objective circumstances of the interlocutors and not by their propositional attitudes. An indicative conditional can be conceived as circumscribing a set of possibilities that have a certain property: If the set of relevant possibilities is subsequently restricted to one in which the antecedent holds, then it (...)
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  • Naming and Epistemic Necessity.Dilip Ninan - 2021 - Noûs 55 (2):334-362.
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  • What ‘Must’ Adds.Matthew Mandelkern - 2019 - Linguistics and Philosophy 42 (3):225-266.
    There is a difference between the conditions in which one can felicitously use a ‘must’-claim like and those in which one can use the corresponding claim without the ‘must’, as in 'It must be raining out' versus 'It is raining out. It is difficult to pin down just what this difference amounts to. And it is difficult to account for this difference, since assertions of 'Must p' and assertions of p alone seem to have the same basic goal: namely, communicating (...)
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  • We’ve discovered that projection across conjunction is asymmetric.Matthew Mandelkern, Jérémy Zehr, Jacopo Romoli & Florian Schwarz - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (5):473-514.
    Is the mechanism behind presupposition projection and filtering fundamentally asymmetric or symmetric? This is a foundational question for the theory of presupposition which has been at the centre of attention in recent literature. It also bears on broader issues concerning the source of asymmetries observed in natural language: are these simply rooted in superficial asymmetries of language use ; or are they, at least in part, directly encoded in linguistic knowledge and representations? In this paper we aim to make progress (...)
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  • We’ve discovered that projection across conjunction is asymmetric.Matthew Mandelkern, Jérémy Zehr, Jacopo Romoli & Florian Schwarz - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (5):473-514.
    Is the mechanism behind presupposition projection and filtering fundamentally asymmetric or symmetric? This is a foundational question for the theory of presupposition which has been at the centre of attention in recent literature :287–316, 2008b. https://doi.org/10.1515/THLI.2008.021, Semant Pragmat 2:1–78, 2009. https://doi.org/10.3765/sp.2.3; Rothschild in Semant Pragmat 4:1–43, 2011/2015. https://doi.org/10.3765/sp.4.3 a.o.). It also bears on broader issues concerning the source of asymmetries observed in natural language: are these simply rooted in superficial asymmetries of language use ; or are they, at least in (...)
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  • Talking About Worlds.Matthew Mandelkern - 2018 - Philosophical Perspectives 32 (1):298-325.
    I explore the logic of the conditional, using credence judgments to argue against Duality and in favor of Conditional Excluded Middle. I then explore how to give a theory of the conditional which validates the latter and not the former, developing a variant on Kratzer (1981)'s restrictor theory, as well as a proposal which combines Stalnaker (1968)'s theory of the conditional with the theory of epistemic modals I develop in Mandelkern 2019a. I argue that the latter approach fits naturally with (...)
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  • Practical Moore Sentences.Matthew Mandelkern - 2021 - Noûs 55 (1):39-61.
    I discuss what I call practical Moore sentences: sentences like ‘You must close your door, but I don’t know whether you will’, which combine an order together with an avowal of agnosticism about whether the order will be obeyed. I show that practical Moore sentences are generally infelicitous. But this infelicity is surprising: it seems like there should be nothing wrong with giving someone an order while acknowledging that you do not know whether it will obeyed. I suggest that this (...)
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  • Modality and Expressibility.Matthew Mandelkern - 2019 - Review of Symbolic Logic 12 (4):768-805.
    When embedding data are used to argue against semantic theory A and in favor of semantic theory B, it is important to ask whether A could make sense of those data. It is possible to ask that question on a case-by-case basis. But suppose we could show that A can make sense of all the embedding data which B can possibly make sense of. This would, on the one hand, undermine arguments in favor of B over A on the basis (...)
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  • If P, Then P!Matthew Mandelkern - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (12):645-679.
    The Identity principle says that conditionals with the form 'If p, then p' are logical truths. Identity is overwhelmingly plausible, and has rarely been explicitly challenged. But a wide range of conditionals nonetheless invalidate it. I explain the problem, and argue that the culprit is the principle known as Import-Export, which we must thus reject. I then explore how we can reject Import-Export in a way that still makes sense of the intuitions that support it, arguing that the differences between (...)
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  • Import‐Export and ‘And’.Matthew Mandelkern - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (1):118-135.
    Import-Export says that a conditional 'If p, if q, r' is always equivalent to the conditional 'If p and q, r'. I argue that Import-Export does not sit well with a classical approach to conjunction: given some plausible and widely accepted principles about conditionals, Import-Export together with classical conjunction leads to absurd consequences. My main goal is to draw out these surprising connections. In concluding I argue that the right response is to reject Import-Export and adopt instead a limited version (...)
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  • How to Do Things with Modals.Matthew Mandelkern - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (1):115-138.
    Mind &Language, Volume 35, Issue 1, Page 115-138, February 2020.
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  • Hurford Conditionals.Matthew Mandelkern & Jacopo Romoli - 2018 - Journal of Semantics 35 (2):357-367.
    Compare the following conditionals: 'If John is not in Paris, he is in France' versus 'If John is in France, he is not in Paris.' The second sounds entirely natural, whereas the first sounds quite strange. This contrast is puzzling, because these two conditionals have the same structure at a certain level of logical abstraction, namely 'If ¬p+, then p.' -/- We argue that existing theories of informational oddness do not distinguish between these conditionals. We do not have an account (...)
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  • Dynamic Non-Classicality.Matthew Mandelkern - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (2):382-392.
    I show that standard dynamic approaches to the semantics of epistemic modals invalidate the classical laws of excluded middle and non-contradiction, as well as the law of epistemic non-contradiction. I argue that these facts pose a serious challenge.
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  • Context and Coherence: The Logic and Grammar of Prominence, by Una Stojnić.Justin Khoo - forthcoming - Mind.
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  • Epistemic Multilateral Logic.Luca Incurvati & Julian J. Schlöder - 2020 - Review of Symbolic Logic:1-32.
    We present epistemic multilateral logic, a general logical framework for reasoning involving epistemic modality. Standard bilateral systems use propositional formulae marked with signs for assertion and rejection. Epistemic multilateral logic extends standard bilateral systems with a sign for the speech act of weak assertion (Incurvati and Schlöder 2019) and an operator for epistemic modality. We prove that epistemic multilateral logic is sound and complete with respect to the modal logic S5 modulo an appropriate translation. The logical framework developed provides the (...)
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  • Semantic expressivism for epistemic modals.Peter Hawke & Shane Steinert-Threlkeld - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 44 (2):475-511.
    Expressivists about epistemic modals deny that ‘Jane might be late’ canonically serves to express the speaker’s acceptance of a certain propositional content. Instead, they hold that it expresses a lack of acceptance. Prominent expressivists embrace pragmatic expressivism: the doxastic property expressed by a declarative is not helpfully identified with that sentence’s compositional semantic value. Against this, we defend semantic expressivism about epistemic modals: the semantic value of a declarative from this domain is the property of doxastic attitudes it canonically serves (...)
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  • Generalized Update Semantics.Simon Goldstein - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):795-835.
    This paper explores the relationship between dynamic and truth conditional semantics for epistemic modals. It provides a generalization of a standard dynamic update semantics for modals. This new semantics derives a Kripke semantics for modals and a standard dynamic semantics for modals as special cases. The semantics allows for new characterizations of a variety of principles in modal logic, including the inconsistency of ‘p and might not p’. Finally, the semantics provides a construction procedure for transforming any truth conditional semantics (...)
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  • A Strictly Stronger Relative Must.Christopher Gauker - 2021 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (2):82-89.
    It is widely accepted that when ‘might’ expresses certain kinds of relative modality, the sentence ‘p and it might not be the case that p’ is in some sense inconsistent. It has proven difficult to define a formal semantics that explicates this inconsistency while meeting certain other desiderata, in particular, that p does not imply ‘Must p’. This paper presents such a semantics. The key idea is that background contexts have to have multiple levels, including an inner set consisting of (...)
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  • Hyperintensionality and Normativity.Federico L. G. Faroldi - 2019 - Cham, Switzerland: Springer Verlag.
    Presenting the first comprehensive, in-depth study of hyperintensionality, this book equips readers with the basic tools needed to appreciate some of current and future debates in the philosophy of language, semantics, and metaphysics. After introducing and explaining the major approaches to hyperintensionality found in the literature, the book tackles its systematic connections to normativity and offers some contributions to the current debates. The book offers undergraduate and graduate students an essential introduction to the topic, while also helping professionals in related (...)
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  • Reasoning Beyond Belief Acquisition.Daniel Drucker - 2022 - Noûs 56 (2):416-442.
    I argue that we can reason not only to new beliefs but to basically any change in attitude we can think of, including the abandonment of belief (contra John Broome), the acquisition of non-belief attitudes like relief and admiration, and the elimination of the same. To argue for this position, which I call generalism, I defend a sufficient condition on reasoning, roughly that we can reason to any change in attitude that is expressed by the conclusion of an argument we (...)
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  • Triviality and the Logic of Restricted Quantification.Nate Charlow - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-21.
    This paper clarifies the relationship between the Triviality Results for the conditional and the Restrictor Theory of the conditional. On the understanding of Triviality proposed here, it is implausible—pace many proponents of the Restrictor Theory—that Triviality rests on a syntactic error. As argued here, Triviality arises from simply mistaking the feature a claim has when that claim is logically unacceptable for the feature a claim has when that claim is unsatisfiable. Triviality rests on a semantic confusion—one which some semantic theories, (...)
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  • Grading Modal Judgement.Nate Charlow - 2020 - Mind 129 (515):769-807.
    This paper proposes a new model of graded modal judgment. It begins by problematizing the phenomenon: given plausible constraints on the logic of epistemic modality, it is impossible to model graded attitudes toward modal claims as judgments of probability targeting epistemically modal propositions. This paper considers two alternative models, on which modal operators are non-proposition-forming: (1) Moss (2015), in which graded attitudes toward modal claims are represented as judgments of probability targeting a “proxy” proposition, belief in which would underwrite belief (...)
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  • Degrees of Assertability.Sam Carter - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (1):19-49.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Volume 104, Issue 1, Page 19-49, January 2022.
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  • An Expressivist Analysis of the Indicative Conditional with a Restrictor Semantics.John Cantwell - 2021 - Review of Symbolic Logic 14 (2):487-530.
    A globally expressivist analysis of the indicative conditional based on the Ramsey Test is presented. The analysis is a form of ‘global’ expressivism in that it supplies acceptance and rejection conditions for all the sentence forming connectives of propositional logic and so allows the conditional to embed in arbitrarily complex sentences. The expressivist framework is semantically characterized in a restrictor semantics due to Vann McGee, and is completely axiomatized in a logic dubbed ICL. The expressivist framework extends the AGM framework (...)
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  • Epistemic Modals in Hypothetical Reasoning.Maria Aloni, Luca Incurvati & Julian J. Schlöder - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-31.
    Data involving epistemic modals suggest that some classically valid argument forms, such as reductio, are invalid in natural language reasoning as they lead to modal collapses. We adduce further data showing that the classical argument forms governing the existential quantifier are similarly defective, as they lead to a de re–de dicto collapse. We observe a similar problem for disjunction. But if the classical argument forms for negation, disjunction and existential quantification are invalid, what are the correct forms that govern the (...)
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  • Propositions as (Flexible) Types of Possibilities.Nate Charlow - forthcoming - In Chris Tillman & Adam Russell Murray (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Propositions. Routledge.
    // tl;dr A Proposition is a Way of Thinking // -/- This chapter is about type-theoretic approaches to propositional content. Type-theoretic approaches to propositional content originate with Hintikka, Stalnaker, and Lewis, and involve treating attitude environments (e.g. "Nate thinks") as universal quantifiers over domains of "doxastic possibilities" -- ways things could be, given what the subject thinks. -/- This chapter introduces and motivates a line of a type-theoretic theorizing about content that is an outgrowth of the recent literature on epistemic (...)
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  • Conditional Collapse.Sam Carter - forthcoming - Mind.
    Indicative and subjunctive conditionals are in non-complimentary distribution: there are conversational contexts at which both are licensed (Stalnaker (1975), Karttunen & Peters (1979), von Fintel (1998)). This means we can ask an important, but under-explored, question: in contexts which license both, what relations hold between the two? -/- In this paper, I’ll argue for an initially surprising conclusion: when attention is restricted to the relevant contexts, indicatives and subjunctives are co-entailing. §1 introduces the indicative/subjunctive distinction, along with a discussion of (...)
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  • Assertion and Modality.Fabrizio Cariani - 2020 - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 505-528.
    This essay is an opinionated exploration of the constraints that modal discourse imposes on the theory of assertion. Primary focus is on the question whether modal discourse challenges the traditional view that all assertions have propositional content. This question is tackled largely with reference to discourse involving epistemic modals, although connections with other flavors of modality are noted along the way.
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  • Pluralism for Relativists: A New Framework for Context-Dependence.Ahmad Jabbar - 2021 - In Proceedings of the 18th workshop of the Logic and Engineering of Natural Language Semantics (LENLS). pp. 3-16.
    We propose a framework that makes space for both non-indexical contextualism and assessment-sensitivity. Such pluralism is motivated by considering possible variance in judgments about retraction. We conclude that the proposed pluralism, instead of problematizing, vindicates defining truth of a proposition w.r.t. a context of utterance and a context of assessment. To implement this formally, we formalize initialization of parameters by contexts. Then, a given parameter, depending on a speaker's judgment, can get initialized by either the context of utterance or the (...)
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  • Eavesdropping: What is It Good For?Jonathan Phillips & Matthew Mandelkern - forthcoming - Semantics and Pragmatics.
    Eavesdropping judgments (judgments about truth, retraction, and consistency across contexts) about epistemic modals have been used in recent years to argue for a radical thesis: that truth is assessment-relative. We argue that judgments for 'I think that p' pattern in strikingly similar ways to judgments for 'Might p' and 'Probably p'. We argue for this by replicating three major experiments involving the latter and adding a condition with the form 'I think that p', showing that subjects respond in the same (...)
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  • Inferential Expressivism and the Negation Problem.Luca Incurvati & Julian J. Schlöder - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 16.
    We develop a novel solution to the negation version of the Frege-Geach problem by taking up recent insights from the bilateral programme in logic. Bilateralists derive the meaning of negation from a primitive *B-type* inconsistency involving the attitudes of assent and dissent. Some may demand an explanation of this inconsistency in simpler terms, but we argue that bilateralism’s assumptions are no less explanatory than those of *A-type* semantics that only require a single primitive attitude, but must stipulate inconsistency elsewhere. Based (...)
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