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  1. 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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  • 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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  • The Dynamics of Argumentative Discourse.Carlotta Pavese & Alexander W. Kocurek - 2022 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 51 (2):413-456.
    Arguments have always played a central role within logic and philosophy. But little attention has been paid to arguments as a distinctive kind of discourse, with its own semantics and pragmatics. The goal of this essay is to study the mechanisms by means of which we make arguments in discourse, starting from the semantics of argument connectives such as `therefore'. While some proposals have been made in the literature, they fail to account for the distinctive anaphoric behavior of `therefore', as (...)
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  • Handling rejection.Derek Baker & Jack Woods - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (1):159-190.
    This paper has two related goals. First, we develop an expressivist account of negation which, in the spirit of Alan Gibbard, treats disagreement as semantically primitive. Our second goal is to make progress toward a unified expressivist treatment of modality. Metaethical expressivists must be expressivists about deontic modal claims. But then metaethical expressivists must either extend their expressivism to include epistemic and alethic modals, or else accept a semantics for modal expressions that is radically disjunctive. We propose that expressivists look (...)
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  • On higher-order logical grounds.Peter Fritz - 2020 - Analysis 80 (4):656-666.
    Existential claims are widely held to be grounded in their true instances. However, this principle is shown to be problematic by arguments due to Kit Fine. Stephan Krämer has given an especially simple form of such an argument using propositional quantifiers. This note shows that even if a schematic principle of existential grounds for propositional quantifiers has to be restricted, this does not immediately apply to a corresponding non-schematic principle in higher-order logic.
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  • Probabilistic semantics for epistemic modals: Normality assumptions, conditional epistemic spaces and the strength of must and might.Guillermo Del Pinal - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (4):985-1026.
    The epistemic modal auxiliaries must and might are vehicles for expressing the force with which a proposition follows from some body of evidence or information. Standard approaches model these operators using quantificational modal logic, but probabilistic approaches are becoming increasingly influential. According to a traditional view, must is a maximally strong epistemic operator and might is a bare possibility one. A competing account—popular amongst proponents of a probabilisitic turn—says that, given a body of evidence, must \ entails that \\) is (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Expectation Biases and Context Management with Negative Polar Questions.Alex Silk - 2020 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 49 (1):51-92.
    This paper examines distinctive discourse properties of preposed negative 'yes/no' questions (NPQs), such as 'Isn’t Jane coming too?'. Unlike with other 'yes/no' questions, using an NPQ '∼p?' invariably conveys a bias toward a particular answer, where the polarity of the bias is opposite of the polarity of the question: using the negative question '∼p?' invariably expresses that the speaker previously expected the positive answer p to be correct. A prominent approach—what I call the context-management approach, developed most extensively by Romero (...)
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  • Probabilities of conditionals: updating Adams.Ivano Ciardelli & Adrian Ommundsen - forthcoming - Noûs.
    The problem of probabilities of conditionals is one of the long-standing puzzles in philosophy of language. We defend and update Adams' solution to the puzzle: the probability of an epistemic conditional is not the probability of a proposition, but a probability under a supposition.Close inspection of how a triviality result unfolds in a concrete scenario does not provide counterexamples to the view that probabilities of conditionals are conditional probabilities: instead, it supports the conclusion that probabilities of conditionals violate standard probability (...)
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  • Does Chance Undermine Would?Alexander W. Kocurek - 2021 - Mind 131 (523):747-785.
    Counterfactual scepticism holds that most ordinary counterfactuals are false. The main argument for this view appeals to a ‘chance undermines would’ principle: if ψ would have some chance of not obtaining had ϕ obtained, then ϕ □→ ψ is false. This principle seems to follow from two fairly weak principles, namely, that ‘chance ensures could’ and that ϕ □→ ψ and ϕ ⋄→ ¬ ψ clash. Despite their initial plausibility, I show that these principles are independently problematic: given some modest (...)
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  • VI-BayesianExpressivism.Seth Yalcin - 2012 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (2pt2):123-160.
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  • Belief as Question‐Sensitive.Seth Yalcin - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (1):23-47.
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  • Simplifying with Free Choice.Malte Willer - 2018 - Topoi 37 (3):379-392.
    This paper offers a unified semantic explanation of two observations that prove to be problematic for classical analyses of modals, conditionals, and disjunctions: the fact that disjunctions scoping under possibility modals give rise to the free choice effect and the fact that counterfactuals license simplification of disjunctive antecedents. It shows that the data are well explained by a dynamic semantic analysis of modals and conditionals that uses ideas from the inquisitive semantic tradition in its treatment of disjunction. The analysis explains (...)
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  • Epistemic Modality. [REVIEW]Malte Willer - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (4):641-647.
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  • An Update on Epistemic Modals.Malte Willer - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 44 (6):835–849.
    Epistemic modals are a prominent topic in the literature on natural language semantics, with wide-ranging implications for issues in philosophy of language and philosophical logic. Considerations about the role that epistemic "might" and "must" play in discourse and reasoning have led to the development of several important alternatives to classical possible worlds semantics for natural language modal expressions. This is an opinionated overview of what I take to be some of the most exciting issues and developments in the field.
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  • How to embed an epistemic modal: Attitude problems and other defects of character.Alex Silk - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (7):1773-1799.
    This paper develops a contextualist account of certain recalcitrant embedding phenomena with epistemic modals. I focus on three prominent objections to contextualism from embedding: first, that contextualism mischaracterizes subjects’ states of mind; second, that contextualism fails to predict how epistemic modals are obligatorily linked to the subject in attitude ascriptions; and third, that contextualism fails to explain the persisting anomalousness of so-called “epistemic contradictions” in suppositional contexts. Contextualists have inadequately appreciated the force of these objections. Drawing on a more general (...)
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  • Open Questions and Epistemic Necessity.Brett Sherman - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (273):819-840.
    Why can I not appropriately utter ‘It must be raining’ while standing outside in the rain, even though every world consistent with my knowledge is one in which it is raining? The common response to this problem is to hold that epistemic must, in addition to quantifying over epistemic possibilities, carries some additional evidential information concerning the source of one'S evidence. I argue that this is a mistake: epistemic modals are mere quantifiers over epistemic possibilities. My central claim is that (...)
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  • Against the Russellian open future.Anders J. Schoubye & Brian Rabern - 2017 - Mind 126 (504): 1217–1237.
    Todd (2016) proposes an analysis of future-directed sentences, in particular sentences of the form 'will(φ)', that is based on the classic Russellian analysis of definite descriptions. Todd's analysis is supposed to vindicate the claim that the future is metaphysically open while retaining a simple Ockhamist semantics of future contingents and the principles of classical logic, i.e. bivalence and the law of excluded middle. Consequently, an open futurist can straightforwardly retain classical logic without appeal to supervaluations, determinacy operators, or any further (...)
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  • Assertion, Rejection, and Semantic Universals.Giorgio Sbardolini - 2021 - In Sujata Ghosh & Thomas Icard (eds.), Logic, Rationality, and Interaction: 8th International Workshop, Lori 2021, Xi’an, China, October 16–18, 2021, Proceedings. Springer Verlag. pp. 183-191.
    Natural language contains simple lexical items for some but not all Boolean operators. English, for example, contains conjunction and, disjunction or, negated disjunction nor, but no word to express negated conjunction *nand nor any other Boolean connective. Natural language grammar can be described by a logic that expresses what the lexicon can express by its primitives, and the rest compositionally. Such logic for propositional connectives is described here as a bilateral extension of update semantics. The basic intuition is that a (...)
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  • Uncertainty and Persistence: a Bayesian Update Semantics for Probabilistic Expressions.Deniz Rudin - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (3):365-405.
    This paper presents a general-purpose update semantics for expressions of subjective uncertainty in natural language. First, a set of desiderata are established for how expressions of subjective uncertainty should behave in dynamic, update-based semantic systems; then extant implementations of expressions of subjective uncertainty in such models are evaluated and found wanting; finally, a new update semantics is proposed. The desiderata at the heart of this paper center around the contention that expressions of subjective uncertainty express beliefs which are not persistent, (...)
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  • Three notions of dynamicness in language.Daniel Rothschild & Seth Yalcin - 2016 - Linguistics and Philosophy 39 (4):333-355.
    We distinguish three ways that a theory of linguistic meaning and communication might be considered dynamic in character. We provide some examples of systems which are dynamic in some of these senses but not others. We suggest that separating these notions can help to clarify what is at issue in particular debates about dynamic versus static approaches within natural language semantics and pragmatics.
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  • Expressing Credences.Daniel Rothschild - 2012 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (1pt1):99-114.
    After presenting a simple expressivist account of reports of probabilistic judgements, I explore a classic problem for it, namely the Frege-Geach problem. I argue that it is a problem not just for expressivism but for any reasonable account of ascriptions of graded judgements. I suggest that the problem can be resolved by appropriately modelling imprecise credences.
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  • Lewis Carroll’s regress and the presuppositional structure of arguments.Carlotta Pavese - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (1):1-38.
    This essay argues that the main lesson of Lewis Carroll's Regress is that arguments are constitutively presuppositional.
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  • What difference might and may make.Gerhard Nuffer - 2015 - Synthese 192 (2):405-429.
    How does your information change when you learn that something might be the case, where the modal “might” is epistemic? On the orthodox view, a proposition is added to your information base; on the view defended here, no propositions are added to your information base but some are removed from it. I argue that Stephen Yablo’s recent attempt to define this removal operation as a kind of propositional subtraction fails, offer a definition of my own in terms of the part–whole (...)
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  • Relational Semantics and Domain Semantics for Epistemic Modals.Dilip Ninan - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (1):1-16.
    The standard account of modal expressions in natural language analyzes them as quantifiers over a set of possible worlds determined by the evaluation world and an accessibility relation. A number of authors have recently argued for an alternative account according to which modals are analyzed as quantifying over a domain of possible worlds that is specified directly in the points of evaluation. But the new approach only handles the data motivating it if it is supplemented with a non-standard account of (...)
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  • Quantification and Epistemic Modality.Dilip Ninan - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (4):433-485.
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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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  • 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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  • Bounded Modality.Matthew Mandelkern - 2019 - Philosophical Review 128 (1):1-61.
    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 (...)
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  • Agentive Modals.Matthew Mandelkern, Ginger Schultheis & David Boylan - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (3):301-343.
    This essay proposes a new theory of agentive modals: ability modals and their duals, compulsion modals. After criticizing existing approaches—the existential quantificational analysis, the universal quantificational analysis, and the conditional analysis—it presents a new account that builds on both the existential and conditional analyses. On this account, the act conditional analysis, a sentence like ‘John can swim across the river’ says that there is some practically available action that is such that if John tries to do it, he swims across (...)
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  • Taking 'Might'‐Communication Seriously.Benjamin Lennertz - 2014 - Analytic Philosophy 55 (2):176-198.
    In this paper, I show that, given seemingly plausible assumptions about the epistemic ‘might’ and conditionals, we cannot explain why in some circumstances it is appropriate to utter conditional ‘might’-sentences, like “If Angelica has crumbs in her pocket, then she might be the thief” and not the corresponding simple ones, like “Angelica might be the thief.” So, one of our assumptions must be incorrect. I argue that the root of the problem is an umbrella thesis about the pragmatics of ‘might’-communication (...)
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  • Simple Contextualism about Epistemic Modals Is Incorrect.Benjamin Lennertz - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (4):252-262.
    I argue against a simple contextualist account of epistemic modals. My argument, like the argument on which it is based , charges that simple contextualism cannot explain all of the conversational data about uses of epistemic modals. My argument improves on its predecessor by insulating itself from recent contextualist attempts by Janice Dowell and Igor Yanovich to get around that argument. In particular, I use linguistic data to show that an utterance of an epistemic modal sentence can be warranted, while (...)
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  • Probabilistic Antecedents and Conditional Attitudes.Benjamin Lennertz - 2021 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (1):62-79.
    I generalize the notion of a conditional attitude by bringing together two topics of inquiry. One is the ordinary inquiry into conditional attitudes. The other topic is the inquiry into the attitude of thinking that a proposition is likely, or having a high credence in a proposition. For instance, what is it to intend to go to the game if it is likely that Kershaw pitches? Being likely that Kershaw pitches is the condition of the attitude. Given a natural position (...)
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  • Might-beliefs and asymmetric disagreement.Benjamin Lennertz - 2019 - Synthese 196 (11):4775-4805.
    What we can call asymmetric disagreement occurs when one agent is in disagreement with another, but not vice-versa. In this paper, I give an example of and develop a framework for understanding this phenomenon. One pivotal feature of my example is that one of the agents in the scenario has a belief about what might be the case—a might-belief. I show that a traditional account of might-beliefs and disagreement cannot explain the initially surprising phenomenon of asymmetric disagreement. In order to (...)
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  • Evaluating the multiple proposition strategy.Benjamin Lennertz - 2020 - Ratio 33 (3):163-172.
    Contextualism about many expressions faces a common objection: in some discourses it appears that there is no single interpretation which can explain how a speaker is justified in making her assertion and how a hearer with different information or standards is justified in negatively evaluating what the speaker said. According to the Multiple Proposition Strategy , contextualists may attempt to explain these competing features pragmatically in terms of different propositions in play. In this paper I argue against the Multiple Proposition (...)
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  • Interpreting plural predication: homogeneity and non-maximality.Manuel Križ & Benjamin Spector - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 44 (5):1131-1178.
    Plural definite descriptions across many languages display two well-known properties. First, they can give rise to so-called non-maximal readings, in the sense that they ‘allow for exceptions’. Second, while they tend to have a quasi-universal quantificational force in affirmative sentences, they tend to be interpreted existentially in the scope of negation. Building on previous works, we offer a theory in which sentences containing plural definite expressions trigger a family of possible interpretations, and where general principles of language use account for (...)
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  • Quasi Indexicals.Justin Khoo - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (1):26-53.
    I argue that not all context dependent expressions are alike. Pure (or ordinary) indexicals behave more or less as Kaplan thought. But quasi indexicals behave in some ways like indexicals and in other ways not like indexicals. A quasi indexical sentence φ allows for cases in which one party utters φ and the other its negation, and neither party’s claim has to be false. In this sense, quasi indexicals are like pure indexicals (think: “I am a doctor”/“I am not a (...)
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  • Modal Disagreements.Justin Khoo - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (5):511-534.
    It is often assumed that when one party felicitously rejects an assertion made by an- other party, the first party thinks that the proposition asserted by the second is false. This assumption underlies various disagreement arguments used to challenge contex- tualism about some class of expressions. As such, many contextualists have resisted these arguments on the grounds that the disagreements in question may not be over the proposition literally asserted. The result appears to be a dialectical stalemate, with no independent (...)
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  • Moral Disagreement and Moral Semantics.Justin Khoo & Joshua Knobe - 2016 - Noûs:109-143.
    When speakers utter conflicting moral sentences, it seems clear that they disagree. It has often been suggested that the fact that the speakers disagree gives us evidence for a claim about the semantics of the sentences they are uttering. Specifically, it has been suggested that the existence of the disagreement gives us reason to infer that there must be an incompatibility between the contents of these sentences. This inference then plays a key role in a now-standard argument against certain theories (...)
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  • Assertion, expression, experience.Christopher Kennedy & Malte Willer - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 65 (7):821-857.
    ABSTRACT It has been frequently observed in the literature that assertions of plain sentences containing predicates like fun and frightening give rise to an acquaintance inference: they imply that the speaker has first-hand knowledge of the item under consideration. The goal of this paper is to develop and defend a broadly expressivist explanation of this phenomenon: acquaintance inferences arise because plain sentences containing subjective predicates are designed to express distinguished kinds of attitudes that differ from beliefs in that they can (...)
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  • Weak Assertion.Luca Incurvati & Julian J. Schlöder - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (277):741-770.
    We present an inferentialist account of the epistemic modal operator might. Our starting point is the bilateralist programme. A bilateralist explains the operator not in terms of the speech act of rejection ; we explain the operator might in terms of weak assertion, a speech act whose existence we argue for on the basis of linguistic evidence. We show that our account of might provides a solution to certain well-known puzzles about the semantics of modal vocabulary whilst retaining classical logic. (...)
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  • An epistemic modal norm of practical reasoning.Tim Henning - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6665-6686.
    When are you in a position to rely on p in practical reasoning? Existing accounts say that you must know that p, or be in a position to know that p, or be justified in believing that p, or be in a position to justifiably believe it, and so on. This paper argues that all of these proposals face important problems, which I call the Problems of Negative Bootstrapping and of Level Confusions. I offer a diagnosis of these problems, and (...)
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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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  • Informational dynamics of epistemic possibility modals.Peter Hawke & Shane Steinert-Threlkeld - 2018 - Synthese 195 (10):4309-4342.
    We investigate, in a logical setting, the expressivist proposal that assertion primarily functions to express and coordinate doxastic states and that ‘might’ fundamentally expresses lack of belief. We provide a formal model of an agent’s doxastic state and novel assertability conditions for an associated formal language. We thereby prove that an arbitrary assertion always succeeds in expressing a well-defined doxastic state, and propose a fully general and intuitive update operation as a model of an agent coming to accept an arbitrary (...)
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  • Triviality Results For Probabilistic Modals.Goldstein Simon - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1):188-222.
    In recent years, a number of theorists have claimed that beliefs about probability are transparent. To believe probably p is simply to have a high credence that p. In this paper, I prove a variety of triviality results for theses like the above. I show that such claims are inconsistent with the thesis that probabilistic modal sentences have propositions or sets of worlds as their meaning. Then I consider the extent to which a dynamic semantics for probabilistic modals can capture (...)
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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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  • The semantic roots of positive polarity: epistemic modal verbs and adverbs in English, Greek and Italian.Anastasia Giannakidou & Alda Mari - 2018 - Linguistics and Philosophy 41 (6):623-664.
    Epistemic modal verbs and adverbs of necessity are claimed to be positive polarity items. We study their behavior by examining modal spread, a phenomenon that appears redundant or even anomalous, since it involves two apparent modal operators being interpreted as a single modality. We propose an analysis in which the modal adverb is an argument of the MUST modal, providing a meta-evaluation \ which ranks the Ideal, stereotypical worlds in the modal base as better possibilities than the Non-Ideal worlds in (...)
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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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  • What might but must not be.Stephen Finlay & Benjamin Lennertz - 2020 - Analysis 80 (4):647-656.
    We examine an objection to analysing the epistemic ‘might’ and ‘may’ as existential quantifiers over possibilities. Some claims that a proposition “might” be the case appear felicitous although, according to the quantifier analysis, they are necessarily false, since there are no possibilities in which the proposition is true. We explain such cases pragmatically, relying on the fact that ‘might’-sentences are standardly used to convey that the speaker takes a proposition as a serious option in reasoning. Our account explains why it (...)
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