Flexible Contextualism about Deontic Modals: A Puzzle about Information-Sensitivity

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (2-3):149-178 (2013)
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According to a recent challenge to Kratzer's canonical contextualist semantics for deontic modal expressions, no contextualist view can make sense of cases in which such a modal must be information-sensitive in some way. Here I show how Kratzer's semantics is compatible with readings of the targeted sentences that fit with the data. I then outline a general account of how contexts select parameter values for modal expressions and show, in terms of that account, how the needed, contextualist-friendly readings might plausibly get selected in the challenge cases.

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Janice Dowell
Syracuse University


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