‘Must’ implies ‘can’

Mind and Language 37 (2022)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
An open question in the semantics of modality is what relations there are among different modal flavours. In this article, we consider the thorny issue of whether ascribing to an agent the obligation to φ implies that it is possible for the agent to φ. Traditionally, this issue has been interpreted as whether ‘ought’ implies ‘can’. But another linguistic interpretation is available as well, namely, whether ‘must’ implies ‘can’ (MIC). We show that ‘must’ does imply ‘can’ via a convergent argument. The first strand of the argument is theoretical: it consists in proving MIC from a well-established theory of modality in natural language, i.e., that proposed by Kratzer. The second strand is empirical: we present novel acceptability judgment studies showing that MIC predicts and explains the linguistic behaviour of native English speakers.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
KURMIC
Upload history
First archival date: 2022-01-06
Latest version: 2 (2022-05-15)
View other versions
Added to PP
2022-01-06

Downloads
118 (#49,875)

6 months
41 (#20,428)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?