Generics and Weak Necessity

Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
A prevailing thought is that generics have a covert modal operator at logical form. I claim that if this is right, the covert generic modality is a weak necessity modal. In this paper, I provide evidence for this claim and I sketch a theory. In particular, I will show that there are some important distributional parallels between generics and sentences with overt weak necessity modals: both sorts of sentences share behavior in nonmonotonic reasoning environments and also lack genuine epistemic readings. Acknowledging these parallels and the connection here is in the service of both our understanding of genericity and of weak necessity. Finally, I propose an understanding of generics as involving a covert weak necessity modal and argue that this is a promising path to pursue in relation to different issues related to the interpretation of generics.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Revision history
First archival date: 2018-02-05
Latest version: 2 (2018-02-28)
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
Generics in Context.Sterken, Rachel Katharine

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index

Total downloads
102 ( #19,960 of 35,884 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
31 ( #10,825 of 35,884 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.