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Dilip Ninan
Tufts University
  1. Semantics and the objects of assertion.Dilip Ninan - 2010 - Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (5):355-380.
    This paper is about the relationship between two questions: the question of what the objects of assertion are and the question of how best to theorise about ‘shifty’ phenomena like modality and tense. I argue that the relationship between these two questions is less direct than is often supposed. I then explore the consequences of this for a number of debates in the philosophy of language.
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  2. Assertion, Evidence, and the Future.Dilip Ninan - 2022 - Philosophical Review 131 (4):405-451.
    This essay uses a puzzle about assertion and time to explore the pragmatics, semantics, and epistemology of future discourse. The puzzle concerns cases in which a subject is in a position to say, at an initial time t, that it will be that ϕ, but is not in a position to say, at a later time t′, that it is or was that ϕ, despite not losing or gaining any relevant evidence between t and t′. We consider a number of (...)
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  3. De se attitudes: Ascription and communication.Dilip Ninan - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (7):551-567.
    This paper concerns two points of intersection between de se attitudes and the study of natural language: attitude ascription and communication. I first survey some recent work on the semantics of de se attitude ascriptions, with particular attention to ascriptions that are true only if the subject of the ascription has the appropriate de se attitude. I then examine – and attempt to solve – some problems concerning the role of de se attitudes in linguistic communication.
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  4. What is the Problem of De Se Attitudes?Dilip Ninan - 2016 - In Stephan Torre & Manuel Garcia-Carpintero (eds.), About Oneself: De Se Thought and Communication. Oxford University Press.
    I argue that de se attitudes pose a special problem for philosophical theories of attitudes. Attitude contents are supposed to play a role in characterizing agreement and are also supposed to play a role in the explanation of action. De se attitudes reveal that no single type of object can play both roles.
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  5. Quantification and Epistemic Modality.Dilip Ninan - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (4):433-485.
    This essay introduces a puzzle about the interaction between quantifiers and epistemic modals. The puzzle motivates the idea that whether an object satisfies an epistemically modalized predicate depends on the mode of presentation of the domain of quantification. I compare two ways of implementing this idea, one using counterpart theory, the other using Aloni's 'conceptual covers' theory, and then provides some evidence in favor of the former.
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  6. An Expressivist Theory of Taste Predicates.Dilip Ninan - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    Simple taste predications come with an `acquaintance requirement': they require the speaker to have had a certain kind of first-hand experience with the object of predication. For example, if I tell you that the crème caramel is delicious, you would ordinarily assume that I have actually tasted the crème caramel and am not simply relying on the testimony of others. The present essay argues in favor of a lightweight expressivist account of the acquaintance requirement. This account consists of a recursive (...)
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  7. Counterfactual Attitudes and Multi-Centered Worlds.Dilip Ninan - 2012 - Semantics and Pragmatics 5 (5):1-57.
    Counterfactual attitudes like imagining, dreaming, and wishing create a problem for the standard formal semantic theory of de re attitude ascriptions. I show how the problem can be avoided if we represent an agent's attitudinal possibilities using "multi-centered worlds", possible worlds with multiple distinguished individuals, each of which represents an individual with whom the agent is acquainted. I then present a compositional semantics for de re ascriptions according to which singular terms are "assignment-sensitive" expressions and attitude verbs are "assignment shifters".
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  8. 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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  9. Imagination and the Self.Dilip Ninan - 2016 - In Amy Kind (ed.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Imagination. Routledge.
    This essay surveys some of the literature on "imagining oneself to be another," and offers a theory of the content of such imaginings.
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  10. Self‐Location and Other‐Location.Dilip Ninan - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):301-331.
    According to one tradition in the philosophy of language and mind, the content of a psychological attitude can be characterized by a set of possibilities. On the classic version of this account, advocated by Hintikka (1962) and Stalnaker (1984) among others, the possibilities in question are possible worlds, ways the universe might be. Lewis (1979, 1983a) proposed an alternative to this account, according to which the possibilities in question are possible individuals or centered worlds, ways an individual might be. The (...)
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  11. Two puzzles about deontic necessity.Dilip Ninan - 2005 - In J. Gajewski, V. Hacquard, B. Nickel & S. Yalcin (eds.), New Work on Modality, MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.
    The deontic modal must has two surprising properties: an assertion of must p does not permit a denial of p, and must does not take past tense complements. I first consider an explanation of these phenomena that stays within Angelika Kratzer’s semantic framework for modals, and then offer some reasons for rejecting that explanation. I then propose an alternative account, according to which simple must sentences have the force of an imperative.
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  12. Persistence and the First-Person Perspective.Dilip Ninan - 2009 - Philosophical Review 118 (4):425-464.
    When one considers one's own persistence over time from the first-person perspective, it seems as if facts about one's persistence are "further facts," over and above facts about physical and psychological continuity. But the idea that facts about one's persistence are further facts is objectionable on independent theoretical grounds: it conflicts with physicalism and requires us to posit hidden facts about our persistence. This essay shows how to resolve this conflict using the idea that imagining from the first-person point of (...)
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  13. Propositions, semantic values, and rigidity.Dilip Ninan - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (3):401-413.
    Jeffrey King has recently argued: (i) that the semantic value of a sentence at a context is (or determines) a function from possible worlds to truth values, and (ii) that this undermines Jason Stanley's argument against the rigidity thesis, the claim that no rigid term has the same content as a non-rigid term. I show that King's main argument for (i) fails, and that Stanley's argument is consistent with the claim that the semantic value of a sentence at a context (...)
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  14. Naming and epistemic necessity.Dilip Ninan - 2019 - Noûs 55 (2):334-362.
    Kripke (1980) hypothesizes a link between rigidity and scope: a singular term is rigid over a space S of possibilities just in case it is scopeless with respect to modals that quantify over S. Kripke’s hypothesis works well when we consider the interaction of singular terms with metaphysical modals, but runs into trouble when we consider the interaction of singular terms with epistemic modals. After describing the trouble in detail, and considering one non-solution to it, I develop a novel version (...)
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  15. On Recanati’s Mental Files.Dilip Ninan - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (4):368-377.
    In his book Mental Files , Francois Recanati develops a theory of mind and language based on the idea that Fregean senses should be identified with ‘mental files’, mental representations whose primary function is to store information about objects. I discuss three aspects of Recanati’s book. The first concerns his use of acquaintance relations in individuating mental files, and what this means for ‘file dynamics’. The second concerns his comments on a theory that I have elsewhere advocated, the ‘sequenced worlds’ (...)
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  16.  90
    The Projection Problem for Predicates of Taste.Dilip Ninan - 2020 - Semantics and Linguistic Theory 30:753-778.
    Utterances of simple sentences containing taste predicates (e.g. "delicious", "fun", "frightening") typically imply that the speaker has had a particular sort of first-hand experience with the object of predication. For example, an utterance of "The carrot cake is delicious" would typically imply that the speaker had actually tasted the cake in question, and is not, for example, merely basing her judgment on the testimony of others. According to one approach, this acquaintance inference is essentially an implicature, one generated by the (...)
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  17. Williams on the self and the future.Dilip Ninan - 2022 - Analytic Philosophy 63 (3):147-155.
    Williams's famous thought experiment in "The Self and the Future" supports the Simple View of personal identity over time.
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  18.  82
    Taste Predicates and the Acquaintance Inference.Dilip Ninan - 2014 - Semantics and Linguistic Theory 24:290-309.
    Simple sentences containing predicates like "tasty" and "beautiful" typically suggest that the speaker has first-hand knowledge of the item being evaluated. I consider two explanations of this acquaintance inference: a presuppositional approach and a pragmatic-epistemic approach. The presuppositional approach has a number of virtues, but runs into trouble because the acquaintance inference has a very different projection pattern from that of standard presuppositions. The pragmatic-epistemic approach accounts for the main data discussed in the paper, but faces challenges of its own.
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  19. Aboutness and Justification.Dilip Ninan - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3):731-737.
    A discussion of Imogen Dickie's book "Fixing Reference.".
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  20. Relativism and Two Kinds of Branching Time.Dilip Ninan - 2023 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 104 (2):465-492.
    This essay examines the case for relativism about future contingents in light of a distinction between two ways of interpreting the ‘branching time’ framework. Focussing on MacFarlane (2014), we break the argument for relativism down into two steps. The first step is an argument for something MacFarlane calls the "Non-Determination Thesis", which is essentially the view that there is no unique actual future. The second step is an argument from the Non-Determination Thesis to relativism. I first argue that first step (...)
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  21.  75
    Names in Fiction.Dilip Ninan - 2017 - Theoretical Linguistics 43 (1-2):61-70.
    Discussion of Emar Maier's essay “Fictional Names in Psychologistic Semantics.”.
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  22. Assessment Sensitivity: Relative Truth and Its Applications.Dilip Ninan - 2016 - Philosophical Review 125 (3):439-447.
    Review of John MacFarlane's book, "Assessment Sensitivity: Relative Truth and Its Applications".
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  23. De Se Attitudes and Action.Dilip Ninan - 2021 - In Stephen Biggs & Heimir Geirsson (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Linguistic Reference. Routledge.
    This essay offers a proposal for how to understand the idea that there is a special connection between de se attitudes and the explanation of action.
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  24.  96
    Knowing, Believing, and Acting as if You Know.Dilip Ninan - 2021 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 44.
    Commentary on Philips et. al. "Knowledge Before Belief".
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