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Profile: Fabrizio Cariani (Northwestern University)
  1. Assertion and Modality.Fabrizio Cariani - forthcoming - In Sanford Goldberg (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Assertion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This essay is an opinionated exploration of the constraints that modal discourse imposes on the theory of assertion. Primary focus is on the question whether modal discourse challenges the traditional view that all assertions have propositional content. This question is tackled largely with reference to discourse involving epistemic modals, although connections with other flavors of modality are noted along the way.
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  2. Conditional Heresies.Fabrizio Cariani & Simon Goldstein - manuscript
    The principles of Conditional Excluded Middle (CEM) and Simplification of Disjunctive Antecedents (SDA) have received substantial attention in isolation. Both principles are plausible generalizations about natural language conditionals. There is however little or no discussion of their inter- action. This paper aims to remedy this gap and explore the significance of having both principles constrain the logic of the conditional. Our negative finding is that, together with elementary logical assumptions, CEM and SDA yield a variety of implausible consequences. Despite these (...)
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    Confidence Reports.Fabrizio Cariani, Paolo Santorio & Alexis Wellwood - manuscript
    We advocate and develop a states-based semantics for both nominal and adjectival confidence reports, as in "Ann is confident/has confidence that it's raining", and their comparatives "Ann is more confident/has more confidence that it's raining than that it's snowing". Other examples of adjectives that can report confidence include "sure" and "certain". Our account adapts Wellwood's account of adjectival comparatives in which the adjectives denote properties of states, and measure functions are introduced compositionally. We further explore the prospects of applying these (...)
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  4. A Context Principle for the Twenty-First Century.Fabrizio Cariani - manuscript
    This is an article for an upcoming volume of essays in honor and memory of Eva Picardi. I engage with the literature that has tried to distill the significance of Frege's context principle for the philosophy of language (setting aside its role in Frege's argument for mathematical platonism). I argue that there are some interpretive problems with recent meta-semantic interpretations of the principle. Instead, I offer a somewhat weaker alternative: the context principle is a tool to license certain definitions. Moreover, (...)
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  5. 'Ought' and Resolution Semantics.Fabrizio Cariani - 2013 - Noûs 47 (3):534-558.
    I motivate and characterize an intensional semantics for ‘ought’ on which it does not behave as a universal quantifier over possibilities. My motivational argument centers on taking at face value some standard challenges to the quantificational semantics, especially to the idea that ‘ought’-sentences satisfy the principle of Inheritance. I argue that standard pragmatic approaches to these puzzles are either not sufficiently detailed or unconvincing.
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  6. Will Done Better: Selection Semantics, Future Credence, and Indeterminacy.Fabrizio Cariani & Paolo Santorio - 2018 - Mind 127 (505):129-165.
    Statements about the future are central in everyday conversation and reasoning. How should we understand their meaning? The received view among philosophers treats will as a tense: in ‘Cynthia will pass her exam’, will shifts the reference time forward. Linguists, however, have produced substantial evidence for the view that will is a modal, on a par with must and would. The different accounts are designed to satisfy different theoretical constraints, apparently pulling in opposite directions. We show that these constraints are (...)
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  7. Consequence and Contrast in Deontic Semantics.Fabrizio Cariani - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy 113 (8):396-416.
    Contrastivists view ought-sentences as expressing comparisons among alternatives. Deontic actualists believe that the value of each alternative in such a comparison is determined by what would actually happen if that alternative were to be the case. One of the arguments that motivates actualism is a challenge to the principle of agglomeration over conjunction—the principle according to which if you ought to run and you ought to jump, then you ought to run and jump. I argue that there is no way (...)
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  8. Deontic Modals and Probability: One Theory to Rule Them All?Fabrizio Cariani - forthcoming - In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    This paper motivates and develops a novel semantic framework for deontic modals. The framework is designed to shed light on two things: the relationship between deontic modals and substantive theories of practical rationality and the interaction of deontic modals with conditionals, epistemic modals and probability operators. I argue that, in order to model inferential connections between deontic modals and probability operators, we need more structure than is provided by classical intensional theories. In particular, we need probabilistic structure that interacts directly (...)
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  9. Chance, Credence and Circles.Fabrizio Cariani - 2017 - Episteme 14 (1):49-58.
    This is a discussion of Richard Pettigrew's book "Accuracy and the Laws of Credence". I target Pettigrew's application of the accuracy framework to derive chance-credence principles. My principal contention is that Pettigrew's preferred version of the argument might in one sense be circular and, moreover, that Pettigrew's premises have content that go beyond that of standard chance-credence principles.
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  10. Experimenting with (Conditional) Perfection.Fabrizio Cariani & Lance J. Rips - manuscript
    We present and discuss a series of experiments designed to test one of the most promising pragmatic accounts of conditional perfection—the phenomenon according to which conditionals can sometimes be strengthened to biconditionals. We test the idea that conditional perfection is a form of exhaustification triggered by the kind of question that the conditional is used to answer. We uncover evidence that conditional perfection is a form of exhaustification, but not that it is triggered by a relationship to a salient question.
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  11. Choice Points for a Modal Theory of Disjunction.Fabrizio Cariani - 2017 - Topoi 36 (1):171-181.
    This paper investigates the prospects for a semantic theory that treats disjunction as a modal operator. Potential motivation for such a theory comes from the way in which modals embed within disjunctions. After reviewing some of the relevant data, I go on to distinguish a variety of modal theories of disjunction. I analyze these theories by considering pairs of conflicting desiderata, highlighting some of the tradeoffs they must face.
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  12. Conditionals, Context, and the Suppression Effect.Fabrizio Cariani & Lance J. Rips - 2017 - Cognitive Science 41 (3):540-589.
    Modus ponens is the argument from premises of the form If A, then B and A to the conclusion B. Nearly all participants agree that the modus ponens conclusion logically follows when the argument appears in this Basic form. However, adding a further premise can lower participants’ rate of agreement—an effect called suppression. We propose a theory of suppression that draws on contemporary ideas about conditional sentences in linguistics and philosophy. Semantically, the theory assumes that people interpret an indicative conditional (...)
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  13. Epistemic and Deontic Should.Fabrizio Cariani - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):73-84.
    Probabilistic theories of “should” and “ought” face a predicament. At first blush, it seems that such theories must provide different lexical entries for the epistemic and the deontic interpretations of these modals. I show that there is a new style of premise semantics that can avoid this consequence in an attractively conservative way.
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  14. Local Supermajorities.Fabrizio Cariani - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (2):391-406.
    This paper explores two non-standard supermajority rules in the context of judgment aggregation over multiple logically connected issues. These rules set the supermajority threshold in a local, context sensitive way—partly as a function of the input profile of opinions. To motivate the interest of these rules, I prove two results. First, I characterize each rule in terms of a condition I call ‘Block Preservation’. Block preservation says that if a majority of group members accept a judgment set, then so should (...)
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  15. Aggregating with Reason.Fabrizio Cariani - 2013 - Synthese 190 (15):3123-3147.
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