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Giorgio Sbardolini
University of Amsterdam
  1. Update Rules and Semantic Universals.Luca Incurvati & Giorgio Sbardolini - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-31.
    We discuss a well-known puzzle about the lexicalization of logical operators in natural language, in particular connectives and quantifiers. Of the many logically possible operators, only few appear in the lexicon of natural languages: the connectives in English, for example, are conjunction _and_, disjunction _or_, and negated disjunction _nor_; the lexical quantifiers are _all, some_ and _no_. The logically possible nand (negated conjunction) and Nall (negated universal) are not expressed by lexical entries in English, nor in any natural language. Moreover, (...)
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  2.  37
    On the Origin of Negation.Giorgio Sbardolini - 2022 - Erkenntnis.
    The ability to express negation in language may have been the result of an adaptive process. However, there are different accounts of adaptation in linguistics, and more than one of them may describe the case of negation. In this paper, I distinguish different versions of the claim that negation is adaptive and defend a proposal, based on recent work by Steinert-Threlkeld (2016) and Incurvati and Sbardolini (2021), on which negation is an indirect adaptation.
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  3. Aboutness Paradox.Giorgio Sbardolini - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (10):549-571.
    The present work outlines a logical and philosophical conception of propositions in relation to a group of puzzles that arise by quantifying over them: the Russell-Myhill paradox, the Prior-Kaplan paradox, and Prior's Theorem. I begin by motivating an interpretation of Russell-Myhill as depending on aboutness, which constrains the notion of propositional identity. I discuss two formalizations of of the paradox, showing that it does not depend on the syntax of propositional variables. I then extend to propositions a modal predicative response (...)
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  4.  18
    Epistemic Modality and Coordination Under Uncertainty.Giorgio Sbardolini - 2021 - Proceedings of TARK 355:295--306.
    Communication facilitates coordination, but coordination might fail if there's too much uncertainty. I discuss a scenario in which vagueness-driven uncertainty undermines the possibility of publicly sharing a belief. I then show that asserting an epistemic modal sentence, 'Might p', can reveal the speaker's uncertainty, and that this may improve the chances of coordination despite the lack of a common epistemic ground. This provides a game-theoretic rationale for epistemic modality. The account draws on a standard relational semantics for epistemic modality, Stalnaker's (...)
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  5.  38
    Assertion, Rejection, and Semantic Universals.Giorgio Sbardolini - 2021 - In Sujata Ghosh & Thomas Icard (eds.), Logic, Rationality, and Interaction: 8th International Workshop, Lori 2021, Xi’an, China, October 16–18, 2021, Proceedings. Springer Verlag. pp. 183-191.
    Natural language contains simple lexical items for some but not all Boolean operators. English, for example, contains conjunction and, disjunction or, negated disjunction nor, but no word to express negated conjunction *nand nor any other Boolean connective. Natural language grammar can be described by a logic that expresses what the lexicon can express by its primitives, and the rest compositionally. Such logic for propositional connectives is described here as a bilateral extension of update semantics. The basic intuition is that a (...)
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  6.  36
    Is Honesty Rational?Giorgio Sbardolini - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (4):979-1001.
    According to the Maxim of Quality, rational agents tend to speak honestly. Due to the influence of Grice, a connection between linguistic rationality and honesty is often taken for granted. However, the connection is not obvious: structural rationality in language use does not require honesty, any more than it requires dishonesty. In particular, Quality does not follow from the Cooperative Principle and structural rationality. But then what is honest rational speech? I propose to move the discussion in the context of (...)
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  7.  81
    The Evolution of Denial.Luca Incurvati & Giorgio Sbardolini - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
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  8. Why `Might'?Giorgio Sbardolini - manuscript
    Why do we use epistemic modals like 'might'? According to Factualism, the function of 'might' is to exchange information about state-of-affairs in the modal universe. As an alternative to Factualism, this paper offers a game-theoretic rationale for epistemic possibility operators in a Bayesian setting. The background picture is one whereby communication facilitates coordination, but coordination could fail if there's too much uncertainty, since the players' ability to share a belief is undermined. However, 'might' and related expressions can be used to (...)
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  9. On Hierarchical Propositions.Giorgio Sbardolini - 2020 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 49 (1):1-11.
    There is an apparent dilemma for hierarchical accounts of propositions, raised by Bruno Whittle : either such accounts do not offer adequate treatment of connectives and quantifiers, or they eviscerate the logic. I discuss what a plausible hierarchical conception of propositions might amount to, and show that on that conception, Whittle’s dilemma is not compelling. Thus, there are good reasons why proponents of hierarchical accounts of propositions did not see the difficulty Whittle raises.
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