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The Australian National University

Andy Egan (Rutgers): "What I Probably Should Have Said About Epistemic Modals"

Date and time

Thu, 03/08/2017 - 15:30 - 17:30


Coombs Seminar Room A

I argued in [REFs] for a de se relativist account of epistemic modals, primarily based on arguments from eavesdropper’s assessments of the truth-values of epistemic modal claims taking place in the conversations they’re eavesdropping on. While I still believe that the view I advocated there is approximately correct, there are various errors of substance and presentation in those papers that I now regret. My main goal in this paper is to state a better version of the same sort of de se relativist view, state it more clearly, and make a better argument for it. Under this heading, I will aim to (a) make clear that, and how, my preferred sort of relativist view is Kratzer-continuous, in a sense to be explained below, (b) make clear(er) the role of the different moving parts of the view, including the commitments about the theoretical role of semantic content, and (c) offer a better version of the sort of eavesdropping argument I made in [REFs]. My second goal is to make explicit the points at which this sort of de se relativist view differs from the sort of relativism John MacFarlane (REFS) advocates, and identify what I take to be the central selling points of a de se relativist view of epistemic modals over MacFarlanian relativism.

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