Institut Jean Nicod

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Dilip Ninan (Tufts University)

Vendredi 24 mars 2016 de 11h30 à 13h

Institut Nicod, ENS, 29, rue d'Ulm 75005 Paris. Salle de réunion, RDC.

Dilip Ninan (Tufts University)

"Quantification and Epistemic Modality"

I present a novel puzzle concerning the interaction of epistemic modals, singular terms, and quantifiers. The puzzle poses various problems for standard "relational" and "dynamic" semantic theories of epistemic modals. The trouble arises from the fact that neither theory takes into account a feature of the phenomena that the puzzle reveals, namely that being possibly thus-and-so (in the epistemic sense of "possibly") is not a trait that an object has independently of how it is thought of, but, rather, a trait that an object has only relative to a "way of thinking" of it (cf. Quine "Reference and Modality"). I then consider how this insight might be implemented by both relational and dynamic semantic theories.