umass-handout - Epistemic Modals and Conditionals Revisited...

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Unformatted text preview: Epistemic Modals and Conditionals Revisited Kai von Fintel Massachusetts Institute of Technology UMass Linguistics Colloquium, December 12, 2003 Epistemic Modals and Conditionals Outline Outline of this Talk What I Learned in Grad School Complaints An Expressive Analysis of Epistemic Modals and Conditionals? Objectivity in Epistemic Meanings Kai von Fintel Epistemic Modals and Conditionals Epistemic Modals and Conditionals What I Learned in Grad School Outline Outline of Part 1 What I Learned in Grad School A Possible Worlds Semantics for Indicative Conditionals Gibbards Problem The Epistemic Conditional Analysis Complaints An Expressive Analysis of Epistemic Modals and Conditionals? Objectivity in Epistemic Meanings Kai von Fintel Epistemic Modals and Conditionals Epistemic Modals and Conditionals What I Learned in Grad School A Possible Worlds Semantics for Indicative Conditionals A Possible Worlds Semantics for Indicative Conditionals (1) If Kai is here, he left Cambridge on time. (2) Among the worlds where Kai is here, the ones that are most similar to the actual world are ones where he left Cambridge on time. Kai von Fintel Epistemic Modals and Conditionals Epistemic Modals and Conditionals What I Learned in Grad School Gibbards Problem Gibbards Problem (` a la Edgington) M, at a peep-hole, is spying on three hit-men, Tom, Dick and Harry, and their boss. M hopes to discover who will receive the order to kill. M sees Tom leave the room. He then hears the boss give the order. M thinks (and could easily assert) (3) If he didnt tell Harry, he told Dick (not Tom) Another spy, N, at a different peep-hole with a different view, saw Dick leave the room by a different door. He too heard the boss give the order. N thinks (and could easily assert) (4) If he didnt tell Harry, he told Tom (not Dick) Kai von Fintel Epistemic Modals and Conditionals Epistemic Modals and Conditionals What I Learned in Grad School The Epistemic Conditional Analysis Kratzers Response Angelika Kratzer: 1986, Conditionals, CLS . If epistemic interpretations of modals are relativized to the evidence available in the utterance situation, different utterances of one and the same sentence involving such a modal might express different propositions. Let us look at an example: Kai von Fintel Epistemic Modals and Conditionals Epistemic Modals and Conditionals What I Learned in Grad School The Epistemic Conditional Analysis Kratzers Response Suppose a man is approaching both of us. You are standing over there. I am further away. I can only see the bare outlines of the man, in view of my evidence, the person approaching may be Fred. You know better. In view of your evidence, it cannot possibly be Fred, it must be Martin. If this is so, my utterance of (5) and your utterance of (6) are both true....
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This note was uploaded on 08/01/2008 for the course PHIL 290 taught by Professor Fitelson during the Fall '06 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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umass-handout - Epistemic Modals and Conditionals Revisited...

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