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Deontic Modality$
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Nate Charlow and Matthew Chrisman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198717928

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717928.001.0001

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Contextualism about Deontic Conditionals

Contextualism about Deontic Conditionals

(p.117) 4 Contextualism about Deontic Conditionals
Deontic Modality

Aaron Bronfman

J. L. Dowell

Oxford University Press

Recently, some philosophers of language and linguists have argued that, while there are contextualist-friendly semantic theories of deontic modals that fit with the relativist’s challenge data, the best such theories are not Lewis-Kratzer-style semantic theories. If correct, this would be important: It would show that the theory that has for many years enjoyed the status of the default view of modals in English and other languages is in need of revision. Aaron Bronfman and Janice Dowell’s chapter aims to identify the contextualist’s most worthy competitor to relativism. It does so by showing how a Kratzer-style semantics is able to make available readings of the relevant utterances that fit with the pretheoretical judgments opponents purport it cannot fully capture. This chapter also considers and rejects more theoretical grounds proponents have offered for preferring their rival contextualist views.

Keywords:   modal, deontic modal, conditional, contextualism, information sensitivity, semantics, pragmatics

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