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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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Modalities of Normality

Modalities of Normality

Chapter:
(p.230) 8 Modalities of Normality
Source:
Deontic Modality
Author(s):

Seth Yalcin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717928.003.0009

One path into the semantics of the deontic modals ought and should approaches them indirectly, by starting with an investigation of the non-deontic, seemingly epistemic reading of these modals. Seth Yalcin’s chapter embarks down that path. It has two main objectives. First, a case is made against the idea that ought and should are susceptible to true epistemic readings. These modals admit of a certain reading distinct from, but easily confused with, the epistemic flavor of modality. It is suggested that this “pseudo-epistemic” reading suffices to explain the data that have prompted theorists to suppose that there is a true epistemic reading of these modals. The second objective of this chapter is to explore the nature of the pseudo-epistemic reading, including its relation to normality and the connections between these modals and default reasoning.

Keywords:   deontic modal, epistemic modal, modality, default logic, default inference, probability, natural language semantics

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