Chapter

How Not to Theorize about the Language of Subjective Uncertainty

Eric Swanson

in Epistemic Modality

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199591596
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729027 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199591596.003.0009
How Not to Theorize about the Language of Subjective Uncertainty

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This chapter argues that the following four desiderata must not be neglected when we theorize about the language of subjective uncertainty. Firstly, we must successfully explain the effects this language can have on addressees' subjective uncertainty. Secondly, we must successfully explain the effects this language can have on (what this chapter calls) conversational uncertainty. Thirdly, we must explain the ‘third grade of modal involvement’ exhibited by epistemic modals and by epistemic adjectives. Finally, we must explain the norms governing the language of subjective uncertainty, and explain the differences between them and the norms governing the language of subjective certainty. Taken together, these constraints suggest that neither truth conditional nor traditional force modifier theories of the language of subjective uncertainty will be adequate.

Keywords: epistemic modals; subjective uncertainty; force modifier; truth-conditions

Chapter.  10537 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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