Clearing a Path for Conventionalist Modal Semantics - Understanding 'necessarily' without possible worlds or Platonic properties
by Butler, Jesse
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In the context of modal semantics, I show that a 'conventionalist analytic-deflationary' position is live option. According to this view, sentences of the form 'Necessarily, S' (for a sentence S) are understood to be true if and only if it is analytic that S. (There are some qualifications for sentences in which demonstratives, indexicals and the term 'actually' appear.) Rather than defending the view outright, I take the preliminary step of assessing the position in order to determine its viability. I first sketch the outline of a generic semantical system in which the conventionalist thesis can be formulated. Second, I show that this system can be used to evaluate, and deliver the right results for, both de dicto and de re sentences without succumbing to circularity; and that it can provide a univocal treatment quantification in both modal and non-modal contexts. I show how this semantic treatment of 'necessarily' can be integrated into a Davidsonian compositional meaning theory.
Jesse Butler is a graduate of Brown University (1995 AB Mathematics), the University of Tennessee (2001 MS Computer Science) and the University of Florida (2009 PhD Philosophy). His current research interests include formal language treatments of meaning and the development of a first order language which includes an "analyticity" operator.
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LAP Lambert Academic Publishing
07 January 2010
0.22 x 0.15 x 0.014 m; 0.422 kg