Working Group

The Linguistics and Philosophy Working Group will meet periodically through the Winter 2015 term in preparation for the Spring Colloquium March 13th-14th. A regular schedule will be posted soon.

Upcoming meetings:

Friday, February 13th, 1pm - 3pm -- Fabrizio Cariani, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University, will give a talk entitled "Predictions and Modality"

Abstract: Several well-known empirical arguments suggest that "will" is a modal---both in its non-predictive uses ("Joe will be home by now'') and in its predictive ones ("Joe will win the lottery''). This view, which is rather common among linguists, is rarely encountered among philosophers. Philosophers have instead converged on views that either ascribe no modal force to predictive sentences or on views, like supervaluationism, according to which predictive sentences have a modal force that does not come from any specific lexical item.

This talk explores how a modal analysis might be developed to solve some of the problems philosophers have found with it. In particular, I focus on a puzzle from Thomason involving the interaction between 'will' and disjunction that the linguists have largely overlooked. I compare three ways of developing a modal analysis of 'will' that is capable of solving this puzzle.

In the background are recent observations by Schroeder, Rothschild and Klinedinst, and Moss to the effect that the interaction between epistemic modals and disjunction is subtle and not obviously truth-functional.