On the felicity conditions of epistemic modals
Daniel Goodhue
April 2017

In recent work (von Fintel & Gillies 2010, Matthewson 2015, Lassiter 2016), epistemic modals have been claimed to have felicity conditions that require the evidence for the prejacent to be indirect. In contrast, I argue that epistemic modals have felicity conditions that require the epistemic modal base not to entail or contradict the prejacent (cf. Giannakidou & Mari 2016). New linguistic data is produced in support of my position. The proposed account is shown to explain the new evidence better than accounts that rely on indirectness. Moreover, the proposed account is claimed to better explain the weakness or non-condence intuitions that arise from epistemic must utterances. In light of these findings, future prospects are explored. In particular, I suggest that this proposal paves the way for the felicity conditions of epistemic must to be derived as a conversational implicature. Furthermore, I demonstrate that a purported counterexample to the proposal, must statements in the conclusions of deductions, is a problem for indirectness accounts as well.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003023
(please use that when you cite this article)
keywords: epistemic modality, indirect, evidential, knowledge, presupposition, implicature, context dependency, semantics, pragmatics, semantics
previous versions: v1 [June 2016]
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