Synthese

pp 1–34

Informational dynamics of epistemic possibility modals

S.I.: LORI - V

Abstract

We investigate, in a logical setting, the expressivist proposal that assertion primarily functions to express and coordinate doxastic states and that ‘might’ fundamentally expresses lack of belief. We provide a formal model of an agent’s doxastic state and novel assertability conditions for an associated formal language. We thereby prove that an arbitrary assertion (including a complex of ‘might’ and ‘factual’ claims) always succeeds in expressing a well-defined (partial) doxastic state, and propose a fully general and intuitive update operation as a model of an agent coming to accept an arbitrary assertion. Leaving a comprehensive philosophical and linguistic defense for elsewhere, we explore technical aspects of our framework, providing, for instance, a complete logic of assertability and reduction axioms for the novel update operations related to our proposal. Finally, we contrast our work with related proposals in the logic literature.

Keywords

Epistemic modality Information dynamics Epistemic possibility Assertion Assertability logic Doxastic update 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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