Philosophical Studies

, Volume 172, Issue 4, pp 987–1011 | Cite as

Epistemic modals and credal disagreement



Considerations involving disagreement, as well as related considerations involving correction and retraction, have played an important role in recent debates about epistemic modals. For instance, it has been argued that contextualist views about epistemic modals have problems when it comes to explaining cases of disagreement. In response to these challenges, I explore the idea that the relevant cases of disagreement may involve credal disagreement. In a case of credal disagreement, the parties have different degrees of belief or credences. There does not have to be a difference in outright beliefs in order for the parties to disagree. I argue that the idea of credal disagreement allows us to make sense of otherwise problematic cases of disagreement involving epistemic modals. I also discuss how these ideas can be extended to cases of correction and retraction.


Context-dependence Contextualism Disagreement  Epistemic modals 



Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the Arché Contextualism and Relativism Seminar (University of St Andrews, March 2009) and the Arché Language, Context, and Truth Seminar (University of St Andrews, July 2010). While the paper has changed substantially since then, I am still grateful to audiences on those occasions for useful comments and criticisms. I would also like to thank Derek Ball, Herman Cappelen, Josh Dever, Jon Litland, Ofra Magidor, Dilip Ninan, Jonathan Schaffer, Anders Schoubye, Andreas Stokke, Brian Weatherson, and an anonymous referee for helpful discussion and comments.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and IdeasUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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