Modal Knowledge for Expressivists

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What does 'Smith knows it might rain' mean? Expressivism here faces a challenge, as its basic forms entail a pernicious type of transparency, whereby 'Smith knows it might rain' is equivalent to 'it is consistent with what Smith's knows that it will rain' or 'Smith doesn't know that it won't rain'. Pernicious transparency has direct counterexamples and undermines vanilla principles such as that knowledge entails true belief and that something can be true without one knowing it might be. I re-frame the challenge in precise terms and propose a novel expressivist formal semantics that meets it by exploiting (i) the topic-sensitivity and fragmentation of knowledge and belief states and (ii) the apparent context-sensitivity of epistemic modality. The resulting assertibility semantics advances the state of the art for state-based bilateral semantics by combining attitude reports with context-sensitive modal claims, while evading various objectionable features.
Period20 Feb 2023
Held atDepartment of Philosophy