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Deontic Modality$
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Nate Charlow and Matthew Chrisman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198717928

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717928.001.0001

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Dynamic Expressivism about Deontic Modality

Dynamic Expressivism about Deontic Modality

Chapter:
(p.355) 12 Dynamic Expressivism about Deontic Modality
Source:
Deontic Modality
Author(s):

William B. Starr

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717928.003.0013

William Starr’s chapter explores a dynamic semantics for deontic “must” and “may” which is “expressivist.” The aim of the chapter is to show that the difficulties for such a semantic analysis stem largely from assumptions in truth-conditional semantics that can be relaxed. The key is to adopt a logic of actions, rather than contents, one which surprisingly yields truth-conditional semantics as a special case. Perhaps the most important feature of the analysis is that “Zoyd must share” and “It’s not the case that Zoyd must share” produce entirely different kinds of effects on what’s taken for granted when they are communicated – unlike “Zoyd shared” and “It’s not the case that Zoyd shared” which both convey information. This is motivated by a general discussion of expressivism, where it is argued that the expressivist must offer a positive account of expressive communication that differs from descriptive communication.

Keywords:   dynamic semantics, expressivism, deontic modality, communication, preference

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