Linguistics colloquium: Stewart Shapiro
The Ohio State University
Title: Epistemic Modals and Mathematics
Abstract: In philosophy and linguistics, there is a large literature on epistemc modals. At least in philosophy, the topic is often introduced with mathematical examples, in order to distinguish epistemic modals from other kinds of modality. Consider, for example, "the Goldbach conjecture might be true and it might be false". Despite the wide ranging controversy, most accounts invoke the notion of consistency. But this gives the wrong truth conditions to the mathematical examples. We thus confront the problem of logical omniscience which, surprisingly, has not been addressed with respect to epistemic modals. This is work in progress; we will elaborate the problem and discuss the direction a solution must take.