•  35
    The literature on indicative conditionals contains two appealing views. The first is the selectional view: on this view, conditionals operate by selecting a single possibility, which is used to evaluate the consequent. The second is the informational view: on this view, conditionals don't express propositions, but rather impose constraints on information states of speakers. Both views are supported by strong arguments, but they are incompatible on their standard formulations. Hence it appears th…Read more
  •  102
    On an influential line of thinking tracing back to Ramsey, conditionals are closely linked to the attitude of supposition. When applied to counterfactuals, this view suggests a subjunctive version of the so-called Ramsey test: the probability of a counterfactual "If A, would B" ought to be equivalent to the probability of B, under the subjunctive supposition that A. I present a collapse result for any view that endorses the subjunctive version of the Ramsey test. Starting from plausible assumpti…Read more
  •  73
    Nonfactual Know-How and the Boundaries of Semantics
    Philosophical Review 125 (1): 35-82. 2016.
    Know-how and expressivism are usually regarded as disjoint topics, belonging to distant areas of philosophy. This paper argues that, despite obvious differences, the two debates have important similarities. In particular, semantic and conceptual tools developed by expressivists can be exported to the know-how debate. On the one hand, some of the expressivists' semantic resources can be used to deflect Stanley and Williamson's influential argument for factualism about know-how: the claim that kno…Read more
  •  84
    Communication for Expressivists
    Ethics 126 (3): 607-635. 2016.
    How can expressivists make sense of the practice of communication? If communication is not a joint enterprise aimed at sharing information about the world, why do we engage in communication the way we do? Call this *the problem of communication*. Starting from basic assumptions about the rationality of speakers and the nature of assertion, we argue that speakers engaging in conversation about normative matters must presuppose that there is a unique normative standard on which the attitudes of co…Read more
  •  212
    Probability for Epistemic Modalities
    Philosophers' Imprint. forthcoming.
    This paper develops an information sensitive theory of the semantics and probability of conditionals and statements involving epistemic modals. The theory validates a number of principles linking probability and modality, including the principle that the probability of a conditional 'If A, then C' equals the probability of C, updated with A. The theory avoids so-called triviality results, which are standardly taken to show that principles of this sort cannot be validated. To achieve this, we den…Read more
  •  67
    Context-Free Semantics
    In Ernie LePore & David Sosa (eds.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Language, Volume 1, Oxford University Press. pp. 208-239. 2019.
    On a traditional view, the semantics of natural language makes essential use of a context parameter, i.e. a set of coordinates that represents the situation of speech. In classical semantic frameworks, this parameter plays two key roles: first, context contributes to determining the content of utterance; second, it is crucial for defining logical consequence. I point out that recent empirical proposals about context shift in natural language (in particular, context-shifting semantics in the styl…Read more
  •  96
    Alternatives and Truthmakers in Conditional Semantics
    Journal of Philosophy 115 (10): 513-549. 2018.
    Natural language conditionals seem to be subject to three logical requirements: they invalidate Antecedent Strengthening, they validate so-called Simplification of Disjunctive Antecedents, and they allow for the replacement of logically equivalent clauses in antecedent position. Unfortunately, these requirements are jointly inconsistent. Conservative solutions to the puzzle drop Simplification, treating it as a pragmatic inference. I show that pragmatic accounts of Simplification fail, and devel…Read more
  •  7
    Choice and prohibition in non-monotonic contexts
    with Nicole Gotzner and Jacopo Romoli
    Natural Language Semantics 28 (2): 141-174. 2020.
    Disjunctions in the scope of possibility modals give rise to a conjunctive inference, generally referred to as ‘free choice.’ For example, Emma can take Spanish or Calculus suggests that Emma can take Spanish and can take Calculus. This inference is not valid on standard semantics for modals in combination with a Boolean semantics for disjunction. Hence free choice has sparked a whole industry of theories in philosophy of language and semantics. This paper investigates free choice in sentences i…Read more
  •  49
    Interventions in Premise Semantics
    Philosophers' Imprint 19. 2019.
    This paper investigates what happens when we merge two different lines of theorizing about counterfactuals. One is the comparative closeness view, which was developed by Stalnaker and Lewis in the framework of possible worlds semantics. The second is the interventionist view, which is part of the causal models framework developed in statistics and computer science. Common lore and existing literature have it that the two views can be easily fit together, aside from a few details. I argue that, o…Read more
  •  24
    Trivializing Informational Consequence
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. forthcoming.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
  •  564
    Indeterminacy and Triviality
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    Suppose that you're certain that a certain sentence, e.g. "Frida is tall", lacks a determinate truth value. What cognitive attitude should you take towards it—reject it, suspend judgment, or what else? We show that, by adopting a seemingly plausible principle connecting credence in A and Determinately A, we can prove a very implausible answer to this question: i.e., all indeterminate claims should be assigned credence zero. The result is striking similar to so-called triviality results in the li…Read more
  •  113
    Reference and Monstrosity
    Philosophical Review 121 (3): 359-406. 2012.
    According to the orthodox account developed by Kaplan, indexicals like I, you, and now invariably refer to elements of the context of speech. This essay argues that the orthodoxy is wrong. I, you, and the like are shifted by certain modal operators and hence can fail to refer to elements of the context, for example, I can fail to refer to the speaker. More precisely, indexicals are syntactically akin to logical variables. They can be free, in which case they work, roughly, on the Kaplan model. B…Read more
  •  13
    I argue that classical counterfactual semantics in the style of Stalnaker, Lewis, and Kratzer validates an inference pattern that is disconfirmed in natural language. The solution is to alter the algorithm we use to handle inconsistency in premise sets: rather than checking all maximally consistent fragments of a premise sets, as in Krazter’s semantics, we selectively remove some of the premises. The proposed implementation starts from standard premise semantics and involves a new ‘filtering’ op…Read more
  •  1793
    Statements about the future are central in everyday conversation and reasoning. How should we understand their meaning? The received view among philosophers treats will as a tense: in ‘Cynthia will pass her exam’, will shifts the reference time forward. Linguists, however, have produced substantial evidence for the view that will is a modal, on a par with must and would. The different accounts are designed to satisfy different theoretical constraints, apparently pulling in opposite directions. W…Read more
  •  89
    Descriptions as variables
    Philosophical Studies 164 (1): 41-59. 2013.
    On a popular view dating back to Russell, descriptions, both definite and indefinite alike, work syntactically and semantically like quantifiers. I have an argument against Russell's view. The argument supports a different picture: descriptions can behave syntactically and semantically like variables. This basic idea can be implemented in very different systematic analyses, but, whichever way one goes, there will be a significant departure from Russell. The claim that descriptions are variables …Read more
  •  606
    Many recent theories of epistemic discourse exploit an informational notion of consequence, i.e. a notion that defines entailment as preservation of support by an information state. This paper investigates how informational consequence fits with probabilistic reasoning. I raise two problems. First, all informational inferences that are not also classical inferences are, intuitively, probabilistically invalid. Second, all these inferences can be exploited, in a systematic way, to generate trivial…Read more