Skip to main content
Simple Contextualism about Epistemic Modals is Incorrect
Though: A Journal of Philosophy (2014)
  • Benjamin Lennertz, Western Kentucky University
I argue against a simple contextualist account of epistemic modals. My argument, like the
argument on which it is based (von Fintel and Gillies 2011 and MacFarlane 2011), charges that
simple contextualism cannot explain all of the conversational data about uses of epistemic
modals. My argument improves on its predecessor by insulating itself from recent contextualist
attempts by Janice Dowell (2011) and Igor Yanovich (2014) to get around that argument. In
particular, I use linguistic data to show that an utterance of an epistemic modal sentence can be
warranted, while an utterance of its suggested simple contextualist paraphrase is not.
  • contextualism,
  • espistemic modals,
  • linguistics
Publication Date
Citation Information
Benjamin Lennertz. "Simple Contextualism about Epistemic Modals is Incorrect" Though: A Journal of Philosophy Vol. 3 Iss. 4 (2014) p. 252 - 262
Available at: