Are modals quantifiers?

Zoltan Szabo (Yale Philosophy)
Event time: 
Friday, November 4, 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
LingSem (DOW 201) See map
370 Temple Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

The traditional view in grammar and logic inherited from Aristotle has been that quantifiers and modals are different kinds of words. Although both are syncategorematic expressions (i.e. they don’t signify anything on their own), quantifiers modify the subject while modals modify the copula. The modern view is that modals are sentential operators interpreted as quantifying over possible worlds. Modals are thus quantifiers semantically, albeit not syntactically. This brings a split between syntax and semantics: interpretation requires more structure than what syntax provides. The postmodern view eliminates the split between syntax and semantics by positing variables ranging over possible worlds (or possible situations) in logical form. My aim is to argue that even if we go along with the postmodern view we should not conclude that modals are quantifiers.

Event Type: 
Lunch Talks