Epistemic Modality and Coordination under Uncertainty

Giorgio Sbardolini
(ILLC, University of Amsterdam)

Communication facilitates coordination, but coordination might fail if there's too much uncertainty. I discuss a scenario in which vagueness-driven uncertainty undermines the possibility of publicly sharing a belief. I then show that asserting an epistemic modal sentence, 'Might p', can reveal the speaker's uncertainty, and that this may improve the chances of coordination despite the lack of a common epistemic ground. This provides a game-theoretic rationale for epistemic modality. The account draws on a standard relational semantics for epistemic modality, Stalnaker's theory of assertion as informative update, and a Bayesian framework for reasoning under uncertainty.

In Joseph Halpern and Andrés Perea: Proceedings Eighteenth Conference on Theoretical Aspects of Rationality and Knowledge (TARK 2021), Beijing, China, June 25-27, 2021, Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science 335, pp. 295–306.
Published: 22nd June 2021.

ArXived at: https://dx.doi.org/10.4204/EPTCS.335.28 bibtex PDF
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