Kai von Fintel and I have been working together on a project on epistemic modals for awhile now. We started out thinking we’d write up a short little something, but the paper has done some (asexual, we assume) reproduction. Anyway, I presented an incarnation of one of the spin-offs — “CIA Leaks” — at the Pacific APA session on “Relative Truth” this past weekend in Portland. Here are the beamer slides from it. A draft of the paper should be up in just a little bit (think: days, not months). (Andy Egan and Michael Glanzberg also gave papers in that session.)
If you are itching to know how that title can be informative, but just can’t wait, I’ll let the cat out o’ the bag. We dub the class of “relativist” stories “CIA Theories” since in our cleaned-up regimentation of them they insist that semantic values for certain constructions are (non-trivially) relative to contexts, indices, and points of assessment. We’re not big fans of CIA theories, and the paper throws down a gauntlet we say they must run. Mixing (or is it mangling?) the metaphors a bit, CIA theories end up with tons of holes. Whence the leaking.