Still going strong

Kai von Fintel, Anthony S. Gillies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In “Must..stay..strong!” (von Fintel and Gillies in Nat Lang Semant 18:351–383, 2010., we set out to slay a dragon, or rather what we called The Mantra: that epistemic must has a modal force weaker than expected from standard modal logic, that it doesn’t entail its prejacent, and that the best explanation for the evidential feel of must is a pragmatic explanation. We argued that all three sub-mantras are wrong and offered an explanation according to which must is strong, entailing, and the felt indirectness is the product of an evidential presupposition carried by epistemic modals. Mantras being what they are, it is no surprise that each of the sub-mantras have been given new defenses. Here we offer them new problems and update our picture, concluding that must is (still) strong.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-113
Number of pages23
JournalNatural Language Semantics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Epistemic
  • Evidentiality
  • Modality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


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