Linguistics and Philosophy

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 181–185 | Cite as

Invariantism about ‘can’ and ‘may’ (as well as ‘might’)

A response to Yanovich (2013)
  • David Braun


Braun (Linguistics & Philosophy 35, 461–489, 2012) argued for a non- relativist, invariantist theory of ‘might’. Yanovich (Linguistics & Philosophy, 2013) argues that Braun’s theory is inconsistent with certain facts concerning diachronic meaning changes in ‘might’, ‘can’, and ‘may’. This paper replies to Yanovich’s objection.


Modals Epistemic modals Invariantism Contextualism 


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  1. Braun, D. (2012). Invariantism about ‘might’ might be right. Linguistics and Philosophy, 35, 461–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Lewis, D. (1976). The paradoxes of time travel. American Philosophical Quarterly, 13, 145–152. (Reprinted in Philosophical Papers, Vol. II, pp. 67–80, by D. Lewis, Ed., 1986, New York: Oxford University Press.)Google Scholar
  3. Nordlinger, R., & Traugott, E. C. (1997). Scope and the development of epistemic modality: Evidence from ought to. English Language Linguistics, 1, 295–317.Google Scholar
  4. Portner, P. (2009). Modality. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Yanovich, I. (2013). Invariantist ‘might’ and modal meaning change. Linguistics and Philosophy. doi: 10.1007/s10988_013_9133_5

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity at BuffaloBuffaloUSA

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