Ability Modals

This is a description of this project

The idea with this paper was to model the semantics of ability modals (like “can” in “Jane can juggle 5 cats.”) by having the subject play a game against nature. So Jane can juggle 5 cats if she tries to do so, and at each point in the future, she either succeeds, or can take an action as a result of which she can (note the recursion) juggle 5 cats. This was inspired by game semantics (not to be confused with game-theoretic linguistic models) in which propositions are evaluated in a game between a verifier and falsifier. Most of the paper devolves into technical details, and I’m not sure I entirely like it, but I felt the core idea was elegant.