Resolving questions, I

Linguistics and Philosophy 18 (5):459 - 527 (1995)
Abstract
The paper is in two parts. In Part I, a semantics for embedded and query uses of interrogatives is put forward, couched within a situation semantics framework. Unlike many previous analyses,questions are not reductively analysed in terms of their answers. This enables us to provide a notion of ananswer that resolves a question which varies across contexts relative to parameters such as goals and inferential capabilities. In Part II of the paper, extensive motivation is provided for an ontology that distinguishes propositions, questions, and facts, while at the same time the semantics provided captures an important commonality between questions and propositions: factsprove propositions andresolve questions. This commonality is exploited to provide an explanation for why predicates such as know carry presuppositions such as factivity and for a novel account of the behaviour of adverbially modified predicates with interrogative, declarative and fact-nominal arguments.
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