Does every sentence like this exhibit a scope ambiguity? Paul Pietroski and Norbert Hornstein, univ. Of maryland
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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We think recent work in linguistics tells against the traditional claim that a string of words like (1) Every girl pushed some truck has two readings, indicated by the following formal language sentences (with restricted quantifiers): (1a) [!x:Gx]["y:Ty]Pxy (1b) ["y:Ty][!x:Gx]Pxy. In our view, (1) does not have any b-reading in which ‘some truck’ has widest scope.1 The issue turns on details concerning syntactic transformations and terms like ‘every’. This illustrates an important point for the study of natural language: ambiguity hypotheses are indeed hypotheses—i.e., theoretical claims to be justified in light of various considerations, not theses whose truth can be directly observed by speakers.
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