On the interpretation of disjunction: Asymmetric, incremental, and eager for inconsistency [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2):245-260 (2008)
Hurford’s Constraint (Hurford, Foundations of Language, 11, 409–411, 1974) states that a disjunction is infelicitous if its disjuncts stand in an entailment relation: #John was born in Paris or in France. Gazdar (Pragmatics, Academic Press, NY, 1979) observed that scalar implicatures can obviate the constraint. For instance, sentences of the form (A or B) or (Both Aand B) are felicitous due to the exclusivity implicature of the first disjunct: A or B implicates ‘not (A and B)’. Chierchia, Fox, and Spector (Handbook of semantics, 2008) use the obviation of Hurford’s Constraint in these cases to argue for a theory of local implicature. I present evidence indicating that the constraint needs to be modified in two ways. First, implicatures can obviate Hurford’s Constraint only in earlier disjuncts, not later ones: #(Both A and B) or (A or B). Second, the constraint rules out not only disjuncts that stand in an entailment relation, but also disjuncts that are even mutually consistent: #John is from Russia or Asia. I propose to make sense of these facts by providing an incremental evaluation procedure which checks that each new disjunct to the right is inconsistent with the information to its left, before the disjunct can be strengthened by local implicature.
|Keywords||Local implicatures Hurford’s Constraint Disjunction Incremental interpretation Alternatives Exhaustivity|
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References found in this work BETA
Laurence Horn (1989). A Natural History of Negation. University of Chicago Press.
David I. Beaver (2001). Presupposition and Assertion in Dynamic Semantics. Csli Publications.
Stephen C. Levinson (1986). Pragmatics. Philosophical Review 95 (1):123-127.
Uli Sauerland (2004). Scalar Implicatures in Complex Sentences. Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (3):367-391.
Mats Rooth (1992). A Theory of Focus Interpretation. Natural Language Semantics 1 (1):75-116.
Citations of this work BETA
Danny Fox & Roni Katzir (2011). On the Characterization of Alternatives. Natural Language Semantics 19 (1):87-107.
Anna Szabolcsi (2015). What Do Quantifier Particles Do? Linguistics and Philosophy 38 (2):159-204.
Jacopo Romoli (2013). A Scalar Implicature-Based Approach to Neg-Raising. Linguistics and Philosophy 36 (4):291-353.
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