The natural language conjunction and

Linguistics and Philosophy 26 (3):255-285 (2003)
In the first part of this article, we show that, contrary to the Gricean tradition, inter-clausal and is not semantically equivalent to logical conjunction and, contrary to temporal approaches such as Bar-Levand Palacas 1980, it is not temporallyloaded. We then explore a commonsenseidea – namely that while sentence juxtaposition might be interpreted either as discourse coordination or subordination, and indicates coordination. SDRT already includes notions of coordinating and subordinating discourse relations (cf. Lascarides and Asher 1993, Asher 1993), and the meaning of and is related to this distinction. Similar distinctions that play a crucial role in anaphora resolution have also appeared in AI – cf. Scha and Polanyi 1988, or Webber 1991. However, this discourse-structure-based distinction has not been well defined yet, and our approach provides independent motivation for it. This paper argues that the semantics of and includes a notion of coordination expressed as the requirement of a Coordinated Discourse Topic (CDT).CDT characterizes aclass of discourse relations, among which are Narration and Result.Once the basic semanticcontribution of and is isolated, effects related to its presence such as changes in temporal structure, blocking of a Discourse Relation, or conditional meanings are shown to follow from the defeasiblearchitecture set up by SDRT.
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