David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Semantics 18 (4):333-365 (2001)
The Strongest Meaning Hypothesis of Dalrymple et al (1994,1998), which was originally proposed as a principle for the interpretation of reciprocals, is extended in this paper into a general principle of plural predication. This principle applies to complex predicates that are composed of lexical predicates that hold of atomic entities, and determines the pluralities in the extension of the predicate. The meaning of such a complex predicate is claimed to be the truth-conditionally strongest meaning that does not contradict lexical properties of the simple predicates it contains. Weak interpretations of reciprocals (as in the books are stacked on top of each other), plural predicate conjunction (e.g. the books are old and new) and ’atomic’ distributivity in general are derived by a unified mechanism, which ’weakens’ the basic universal meanings of strong reciprocals, boolean conjunction and quantification over atomic entities.
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