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  1. Talking About Worlds.Matthew Mandelkern - 2018 - Philosophical Perspectives 32 (1):298-325.
    I explore the logic of the conditional, using credence judgments to argue against Duality and in favor of Conditional Excluded Middle. I then explore how to give a theory of the conditional which validates the latter and not the former, developing a variant on Kratzer (1981)'s restrictor theory, as well as a proposal which combines Stalnaker (1968)'s theory of the conditional with the theory of epistemic modals I develop in Mandelkern 2019a. I argue that the latter approach fits naturally with (...)
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  • Counterfactuality and Past.Kilu von Prince - 2019 - Linguistics and Philosophy 42 (6):577-615.
    Many languages have past-and-counterfactuality markers such as English simple past. There have been various attempts to find a common definition for both uses, but I will argue in this paper that they all have problems with ruling out unacceptable interpretations, or accounting for the contrary-to-fact implicature of counterfactual conditionals, or predicting the observed cross-linguistic variation, or a combination thereof. By combining insights from two basic lines of reasoning, I will propose a simple and transparent approach that solves all the observed (...)
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  • Measure Phrase Equatives and Modified Numerals.Jessica Rett - 2015 - Journal of Semantics 32 (3):425-475.
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  • A Note on Conservativity.Richard Zuber & Edward L. Keenan - forthcoming - Journal of Semantics.
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  • Agentive Modals.Matthew Mandelkern, Ginger Schultheis & David Boylan - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (3):301-343.
    This essay proposes a new theory of agentive modals: ability modals and their duals, compulsion modals. After criticizing existing approaches—the existential quantificational analysis, the universal quantificational analysis, and the conditional analysis—it presents a new account that builds on both the existential and conditional analyses. On this account, the act conditional analysis, a sentence like ‘John can swim across the river’ says that there is some practically available action that is such that if John tries to do it, he swims across (...)
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  • Will Done Better: Selection Semantics, Future Credence, and Indeterminacy.Fabrizio Cariani & Paolo Santorio - 2018 - Mind 127 (505):129-165.
    Statements about the future are central in everyday conversation and reasoning. How should we understand their meaning? The received view among philosophers treats will as a tense: in ‘Cynthia will pass her exam’, will shifts the reference time forward. Linguists, however, have produced substantial evidence for the view that will is a modal, on a par with must and would. The different accounts are designed to satisfy different theoretical constraints, apparently pulling in opposite directions. We show that these constraints are (...)
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  • Two Switches in the Theory of Counterfactuals.Ivano Ciardelli, Linmin Zhang & Lucas Champollion - 2018 - Linguistics and Philosophy (6).
    Based on a crowdsourced truth value judgment experiment, we provide empirical evidence challenging two classical views in semantics, and we develop a novel account of counterfactuals that combines ideas from inquisitive semantics and causal reasoning. First, we show that two truth-conditionally equivalent clauses can make different semantic contributions when embedded in a counterfactual antecedent. Assuming compositionality, this means that the meaning of these clauses is not fully determined by their truth conditions. This finding has a clear explanation in inquisitive semantics: (...)
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  • Disjunctive Antecedent Conditionals.Justin Khoo - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Disjunctive antecedent conditionals (DACs)—conditionals of the form if A or B, C—sometimes seem to entail both of their simplifications (if A, C; if B, C) and sometimes seem not to. I argue that this behavior reveals a genuine am- biguity in DACs. Along the way, I discuss a new observation about the role of focal stress in distinguishing the two interpretations of DACs. I propose a new theory, according to which the surface form of a DAC underdetermines its logical form: (...)
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  • Modality and Expressibility.Matthew Mandelkern - forthcoming - Review of Symbolic Logic:1-39.
    When embedding data are used to argue against semantic theory A and in favor of semantic theory B, it is important to ask whether A could, after all, make sense of those data. It is possible to ask that question on a case-by-case basis. But suppose we could show that A can make sense of all the embedding data which B can possibly make sense of. This would, in one fell swoop, undermine all arguments in favor of B over A (...)
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  • Epistemic Modality De Re.Seth Yalcin - 2015 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2:475-527.
    Focusing on cases which involve binding into epistemic modals with definite descriptions and quantifiers, I raise some new problems for standard approaches to all of these expressions. The difficulties are resolved in a semantic framework that is dynamic in character. I close with a new class of problems about de re readings within the scope of modals.
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  • Existential Generics.Ariel Cohen - 2004 - Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (2):137-168.
    While opinions on the semantic analysis of generics vary widely, most scholars agree that generics have a quasi-universal flavor. However, there are cases where generics receive what appears to be an existentialinterpretation. For example, B's response is true, even though only theplatypus and the echidna lay eggs: (1) A: Birds lay eggs. B: Mammals lay eggs too. In this paper I propose a uniform account of the semantics of generics,which accounts for their quasi-existential readings as well as for their more (...)
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  • Normal Objects, Normal Worlds and the Meaning of Generic Sentences.Regine Eckardt - 1999 - Journal of Semantics 16 (3):237-278.
    It has sometimes been proposed that generic sentences make statements about prototypic members of a category. In this paper I will elaborate this view and develop an account where generic sentences express quantification about the normal exemplars in a category—here and in counterfactual worlds sufficiently similar to our own. Comparing the account to the currently most widespread analysis which views generic sentences as universal quantifications in carefully chosen best-possible worlds, we find that an analysis that is based on the choice (...)
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  • Perspectival Plurality, Relativism, and Multiple Indexing.Dan Zeman - 2018 - In Rob Truswell, Chris Cummins, Caroline Heycock, Brian Rabern & Hannah Rohde (eds.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21, Vol. 2. Semantics Archives. pp. 1353-1370.
    In this paper I focus on a recently discussed phenomenon illustrated by sentences containing predicates of taste: the phenomenon of " perspectival plurality " , whereby sentences containing two or more predicates of taste have readings according to which each predicate pertains to a different perspective. This phenomenon has been shown to be problematic for (at least certain versions of) relativism. My main aim is to further the discussion by showing that the phenomenon extends to other perspectival expressions than predicates (...)
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  • Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 21.Rob Truswell, Chris Cummins, Caroline Heycock, Brian Rabern & Hannah Rohde (eds.) - 2018 - Semantics Archives.
    The present volume contains a collection of papers presented at the 21st annual meeting “Sinn und Bedeutung” of the Gesellschaft fur Semantik, which was held at the University of Edinburgh on September 4th–6th, 2016. The Sinn und Bedeutung conferences are one of the leading international venues for research in formal semantics.
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  • Learnability and Semantic Universals.Shane Steinert-Threlkeld & Jakub Szymanik - forthcoming - Semantics and Pragmatics.
    One of the great successes of the application of generalized quantifiers to natural language has been the ability to formulate robust semantic universals. When such a universal is attested, the question arises as to the source of the universal. In this paper, we explore the hypothesis that many semantic universals arise because expressions satisfying the universal are easier to learn than those that do not. While the idea that learnability explains universals is not new, explicit accounts of learning that can (...)
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  • Do Indicative Conditionals Express Propositions?Daniel Rothschild - 2013 - Noûs 47 (1):49-68.
    Discusses how to capture the link between the probability of indicative conditionals and conditional probability using a classical semantics for conditionals.
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  • Conditional Heresies.Fabrizio Cariani & Simon Goldstein - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    The principles of Conditional Excluded Middle (CEM) and Simplification of Disjunctive Antecedents (SDA) have received substantial attention in isolation. Both principles are plausible generalizations about natural language conditionals. There is however little or no discussion of their inter- action. This paper aims to remedy this gap and explore the significance of having both principles constrain the logic of the conditional. Our negative finding is that, together with elementary logical assumptions, CEM and SDA yield a variety of implausible consequences. Despite these (...)
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  • A Scalar Implicature-Based Approach to Neg-Raising.Jacopo Romoli - 2013 - Linguistics and Philosophy 36 (4):291-353.
    In this paper, I give an analysis of neg-raising inferences as scalar implicatures. The main motivation for this account as opposed to a presupposition-based approach like Gajewski (Linguist Philos 30(3):289–328, 2007) comes from the differences between presuppositions and neg-raising inferences. In response to this issue, Gajewski (2007) argues that neg-raising predicates are soft presuppositional triggers and adopts the account of how their presuppositions arise by Abusch (J Semantics 27(1):1–44, 2010). However, I argue that there is a difference between soft triggers (...)
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  • On the Interpretation of Disjunction: Asymmetric, Incremental, and Eager for Inconsistency. [REVIEW]Raj Singh - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2):245-260.
    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 (...)
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  • On the Interaction of Aspect and Modal Auxiliaries.Valentine Hacquard - 2009 - Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (3):279-315.
    This paper discusses the interaction of aspect and modality, and focuses on the puzzling implicative effect that arises when perfective aspect appears on certain modals: perfective somehow seems to force the proposition expressed by the complement of the modal to hold in the actual world, and not merely in some possible world. I show that this puzzling behavior, originally discussed in Bhatt (1999, Covert modality in non-finite contexts) for the ability modal, extends to all modal auxiliaries with a circumstantial modal (...)
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  • Leslie on Generics.Rachel Katharine Sterken - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2493-2512.
    This paper offers three objections to Leslie’s recent and already influential theory of generics :375–403, 2007a, Philos Rev 117:1–47, 2008): her proposed metaphysical truth-conditions are subject to systematic counter-examples, the proposed disquotational semantics fails, and there is evidence that generics do not express cognitively primitive generalisations.
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  • Abilities.John Maier - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    In the accounts we give of one another, claims about our abilities appear to be indispensable. Some abilities are so widespread that many who have them take them for granted, such as the ability to walk, or to write one's name, or to tell a hawk from a handsaw. Others are comparatively rare and notable, such as the ability to hit a Major League fastball, or to compose a symphony, or to tell an elm from a beech. In either case, (...)
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  • Antonymy In Space And Other Strictly Ordered Domains.Jessica Rett - 2015 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 10 (1).
    Natural language references different types of entities. Some of these entities are strictly ordered with respect to one another; others are not. The empirical goal of this paper is to show that some linguistically encoded relations across these domains display a polar asymmetry, while others do not. The theoretical goal of this paper is to argue that this asymmetry – and its restriction to only certain relations – is due to intrinsic properties of strictly ordered domains, coupled with a bias (...)
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  • Determiners, Conservativity, Witnesses.Kai von Fintel & Edward L. Keenan - 2018 - Journal of Semantics 35 (1):207-217.
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  • Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 9.Emar Maier, Corien Bary & Janneke Huitink (eds.) - 2005 - Nijmegen Centre for Semantics.
  • Association by Movement: Evidence From NPI-Licensing. [REVIEW]Michael Wagner - 2006 - Natural Language Semantics 14 (4):297-324.
    ‘Only’ associates with focus and licenses NPIs. This paper looks at the distributional pattern of NPIs under ‘only’ and presents evidence for the movement theory of focus association and against an in situ approach. NPIs are licensed in the ‘scope’ (or the second argument) of ‘only’, but not in the complement (or its first argument), which I will call the ‘syntactic restrictor’. While earlier approaches argued that ‘only’ licenses NPIs in the unfocused part of the sentence it occurs in except (...)
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  • Compositionality.Zoltán Gendler Szabó - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Domain Restriction and the Arguments of Quantificational Determiners.Anastasia Giannakidou - manuscript
    Classical generalized quantifier (GQ) theory posits that quantificational determiners (Q-dets) combine with a nominal argument of type et, a first order predicate, to form a GQ. In a recent paper, Matthewson (2001) challenges this position by arguing that the domain of a Q-det is not of type et, but e, an entity. In this paper, I defend the classical GQ view, and argue that the data that motivated Matthewson’s revision actually suggest that the domain set can, and indeed in certain (...)
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  • Only: A Case Study In Projective Meaning.Craige Roberts - 2010 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 6 (1):14.
    I offer an integrated theory of the meaning of only in which the prejacent, while not presupposed, is both entailed and backgrounded, hence tends to project . Moreover, I argue, contra Beaver & Brady , that only is not conventionally associated with focus, the focus effects arising instead pragmatically. But I do adopt aspects of their semantics for only, including the presupposition of a pre-order over the elements of its domain.
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  • Neg-Raising and Polarity.Jon Robert Gajewski - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (3):289-328.
    The representation of Neg-Raising in the grammar is a matter of controversy. I provide evidence for representing Neg-Raising as a kind of presupposition associated with certain predicates by providing a detailed analysis of NPI-licensing in Neg-Raising contexts. Specific features of presupposition projection are used to explain the licensing of strict NPIs under Neg-Raising predicates. Discussion centers around the analysis of a licensing asymmetry noted in Horn (1971, Negative transportation: Unsafe at any speed? In CLS 7 (pp. 120–133)).Having provided this analysis, (...)
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  • Existentials, Predication, and Modification.Itamar Francez - 2009 - Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (1):1-50.
    This paper offers a new semantic theory of existentials (sentences of the form There be NP pivot XP coda ) in which pivots are (second order) predicates and codas are modifiers. The theory retains the analysis of pivots as denoting generalized quantifiers (Barwise and Cooper 1981; Keenan 1987), but departs from previous analyses in analyzing codas as contextual modifiers on a par with temporal/locative frame adverbials. Existing analyses universally assume that pivots are arguments of some predicate, and that codas are (...)
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  • Free Choice is a Form of Dependence.Magdalena Kaufmann - 2016 - Natural Language Semantics 24 (3):247-290.
    This paper refutes the widespread view that disjunctions of imperatives invariably grant free choice between the actions named by their disjuncts. Like other disjunctions they can also express a correlation with some factual distinction, but as with modalized declaratives used for non-assertive speech acts this needs to be indicated explicitly. A compositional analysis of one such indicator, depending on, constitutes the point of departure for a uniform analysis of disjunctions across clause types. Disjunctions are analyzed as sets of propositional alternatives (...)
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  • Generically Free Choice.Bernhard Nickel - 2010 - Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (6):479-512.
    This paper discusses free-choice like effects in generics. Just as Jane may drink coffee or tea can be used to convey Jane may drink coffee and Jane may drink tea (she is free to choose ), some generics with disjunctive predicates can be used to convey conjunctions of simpler generics: elephants live in Africa or Asia can be used to convey elephants live in Africa and elephants live in Asia. Investigating these logically slightly more complex generics and especially the free-choice (...)
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  • A Theory of Individual-Level Predicates Based on Blind Mandatory Scalar Implicatures.Giorgio Magri - 2009 - Natural Language Semantics 17 (3):245-297.
    Predicates such as tall or to know Latin, which intuitively denote permanent properties, are called individual-level predicates. Many peculiar properties of this class of predicates have been noted in the literature. One such property is that we cannot say #John is sometimes tall. Here is a way to account for this property: this sentence sounds odd because it triggers the scalar implicature that the alternative John is always tall is false, which cannot be, given that, if John is sometimes tall, (...)
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  • Exhaustivity as Agreement: The Case of Korean Man 'Only'.Youngjoo Lee - 2005 - Natural Language Semantics 13 (2):169-200.
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  • Noughty Bits: The Subatomic Scope of Negation.Barry Schein - 2016 - Linguistics and Philosophy 39 (6):459-540.
    Since Fodor 1970, negation has worn a Homogeneity Condition to the effect that homogeneous predicates, ) denote homogeneously—all or nothing —to characterize the meaning of – when uttered out-of-the blue, in contrast to –:The mirrors are smooth. The mirrors are not smooth. The mirrors circle the telescope’s reflector. The mirrors do not circle the telescope’s reflector. It has been a problem for philosophical logic and for the semantics of natural language that – appear to defy the Principle of Excluded Middle (...)
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  • Principles of the Exclusive Muddle.Elizabeth Coppock & David I. Beaver - 2014 - Journal of Semantics 31 (3):fft007.
    Next SectionThis paper provides a lexical entry schema for exclusives covering the adverbs only, just, exclusively, merely, purely, solely, simply, and the adjectives only, sole, pure, exclusive and alone. We argue, on the basis of inter-paraphrasability relations among these exclusives and entailments involving at least and at most, that all of these items make an at-issue contribution of an upper bound on the viable answers to the current question under discussion (expressible with at most), and signal that a lower bound (...)
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