Linguistics and Philosophy 39 (3):151-199 (2016)

Benjamin Spector
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
In this article, we describe and attempt to solve a puzzle arising from the interpretation of modified numerals like less than five and between two and five. The puzzle is this: such modified numerals seem to mean different things depending on whether they combine with distributive or non-distributive predicates. When they combine with distributive predicates, they intuitively impose a kind of upper bound, whereas when they combine with non-distributive predicates, they do not. We propose and explore in detail four solutions to this puzzle, each involving some notion of maximality, but differing in the type of maximality involved and in the source of maximality. While the full range of data we consider do not conclusively favor one theory over the other three, we do argue that overall the evidence goes against the view that modified numerals lexically encode a ‘standard’ maximality operator, and suggests the need for a pragmatic blocking mechanism that filters out readings of sentences that are generated by the grammar but intuitively unavailable.
Keywords Semantics  Pragmatics  Quantification  Plurality  Modified numerals  Monotonicity  Distributivity  Collectivity  Cumulativity  Mereology
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DOI 10.1007/s10988-016-9187-2
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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.

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