Free choice permission and the counterfactuals of pragmatics

Linguistics and Philosophy 37 (4):275-290 (2014)

Melissa Fusco
Columbia University
This paper addresses a little puzzle with a surprisingly long pedigree and a surprisingly large wake: the puzzle of Free Choice Permission. I begin by presenting a popular sketch of a pragmatic solution to the puzzle, due to Kratzer and Shimoyama, which has received a good deal of discussion, endorsement and elaboration in recent work :535–590, 2006; Fox, in: Sauerland and Stateva Presupposition and implicature in compositional semantics, 2007; Geurts, Mind Lang 24:51–79, 2009; von Fintel, Central APA session on Deontic Modals, 2012). I then explain why the general form of the Kratzer and Shimoyama explanation is not extensionally adequate. This leaves us with two possibilities with regard to the original solution-sketch; either the suggested pragmatic route fails, or it succeeds in a particularly strange way: Free Choice permission is rendered a kind pragmatic illusion on the part of both speakers and hearers. Finally, I discuss some ramifications.
Keywords Pragmatics  Semantics  Counterfactuals  Permission  Neo-Gricean pragmatics
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DOI 10.1007/s10988-014-9154-8
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Scorekeeping in a Language Game.David K. Lewis - 1979 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 8 (1):339--359.

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