The or of free choice permission

Topoi 13 (1):3-10 (1994)
I argue that the conjunctive distribution of permissibility over or, which is a puzzling feature of free-choice permission is just one instance of a more general class of conjunctive occurrences of the word, and that these conjunctive uses are more directly explicable by the consideration that or is a descendant of oper than by reference to the disjunctive occurrences which logicalist prejudices may tempt us to regard as semantically more fundamental. I offer an account of how the disjunctive uses of or may have come about through an intermediate discourse-adverbial use of or, drawing a parallel with but, which, etymologically, is disjunctive rather than conjunctive and whose conjunctive uses seem to represent just such a discourse-adverbial application.
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DOI 10.1007/BF00763643
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