Structurally-defined alternatives

Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (6):669-690 (2007)

Abstract
Scalar implicatures depend on alternatives in order to avoid the symmetry problem. I argue for a structure-sensitive characterization of these alternatives: the alternatives for a structure are all those structures that are at most as complex as the original one. There have been claims in the literature that complexity is irrelevant for implicatures and that the relevant condition is the semantic notion of monotonicity. I provide new data that pose a challenge to the use of monotonicity and that support the structure-sensitive definition. I show that what appeared to be a problem for the complexity approach is overcome once an appropriate notion of complexity is adopted, and that upon closer inspection, the argument in favor of monotonicity turns out to be an argument against it and in favor of the complexity approach.
Keywords Scalar implicature  Horn scales  Complexity  Alternatives
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Reprint years 2008
DOI 10.1007/s10988-008-9029-y
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References found in this work BETA

Studies in the Way of Words.Paul Grice - 1989 - Philosophical Quarterly 40 (160):393-395.
Studies in the Way of Words.Paul Grice - 1989 - Synthese 84 (1):153-161.
A Natural History of Negation.Laurence Horn - 1989 - University of Chicago Press.
A Natural History of Negation.Jon Barwise & Laurence R. Horn - 1991 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 56 (3):1103.

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Citations of this work BETA

Economy and Embedded Exhaustification.Danny Fox & Benjamin Spector - 2018 - Natural Language Semantics 26 (1):1-50.
On the Characterization of Alternatives.Danny Fox & Roni Katzir - 2011 - Natural Language Semantics 19 (1):87-107.

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