For a Structured Meaning Account of Questions and Answers

In Audiatur Vox Sapientia. A Festschrift for Arnim von Stechow. Academie Verlag. pp. 287-320 (2001)

In the logical, philosophical and linguistic literature, a number of theoretical frameworks have been proposed for the meaning of questions (see Ginzburg (1995), Groenendijk & Stokhof (1997) for recent overviews). I will concentrate on two general approaches that figured prominently in linguistic semantics, which I will call the proposition set approach and the structured meaning approach (sometimes called the “propositional” and the “categorial” or “functional” approach). I will show that the proposition set approach runs into three problems: It does not always predict the right focus structure in answers, it is unable to distinguish between polarity (yes/no) and a certain type of alternative questions, and it does not allow to formulate an important condition for a type of multiple constituent questions. On the other hand, I will show that the main argument brought forward against the structured meaning framework, namely that it does not give us an elegant way to account for embedded questions, does not withstand closer scrutiny. In this I will take up an issue raised in von Stechow (1990), namely, that the greater expressive power of the structured meaning approach might be necessary for the proper treatment of semantic phenomena like question formation and focusation.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 39,626
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Knowing.Jason Stanley - 2011 - Noûs 45 (2):207-238.
What Do Quantifier Particles Do?Anna Szabolcsi - 2015 - Linguistics and Philosophy 38 (2):159-204.
Reductionism About Understanding Why.Insa Lawler - 2016 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 116 (2):229-236.

View all 14 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Questions and Answers in an Orthoalgebraic Approach.Reinhard Blutner - 2012 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 21 (3):237-277.
Meaning In Speech and In Thought.Stephen Schiffer - 2013 - Philosophical Quarterly 63 (250):141-159.
Structured Characters and Complex Demonstratives.David Braun - 1994 - Philosophical Studies 74 (2):193--219.
Reasoning to Hypotheses: Where Do Questions Come?Matti Sintonen - 2004 - Foundations of Science 9 (3):249-266.
Los Nombres y la Referencia: Semantica y Metasemantica.Robert Stalnaker - 1998 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 17 (1):7-19.
Demystifying Meaning.Guy Longworth - 2001 - Philosophical Papers 30 (2):145-167.
Cybernetics and Mind-Body Problems.Keith Gunderson - 1969 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 12 (1-4):406-19.
Responding to Alternative and Polar Questions.María Biezma & Kyle Rawlins - 2012 - Linguistics and Philosophy 35 (5):361-406.
Language and the Measure of Mind.Eli Dresner - 2010 - Mind and Language 25 (4):418-439.
Meaning.Stephen Schiffer - 1972 - Oxford, Clarendon Press.


Added to PP index

Total views
62 ( #118,505 of 2,325,375 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #141,631 of 2,325,375 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature