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  1. 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. Semantics Archives. pp. 1353-1370.
    In this paper I focus on a recently discussed phenomenon illustrated by sentences containing predicates of taste: the phenomenon of " perspectival plurality " , whereby sentences containing two or more predicates of taste have readings according to which each predicate pertains to a different perspective. This phenomenon has been shown to be problematic for (at least certain versions of) relativism. My main aim is to further the discussion by showing that the phenomenon extends to other perspectival expressions than predicates (...)
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  • Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21.Rob Truswell, Chris Cummins, Caroline Heycock, Brian Rabern & Hannah Rohde (eds.) - 2018 - Semantics Archives.
    The present volume contains a collection of papers presented at the 21st annual meeting “Sinn und Bedeutung” of the Gesellschaft fur Semantik, which was held at the University of Edinburgh on September 4th–6th, 2016. The Sinn und Bedeutung conferences are one of the leading international venues for research in formal semantics.
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  • Relativized Exhaustivity: mention-some and uniqueness.Yimei Xiang - 2022 - Natural Language Semantics 30 (3):311-362.
    _Wh_-questions with the modal verb _can_ admit both mention-some (MS) and mention-all (MA) answers. This paper argues that we should treat MS as a grammatical phenomenon, primarily determined by the grammar of the _wh_-interrogative. I assume that MS and MA answers can be modeled using the same definition of answerhood (Fox in Mention-some interpretations, MIT seminar, 2013 ) and attribute the MS/MA ambiguity to structural variations within the question nucleus. The variations are: (i) the scope ambiguity of the higher-order _wh_-trace (...)
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  • A hybrid categorial approach to question composition.Yimei Xiang - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 44 (3):587-647.
    This paper revisits two fundamental issues in question semantics—what does a question mean, and how is this meaning compositionally derived? Drawing on observations with the distribution of wh-words in questions and free relatives as well as quantificational variability effects in question-embeddings, I argue that the nominal meanings of short answers must be derivable from question denotations, which therefore calls for a categorial approach to defining questions, including embedded questions. I provide a novel hybrid categorial approach to compose questions. This approach (...)
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  • Questioning to resolve decision problems.Robert van Rooy - 2003 - Linguistics and Philosophy 26 (6):727-763.
    Why do we ask questions? Because we want tohave some information. But why this particular kind ofinformation? Because only information of this particularkind is helpful to resolve the decision problemthat the agent faces. In this paper I argue thatquestions are asked because their answers help toresolve the questioner's decision problem, and that thisassumption helps us to interpret interrogativesentences. Interrogative sentences are claimed to have asemantically underspecified meaning and thisunderspecification is resolved by means of the decisionproblem.
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  • The existential/uniqueness presupposition of wh-complements projects from the answers.Wataru Uegaki - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 44 (4):911-951.
    The projection pattern of the existential/uniqueness presupposition of a wh-complement varies depending on the predicate that embeds it. This variation poses problems for existing accounts that treat the presupposition as a semantic contribution of an operator merging with the wh-complement or of the embedding predicate. I propose that the problems can be solved if the existential/uniqueness presupposition is contributed by the propositions corresponding to the answers of the embedded question, under the Hamblin/Karttunen semantics for questions.
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  • The * hope-wh puzzle.Wataru Uegaki & Yasutada Sudo - 2019 - Natural Language Semantics 27 (4):323-356.
    Clause-embedding predicates come in three major varieties: responsive predicates are compatible with both declarative and interrogative complements; rogative predicates are only compatible with interrogative complements; and anti-rogative predicates are only compatible with declarative complements. It has been suggested that these selectional properties are at least partly semantic in nature. In particular, it has been proposed that the anti-rogativity of neg-raising predicates like believe comes from the triviality in meaning that would arise with interrogative complements. This paper puts forward a similar (...)
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  • A uniform semantics for embedded interrogatives: an answer, not necessarily the answer.Benjamin Spector & Paul Egré - 2015 - Synthese 192 (6):1729-1784.
    Our paper addresses the following question: Is there a general characterization, for all predicates P that take both declarative and interrogative complements , of the meaning of the P-interrogative clause construction in terms of the meaning of the P-declarative clause construction? On our account, if P is a responsive predicate and Q a question embedded under P, then the meaning of ‘P + Q’ is, informally, “to be in the relation expressed by P to some potential complete answer to Q”. (...)
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  • Indeterminate Phrase Quantification in Japanese.Junko Shimoyama - 2006 - Natural Language Semantics 14 (2):139-173.
    This paper examines the question of how so-called indeterminate phrases in Japanese (Kuroda 1965) associate with relevant particles higher in the structure. In the universal construction in Japanese, the restrictor (provided by an indeterminate phrase) sometimes appears to be separate from the universal particle mo. It is proposed that quantification at a distance is only apparent, and that the restriction is in fact provided locally by the sister constituent of mo as a whole. The proposal leads us to a straightforward (...)
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  • Emedded Questions and 'De Dicto' Readings.Yael Sharvit - 2002 - Natural Language Semantics 10 (2):97-123.
    It is argued, contra Beck and Rullmann (1999), and with Heim (1994), that the sources of strongly exhaustive interpretations and `de dicto' interpretations of wh-complements of veridical question-embedding verbs are one and the same. Beck and Rullmann's theory is shown to predict certain `de dicto' readings which do not exist, while a particular rendition of Heim's theory is shown to constrain the generation of `de dicto' readings in the correct way.
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  • A Question of Strength: On NPIs in Interrogative Clauses. [REVIEW]Yael Sharvit - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (3):361 - 391.
    We observe that the facts pertaining to the acceptability of negative polarity items (henceforth, NPIs) in interrogative environments are more complex than previously noted. Since Klima [Klima, E. (1964). In J. Fodor & J. Katz (Eds.), The structure of language. Prentice-Hall], it has been typically assumed that NPIs are grammatical in both matrix and embedded questions, however, on closer scrutiny it turns out that there are differences between root and embedded environments, and between question nucleus and wh-restrictor. While NPIs are (...)
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  • Factive islands and meaning-driven unacceptability.Bernhard Schwarz & Alexandra Simonenko - 2018 - Natural Language Semantics 26 (3):253-279.
    It is often proposed that the unacceptability of a semantically interpretable sentence can be rooted in its meaning. Elaborating on Oshima New frontiers in artificial intelligence, Springer, Berlin, 2007), we argue that the meaning-driven unacceptability of factive islands must make reference to felicity conditions, and cannot be reduced to the triviality of propositional content. We also observe, again elaborating on Oshima, that the triviality of factive islands need not be logical, but can be relative to a listener’s background assumptions. These (...)
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  • Concealed questions and specificational subjects.Maribel Romero - 2005 - Linguistics and Philosophy 28 (6):687 - 737.
    This paper is concerned with Noun Phrases (NPs, henceforth) occurring in two constructions: concealed question NPs and NP subjects of specificational sentences. The first type of NP is illustrated in (1). The underlined NPs in (1) have been called ‘concealed questions’ because sentences that embed them typically have the same truth-conditional meaning as the corresponding versions with a full-fledged embedded interrogative clause, as illustrated in (2) (Heim 1979).
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  • Questions with NPIs.Andreea C. Nicolae - 2015 - Natural Language Semantics 23 (1):21-76.
    This paper investigates how the distribution of negative polarity items can inform our understanding of the underlying semantic representation of constituent questions. It argues that the distribution of NPIs in questions is governed by the same logical properties that govern their distribution in declarative constructions. Building on an observation due to Guerzoni and Sharvit that strength of exhaustivity in questions correlates with the acceptability of NPIs, I propose a revision of the semantics of questions that can explain this link in (...)
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  • A modal interpretation of the logic of interrogation.Rani Nelken & Chung-Chieh Shan - 2006 - Journal of Logic, Language and Information 15 (3):251-271.
    We propose a novel interpretation of natural-language questions using a modal predicate logic of knowledge. Our approach brings standard model-theoretic and proof-theoretic techniques from modal logic to bear on questions. Using the former, we show that our interpretation preserves Groenendijk and Stokhof's answerhood relation, yet allows an extensional interpretation. Using the latter, we get a sound and complete proof procedure for the logic for free. Our approach is more expressive; for example, it easily treats complex questions with operators that scope (...)
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  • Focusing bound pronouns.Clemens Mayr - 2012 - Natural Language Semantics 20 (3):299-348.
    The presence of contrastive focus on pronouns interpreted as bound variables is puzzling. Bound variables do not refer, and it is therefore unclear how two of them can be made to contrast with each other. It is argued that this is a problem for both alternative-based accounts such as Rooth’s (Nat Lang Semantics 1:75–116, 1992) and givenness-based ones such as Schwarzschild’s (Nat Lang Semantics 7:141–177, 1999). The present paper shows that previous approaches to this puzzle face an empirical problem, namely (...)
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  • Alternatives in different dimensions: a case study of focus intervention.Haoze Li & Jess H.-K. Law - 2016 - Linguistics and Philosophy 39 (3):201-245.
    In Beck, focus intervention is used as an argument for reducing Hamblin’s semantics for questions to Rooth’s focus semantics. Drawing on novel empirical evidence from Mandarin and English, we argue that this reduction is unwarranted. Maintaining both Hamblin’s original semantics and Rooth’s focus semantics not only allows for a more adequate account for focus intervention in questions, but also correctly predicts that focus intervention is a very general phenomenon caused by interaction of alternatives in different dimensions.
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  • (In)Definiteness, Polarity, and the Role of wh-morphology in Free Choice.Anastasia Giannakidou & Lisa Cheng - 2006 - Journal of Semantics 23 (2):135-183.
    In this paper we reconsider the issue of free choice and the role of the wh-morphology employed in it. We show that the property of being an interrogative wh-word alone is not sufficient for free choice, and that semantic and sometimes even morphological definiteness is a pre-requisite for some free choice items (FCIs) in certain languages, e.g. in Greek and Mandarin Chinese. We propose a theory that explains the polarity behaviour of FCIs cross-linguistically, and allows indefinite (Giannakidou 2001) as well (...)
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  • Which judgments show weak exhaustivity? (And which don't?).B. R. George - 2013 - Natural Language Semantics 21 (4):401-427.
    This paper considers two of the most prominent kinds of evidence that have been used to argue that certain embedded questions receive weakly exhaustive interpretations. The first kind is exemplified by judgments of consistency for declarative sentences that attribute knowledge of a wh-question and ignorance of the negation of that question to the same person, and the second concerns asymmetries between the role of positive and negative information in validating question-embedding surprise ascriptions, and similar judgments for other attitudes. I argue (...)
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  • The universal density of measurement.Danny Fox & Martin Hackl - 2006 - Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (5):537 - 586.
    The notion of measurement plays a central role in human cognition. We measure people’s height, the weight of physical objects, the length of stretches of time, or the size of various collections of individuals. Measurements of height, weight, and the like are commonly thought of as mappings between objects and dense scales, while measurements of collections of individuals, as implemented for instance in counting, are assumed to involve discrete scales. It is also commonly assumed that natural language makes use of (...)
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  • Plurality effects in an exhaustification-based theory of embedded questions.Alexandre Cremers - 2018 - Natural Language Semantics 26 (3):193-251.
    Questions embedded under responsive predicates and definite descriptions both give rise to a variety of phenomena which can be grouped under the term plurality effects: quantificational variability, cumulativity, and homogeneity effects. This similarity has not gone unnoticed, and many proposals have taken inspiration in theories of definite plurals to account for these effects with embedded questions. Recently these phenomena have received less attention, as the field has focused on the so-called intermediate exhaustive reading of embedded questions instead, after Spector called (...)
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  • Experiments on the acceptability and possible readings of questions embedded under emotive-factives.Alexandre Cremers & Emmanuel Chemla - 2017 - Natural Language Semantics 25 (3):223-261.
    Emotive-factive predicates, such as surprise or be happy, are a source of empirical and theoretical puzzles in the literature on embedded questions. Although they embed wh-questions, they seem not to embed whether-questions. They have complex interactions with negative polarity items such as any or even, and they have been argued to preferentially give rise to weakly exhaustive readings with embedded questions. We offer an empirical overview of the situation in three experiments collecting acceptability judgments, monotonicity judgments, and truth-value judgments. The (...)
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  • Can we Agree About agree?Emmanuel Chemla & B. R. George - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (1):243-264.
    This squib attempts to constrain semantic theories of agree wh constructions by broadening the data set and collecting naive speakers’ intuitions. Overall, our data suggest relatively permissive truth-conditions for these constructions. They also suggest a previously undiscussed presupposition for agree wh and also indicate that agree wh is not straightforwardly reducible to agree that. Although some accounts suggest differences in truth conditions among different asymmetrical agree with constructions and symmetrical agree constructions, we do not find any indication of such truth-conditional (...)
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  • Ask, and tell as well: Question–Answer Clauses in American Sign Language.Ivano Caponigro & Kathryn Davidson - 2011 - Natural Language Semantics 19 (4):323-371.
    A construction is found in American Sign Language that we call a Question–Answer Clause. It is made of two parts: the first part looks like an interrogative clause conveying a question, while the second part resembles a declarative clause answering that question. The very same signer has to sign both, the entire construction is interpreted as truth-conditionally equivalent to a declarative sentence, and it can be uttered only under certain discourse conditions. These and other properties of Question–Answer Clauses are discussed, (...)
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  • Modified numerals and maximality.Brian Buccola & Benjamin Spector - 2016 - Linguistics and Philosophy 39 (3):151-199.
    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 (...)
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  • DegP scope revisited.Sigrid Beck - 2012 - Natural Language Semantics 20 (3):227-272.
    The semantic literature takes degree operators like the comparative, but also measure phrases, the equative, the superlative and so on, to be quantifiers over degrees. This is well motivated by their semantic contribution, but leads one to expect far more scope interaction than is actually observed. This paper proposes an alternative-semantic analysis of certain degree constructions, in particular constructions with little and other negative antonyms. Restrictions on scope can then be explained as intervention effects.
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  • Presuppositional and negative islands: a semantic account. [REVIEW]Márta Abrusán - 2011 - Natural Language Semantics 19 (3):257-321.
    This paper proposes a new explanation for the oddness of presuppositional and negative islands, as well as the puzzling observation that these islands can be obviated by certain quantificational elements. The proposal rests on two independently motivated assumptions: (i) the idea that the domain of manners contains contraries and (ii) the notion that degree expressions range over intervals. It is argued that, given these natural assumptions, presuppositional and negative islands are predicted to lead to a presupposition failure in any context.
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  • A Semantics for Degree Questions Based on Intervals: Negative Islands and Their Obviation: Articles.M. árta AbrusáN. & Benjamin Spector - 2011 - Journal of Semantics 28 (1):107-147.
    According to the standard analysis of degree questions, the logical form of a degree question contains a variable that ranges over individual degrees and is bound by the degree question operator how. In contrast with this, we claim that the variable bound by the degree question operator how does not range over individual degrees but over intervals of degrees, by analogy with Schwarzschild and Wilkinson's proposal regarding the semantics of comparative clauses. Not only does the interval-based semantics predict the existence (...)
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  • Exhaustivity in Questions with Non-Factives.Nathan Klinedinst - manuscript
    This paper is concerned with the conditions under which a person can be said to have told someone or predicted (the answer to a question like) ‘who came’.
     
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  • Wondering on and with Purpose.Daniel Drucker - 2022 - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind 2:58-84.
    I make a proposal about what wondering is and how it differs from other mental phenomena like curiosity. I argue that, though it's tempting to analyze wondering as a desire to know the answer to the question one wonders about, that would be wrong, since wondering is an activity rather than a state, i.e., something we do. I also argue that wondering about a question needn't even essentially involve a desire to know the answer to that question, even as a (...)
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  • Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 9.Emar Maier, Corien Bary & Janneke Huitink (eds.) - 2005 - Nijmegen Centre for Semantics.
  • Direct vs. indirect disjunction of wh-complements, as diagnosed by subordinating complementizers (2016).Anna Szabolcsi - manuscript
    Since the early 1980s, there has been a debate in the semantics literature pertaining to whether wh-interrogatives can be directly disjoined, as main clauses and as complements. Those who held that the direct disjunction of wh-interrogatives was in conflict with certain theoretical considerations proposed that they could be disjoined indirectly. Indirect disjunction proceeds by first lifting both wh-interrogatives and then disjoining them; it assigns matrix-level scope to OR. As we will see, the notorious theoretical need for indirect disjunction has disappeared (...)
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  • Don't Ask, Look! Linguistic Corpora as a Tool for Conceptual Analysis.Roland Bluhm - 2013 - In Migue Hoeltje, Thomas Spitzley & Wolfgang Spohn (eds.), Was dürfen wir glauben? Was sollen wir tun? Sektionsbeiträge des achten internationalen Kongresses der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie e.V. DuEPublico. pp. 7-15.
    Ordinary Language Philosophy has largely fallen out of favour, and with it the belief in the primary importance of analyses of ordinary language for philosophical purposes. Still, in their various endeavours, philosophers not only from analytic but also from other backgrounds refer to the use and meaning of terms of interest in ordinary parlance. In doing so, they most commonly appeal to their own linguistic intuitions. Often, the appeal to individual intuitions is supplemented by reference to dictionaries. In recent times, (...)
     
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  • Two Problems with the Socio-Relational Critique of Distributive Egalitarianism.Christian Seidel - 2013 - In Miguel Hoeltje, Thomas Spitzley & Wolfgang Spohn (eds.), Was dürfen wir glauben? Was sollen wir tun? Sektionsbeiträge des achten internationalen Kongresses der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie e.V. Duisburg-Essen: DuEPublico. pp. 525-535.
    Distributive egalitarians believe that distributive justice is to be explained by the idea of distributive equality (DE) and that DE is of intrinsic value. The socio-relational critique argues that distributive egalitarianism does not account for the “true” value of equality, which rather lies in the idea of “equality as a substantive social value” (ESV). This paper examines the socio-relational critique and argues that it fails because – contrary to what the critique presupposes –, first, ESV is not conceptually distinct from (...)
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  • The algebraic structure of amounts: Evidence from comparatives.Daniel Lassiter - 2010 - In T. Icard & R. Muskens (eds.), Interfaces: Explorations in Logic, Language and Computation. Springer Berlin. pp. 38--56.