When aspect matters: the case of would-conditionals [Book Review]

Natural Language Semantics 15 (3):221-264 (2007)
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Abstract

Differences in the interpretation of would-conditionals with simple (perfective) and perfect antecedent clauses are marked enough to discourage a unified view. However, this paper presents a unified, Lewis–Stalnaker style semantics for the modal in such constructions. Differences in the interpretation of the conditionals are derived from the interaction between the interpretation of different types of aspect and the modal. The paper makes a distinction between perfective and perfect aspect in terms of whether they make reference to or quantify over Lewis-style events. In making reference to Lewis-events, perfective aspect is shown to be incompatible with counterfactual would-conditionals. The so-called ‘epistemic flavor’ of perfective conditionals about the future is derived from the use of diagonalization as an interpretive strategy called upon to resolve reference

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Citations of this work

A Uniform Theory of Conditionals.William B. Starr - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (6):1019-1064.
Prolegomena to a theory of X-marking.Kai von Fintel & Sabine Iatridou - 2023 - Linguistics and Philosophy 46 (6):1467-1510.
On similarity in counterfactuals.Ana Arregui - 2009 - Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (3):245-278.

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References found in this work

Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Malden, Mass.: Blackwell.
Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
Philosophical papers.David Kellogg Lewis - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Themes From Kaplan.Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.) - 1989 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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