Linguistics and Philosophy 37 (1):41-90 (2014)

Recent research has shown that the superlative quantifiers at least and at most do not have the same type of truth conditions as the comparative quantifiers more than and fewer than. We propose that superlative quantifiers are interpreted at the level of speech acts. We relate them to denegations of speech acts, as in I don’t promise to come, which we analyze as excluding the speech act of a promise to come. Calling such conversational acts that affect future permissible speech acts “meta-speech acts,” we introduce the meta-speech act of a GRANT of a proposition as a denial to assert the negation of that proposition. Superlative quantifiers are analyzed as quantifiers over GRANTS. Thus, John petted at least three rabbits means that the minimal number n such that the speaker GRANTs the proposition that John petted n rabbits is n = 3. We formalize this interpretation in terms of commitment states and commitment spaces, and show how the truth conditions that are derived from it are partly entailed and partly conversationally implicated. We demonstrate how the theory accounts for a wide variety of distributional phenomena of superlative quantifiers, including the contexts in which they can be embedded
Keywords Superlative quantifiers  At least  At most  Speech acts  Meta speech acts  Commitment development spaces  GRANT  Denegation  Conversational implicature  Embedded speech acts
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DOI 10.1007/s10988-014-9144-x
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References found in this work BETA

The Language of Thought.Jerry A. Fodor - 1975 - Harvard University Press.
Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John Rogers Searle - 1969 - Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
The Language of Thought.J. A. Fodor - 1978 - Critica 10 (28):140-143.
Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John Searle - 1969 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 4 (1):59-61.

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Citations of this work BETA

Modelling Questions in Commitment Spaces.Manfred Krifka - 2021 - In Moritz Cordes (ed.), Asking and Answering: Rivalling Approaches to Interrogative Methods. Tübingen: Narr Francke Attempto. pp. 63–95.
Force and Choice.Sam Carter - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-38.
Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 9.Emar Maier, Corien Bary & Janneke Huitink (eds.) - 2005 - Nijmegen Centre for Semantics.

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