Restrictions on Quantifier Domains

Dissertation, University of Massachusetts at Amherst (1994)
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This dissertation investigates the ways in which natural language restricts the domains of quantifiers. Adverbs of quantification are analyzed as quantifying over situations. The domain of quantifiers is pragmatically constrained: apparent processes of "semantic partition" are treated as pragmatic epiphenomena. The introductory Chapter 1 sketches some of the background of work on natural language quantification and begins the analysis of adverbial quantification over situations. Chapter 2 develops the central picture of "semantic partition" as a side-effect of pragmatic processes of anaphora resolution. I argue that the apparent effects of topic/focus articulation and presuppositional information on the interpretation of quantifiers are not the result of a direct and local mechanism of sentence grammar. Instead, I develop an analysis where the link is established via the anaphoric dependence of quantifier domains on the discourse context. Chapter 3 discusses the analysis of conditional clauses as quantifier restrictors, concentrating on the question whether conditional clauses restrict quantifiers directly or indirectly. A treatment is explored which has if-clauses constrain the value of the hidden domain variable of the restricted quantifier. Chapter 4, on unless-clauses, and Chapter 5, on only if- and even if-clauses, present some issues in the compositional analysis of complex conditional clauses. These chapters significantly expand the data coverage of the theory of A-quantification. Building on previous work of mine on exceptives, I analyze unless-clauses as exceptive operators on A-quantifiers. The analysis of only if-clauses, treated as conditional clauses that combine if with the focus adverb only, unearthes some interesting new properties. Chapter 6, finally, examines the phenomenon of donkey-anaphora in the light of the results of the previous chapters. I show that a solution to the proportion problem may become possible once we combine the situation-semantic approach to adverbial quantification with the pragmatic theory developed in Chapter 2 and further elaborated in the analysis of donkey anaphora in complex conditionals



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Kai von Fintel
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
Situations and attitudes.Jon Barwise & John Perry - 1981 - Journal of Philosophy 78 (11):668-691.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):278-279.

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