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Time and modality without tenses or modals

In Renate Musan & Monika Rathert (eds.), Tense across Languages. Niemeyer. pp. 147--188 (2011)

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  1. Expectation Biases and Context Management with Negative Polar Questions.Alex Silk - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-42.
    This paper examines distinctive discourse properties of preposed negative 'yes/no' questions (NPQs), such as 'Isn’t Jane coming too?'. Unlike with other 'yes/no' questions, using an NPQ '∼p?' invariably conveys a bias toward a particular answer, where the polarity of the bias is opposite of the polarity of the question: using the negative question '∼p?' invariably expresses that the speaker previously expected the positive answer p to be correct. A prominent approach—what I call the context-management approach, developed most extensively by Romero (...)
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  • A Preference Semantics for Imperatives.William B. Starr - manuscript
    Imperative sentences like Dance! do not seem to represent the world. Recent modal analyses challenge this idea, but its intuitive and historical appeal remain strong. This paper presents three new challenges for a non-representational analysis, showing that the obstacles facing it are even steeper than previously appreciated. I will argue that the only way for the non-representationalist to meet these three challenges is to adopt a dynamic semantics. Such a dynamic semantics is proposed here: imperatives introduce preferences between alternatives. This (...)
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  • NASSLLI 2016 Dynamic Semantics (3): Indexicality.Maria Bittner - unknown
    Featured course on "Dynamic Semantics" at NASSLLI 2016. Day 3: Indexicality. Abstract: Cross-linguistic evidence shows that indexicality, too, crucially involves context change. Speaking up focuses attention on that event and thereby makes it available for discourse reference (by "i", "you", etc). In Kalaallisut, this explains parallel grammatical marking of indexical reference and topic-oriented anaphora. Moreover, shiftable indexicals in Slavey show that certain expressions, e.g. attitude verbs, may update the top perspectival discourse referent from the speech event to an attitude state.
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  • NASSLLI 2016 Dynamic Semantics (1): Introduction.Maria Bittner - unknown
    Featured course on "Dynamic Semantics" at NASSLLI 2016. Day 1: Introduction. Abstract: Dynamic semantics is a family of semantic theories that seek to explicate the intuition that saying something changes the context for what follows. We survey the development of formal semantics from static to dynamic formalisms since 1970s. Throughout, we highlight natural language phenomena that motivate dynamic semantics, and the key pre-theoretical concepts -- information state, update, and discourse referent -- which can be implemented in different ways and thus (...)
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  • Deontic Logic as a Study of Conditions of Rationality in Norm-Related Activities.Berislav Žarnić - 2016 - In Olivier Roy, Allard Tamminga & Malte Willer (eds.), Deontic Logic and Normative Systems. College Publications. pp. 272-287.
    The program put forward in von Wright's last works defines deontic logic as ``a study of conditions which must be satisfied in rational norm-giving activity'' and thus introduces the perspective of logical pragmatics. In this paper a formal explication for von Wright's program is proposed within the framework of set-theoretic approach and extended to a two-sets model which allows for the separate treatment of obligation-norms and permission norms. The three translation functions connecting the language of deontic logic with the language (...)
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  • Weak and Strong Necessity Modals: On Linguistic Means of Expressing "A Primitive Concept OUGHT".Alex Silk - forthcoming - In Meaning, Decision, and Norms: Themes from the Work of Allan Gibbard.
    This paper develops an account of the meaning of `ought', and the distinction between weak necessity modals (`ought', `should') and strong necessity modals (`must', `have to'). I argue that there is nothing specially ``strong'' about strong necessity modals per se: uses of `Must p' predicate the (deontic/epistemic/etc.) necessity of the prejacent p of the actual world (evaluation world). The apparent ``weakness'' of weak necessity modals derives from their bracketing whether the necessity of the prejacent is verified in the actual world. (...)
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  • A Uniform Theory of Conditionals.William B. Starr - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (6):1019-1064.
    A uniform theory of conditionals is one which compositionally captures the behavior of both indicative and subjunctive conditionals without positing ambiguities. This paper raises new problems for the closest thing to a uniform analysis in the literature (Stalnaker, Philosophia, 5, 269–286 (1975)) and develops a new theory which solves them. I also show that this new analysis provides an improved treatment of three phenomena (the import-export equivalence, reverse Sobel-sequences and disjunctive antecedents). While these results concern central issues in the study (...)
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  • Content in a Dynamic Context.Una Stojnić - 2019 - Noûs 53 (2):394-432.
    The standing tradition in theorizing about meaning, since at least Frege, identifies meaning with propositions, which are, or determine, the truth-conditions of a sentence in a context. But a recent trend has advocated a departure from this tradition: in particular, it has been argued that modal claims do not express standard propositional contents. This non-propositionalism has received different implementations in expressivist semantics and certain kinds of dynamic semantics. They maintain that the key aspect of interpretation of modal claims is the (...)
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  • Quantificational and Illocutionary Variability in Cheyenne.Sarah E. Murray - 2012 - In Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten (ed.), Proceedings of the Sixth Conference on the Semantics of Under-Represented Languages in the Americas and SULA-Bar. Glsa Publications. pp. 149--170.
    In this paper, I discuss the quantificational variability of Cheyenne indeterminates: the variety of interpretations they can receive and the grammatical contexts that condition these interpretations. Building on analyses of indeterminates in other languages, such as Kratzer and Shimoyama (2002), I present a Hamblin-style analysis of Cheyenne indeter- minates. The proposal builds on the analysis of declaratives and interrogatives argued for in Murray (2010). This analysis can account for the quantificational variability of indeterminates in the scope of propositional operators as (...)
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  • Varieties of Update.Sarah E. Murray - 2014 - Semantics and Pragmatics 7 (2):1--53.
    This paper discusses three potential varieties of update: updates to the common ground, structuring updates, and updates that introduce discourse referents. These different types of update are used to model different aspects of natural language phenomena. Not-at-issue information directly updates the common ground. The illocutionary mood of a sentence structures the context. Other updates introduce discourse referents of various types, including propositional discourse referents for at-issue information. Distinguishing these types of update allows a unified treatment of a broad range of (...)
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  • Temporal Interpretation in Hausa.Anne Mucha - 2013 - Linguistics and Philosophy 36 (5):371-415.
    This paper provides a formal analysis of the grammatical encoding of temporal information in Hausa (Chadic, Afro-Asiatic), thereby contributing to the recent debate on temporality in languages without overt tense morphology. By testing the hypothesis of covert tense against recently obtained empirical data, the study yields the result that Hausa is tenseless and that temporal reference is pragmatically inferred from aspectual, modal and contextual information. The second part of the paper addresses the coding of future in particular. It is shown (...)
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  • How to Embed an Epistemic Modal: Attitude Problems and Other Defects of Character.Alex Silk - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (7):1773-1799.
    This paper develops a contextualist account of certain recalcitrant embedding phenomena with epistemic modals. I focus on three prominent objections to contextualism from embedding: first, that contextualism mischaracterizes subjects’ states of mind; second, that contextualism fails to predict how epistemic modals are obligatorily linked to the subject in attitude ascriptions; and third, that contextualism fails to explain the persisting anomalousness of so-called “epistemic contradictions” in suppositional contexts. Contextualists have inadequately appreciated the force of these objections. Drawing on a more general (...)
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