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  1. Epistemic Comparison, Models of Uncertainty, and the Disjunction Puzzle.D. Lassiter - 2015 - Journal of Semantics 32 (4):649-684.
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  • Generalized Update Semantics.Simon Goldstein - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):795-835.
    This paper explores the relationship between dynamic and truth conditional semantics for epistemic modals. It provides a generalization of a standard dynamic update semantics for modals. This new semantics derives a Kripke semantics for modals and a standard dynamic semantics for modals as special cases. The semantics allows for new characterizations of a variety of principles in modal logic, including the inconsistency of ‘p and might not p’. Finally, the semantics provides a construction procedure for transforming any truth conditional semantics (...)
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  • Measure Phrase Equatives and Modified Numerals.Jessica Rett - 2015 - Journal of Semantics 32 (3):425-475.
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  • Thick Concepts and Variability.Pekka Väyrynen - 2011 - Philosophers' Imprint 11:1-17.
    Some philosophers hold that so-called "thick" terms and concepts in ethics (such as 'cruel,' 'selfish,' 'courageous,' and 'generous') are contextually variable with respect to the valence (positive or negative) of the evaluations that they may be used to convey. Some of these philosophers use this variability claim to argue that thick terms and concepts are not inherently evaluative in meaning; rather their use conveys evaluations as a broadly pragmatic matter. I argue that one sort of putative examples of contextual variability (...)
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  • Know-How and Gradability.Carlotta Pavese - 2017 - Philosophical Review 126 (3):345-383.
    Orthodoxy has it that knowledge is absolute—that is, it cannot come in degrees. On the other hand, there seems to be strong evidence for the gradability of know-how. Ascriptions of know-how are gradable, as when we say that one knows in part how to do something, or that one knows how to do something better than somebody else. When coupled with absolutism, the gradability of ascriptions of know-how can be used to mount a powerful argument against intellectualism about know-how—the view (...)
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  • Technical Addendum to ``Know How and Gradability".Pavese Carlotta - 2017 - Philpapers.
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  • Superlative Expressions, Context, and Focus.Yael Sharvit & Penka Stateva - 2002 - Linguistics and Philosophy 25 (4):453-504.
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  • Comparative Quantifiers and Negation: Implications for Scope Economy.N. Fleisher - 2015 - Journal of Semantics 32 (1):139-171.
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  • WHAT More IS.Alexis Wellwood - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives.
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  • Against Grammatical Computation of Scalar Implicatures.B. Russell - 2006 - Journal of Semantics 23 (4):361-382.
    Recently, several authors have argued that Gricean theories of scalar implicature computation are inadequate, and, as an alternative, one author has proposed a grammatical system for computing scalar implicatures. The present paper provides arguments, counter to the claims of these authors, that Gricean reasoning can account for the implicatures of certain complex sentences and does not generate undesirable implicatures for others. Moreover, it is shown that a putative advantage of grammatical scalar implicature computation, that it informs a theory of intervention (...)
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  • The Comparative and Degree Pluralities.Jakub Dotlačil & Rick Nouwen - 2016 - Natural Language Semantics 24 (1):45-78.
    Quantifiers in phrasal and clausal comparatives often seem to take distributive scope in the matrix clause: for instance, the sentence John is taller than every girl is is true iff for every girl it holds that John is taller than that girl. Broadly speaking, two approaches exist that derive this reading without postulating the wide scope of the quantifier: the negation analysis and the interval analysis of than-clauses. We propose a modification of the interval analysis in which than-clauses are not (...)
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  • Indefinites in Comparatives.Maria Aloni & Floris Roelofsen - 2014 - Natural Language Semantics 22 (2):145-167.
    The goal of this paper is to explain the meaning and distribution of indefinites in comparatives, focusing on English some and any and German irgend-indefinites. We consider three competing theories of comparatives in combination with an alternative semantics of some and any, and a novel account of stressed irgend-indefinites. One of the resulting accounts, based on Heim’s analysis of comparatives, predicts all the relevant differences in quantificational force, and explains why free choice indefinites are licensed in comparatives.
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  • Degreeless Comparatives: The Semantics of Differential Verbal Comparatives in Mandarin Chinese.Xiao Li - 2015 - Journal of Semantics 32 (1):fft013.
    This article studies a type of comparative in Mandarin Chinese, which has rarely been discussed in the literature (Cheng 1966). I refer to them as Differential Verbal Comparatives (DVCs). I show that DVCs, unlike Chinese adjectival and adverbial comparatives, allow differentials that are definite DPs, for example, Jane Eyre he Pride and Prejudice ‘Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice’. Based on this fact and other empirical differences between DVCs and adjectival/adverbial comparatives in Mandarin Chinese, I motivate and develop a mapping-based (...)
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  • The Degree Functions of Negative Adjectives.Galit Weidman Sassoon - 2010 - Natural Language Semantics 18 (2):141-181.
    This paper provides a new account of positive versus negative antonyms. The data includes well-known linguistic generalizations regarding negative adjectives, such as their incompatibility with measure phrases (cf. two meters tall/ *short) and ratio phrases (twice as tall/ #short) as well as the impossibility of truly crosspolar comparisons (*Dan is taller than Sam is short). These generalizations admit a variety of exceptions, e.g., positive adjectives that do not license measure phrases (cf. #two degrees warm/cold) and rarely also negative adjectives that (...)
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  • Slim Epistemology with a Thick Skin.Pekka Väyrynen - 2008 - Philosophical Papers 37 (3):389-412.
    The distinction between “thick” and “thin” value concepts, and its importance to ethical theory, has been an active topic in recent meta-ethics. This paper defends three claims regarding the parallel issue about thick and thin epistemic concepts. (1) Analogy with ethics offers no straightforward way to establish a good, clear distinction between thick and thin epistemic concepts. (2) Assuming there is such a distinction, there are no semantic grounds for assigning thick epistemic concepts priority over the thin. (3) Nor does (...)
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  • Degree Structure as Trope Structure: A Trope-Based Analysis of Positive and Comparative Adjectives.Friederike Moltmann - 2009 - Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (1):51-94.
    This paper explores a novel analysis of adjectives in the comparative and the positive based on the notion of a trope, rather than the notion of a degree. Tropes are particularized properties, concrete manifestations of properties in individuals. The point of departure is that a sentence like ‘John is happier than Mary’ is intuitively equivalent to ‘John’s happiness exceeds Mary’s happiness’, a sentence that expresses a simple comparison between two tropes, John’s happiness and Mary’s happiness. The analysis received particular support (...)
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  • The Logicality of Language: A New Take on Triviality, “Ungrammaticality”, and Logical Form.Guillermo Del Pinal - 2017 - Noûs.
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  • Cross-World Comparatives for Modal Realists.Robert Michels - 2018 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 25 (3):368-391.
    Divers (2014) argues that a Lewisian theory of modality which includes both counterpart theory and modal realism cannot account for the truth of certain intuitively true modal sentences involving cross-world comparatives. The main purpose of this paper is to defend the Lewisian theory against Divers’s challenge by developing a response strategy based on a degree-theoretic treatment of comparatives and by showing that this treatment is compatible with the theory.
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  • On Linking Dispositions and Conditionals.David Manley & Ryan Wasserman - 2008 - Mind 117 (465):59-84.
    Analyses of dispositional ascriptions in terms of conditional statements famously confront the problems of finks and masks. We argue that conditional analyses of dispositions, even those tailored to avoid finks and masks, face five further problems. These are the problems of: (i) Achilles' heels, (ii) accidental closeness, (iii) comparatives, (iv) explaining context sensitivity, and (v) absent stimulus conditions. We conclude by offering a proposal that avoids all seven of these problems.
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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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  • Decomposing Notions of Adjectival Transitivity in Navajo.Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten - 2013 - Natural Language Semantics 21 (3):277-314.
    Points of variation manifested by adjectives crosslinguistically have received much recent attention in the literature. This paper argues that one way in which adjectives may differ is in their projection of a degree argument position in the syntax. Under standard analyses of adjectival meaning, semantic transitivity implies syntactic transitivity. However, the Navajo data presented in this paper suggests that while all Navajo adjectives have a degree argument in their semantics, syntactic projection of the degree argument is only licensed by special (...)
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  • How to Be Universal When You Are Existential: Negative Polarity Items in the Comparative: Entailment Along a Scale.A. Zepter - 2003 - Journal of Semantics 20 (2):193-237.
    Fauconnier (1975a) noticed that existential quantification, if it is related to a scale endpoint, can force entailment along the scale and as such have the effect of universal quantification: assume a partially ordered set (X, ⪰) and a predicate Ø such that for all x, y ∈ X, x ⪰ y, if Ø is true of x, it is also true of y; then if there exists an element z that is ordered before all other elements and Ø(z) is true, (...)
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  • Constructing Concessive Conditionals: In Case of Japanese.Ai Matsui - 2009 - In Arndt Riester & Torgrim Solstad (eds.), Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 13.
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  • The Meaning of Too, Enough, and So... That.Cécile Meier - 2003 - Natural Language Semantics 11 (1):69-107.
    In this paper, I provide a compositional semantics for sentences with enough and too followed by a to-infinitive clause and for resultative constructions with so... that within the framework of possible world semantics. It is proposed that the sentential complement of these constructions denotes an incomplete conditional and is explicitly or implicitly modalized, as if it were the consequent of a complete conditional. Enough, too, and so are quantifiers that relate an extent predicate and the incomplete conditional (expressed by the (...)
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  • Syntax and Semantics: An Overview.Arnim von Stechow - 2012 - In Klaus von Heusinger, Claudia Maienborn & Paul Portner (eds.), Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning. De Gruyter Mouton.
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  • Times as Degrees: Früh(Er) 'Early(Er)' , Spät(Er) 'Late(R)', and Phase Adverbs.Arnim von Stechow - unknown
    There is a rich literature about the temporal conjunctions before/after, but at the time I gave the talk that underlies this paper I was not aware of any analysis of the temporal comparatives früher/später ‘earlier/later’, which may be used to express similar states of affairs, but are constructed differently.2 Recently I got acquainted with the del Prete’s thesis about It. prima/dopo, which analyses prima as a comparative and dopo as a preposition.3 This is the only paper known to me that (...)
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  • The Temporal Degree Adjectives FrÜH(Er)/ SpÄT(Er).Arnim von Stechow - unknown
    There is a rich literature about the temporal conjunctions before/after, but at the time I gave the talk that underlies this paper I was not aware of any analysis of the temporal comparatives früher/später ‘earlier/later’, which may be used to express similar states of affairs, but are constructed differently.2 Recently I became acquainted with del Prete’s thesis about It. prima/dopo, which analyses prima as a comparative and dopo as a preposition.3 This is the only paper known to me that goes (...)
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  • Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 9.Emar Maier, Corien Bary & Janneke Huitink (eds.) - 2005 - Nijmegen Centre for Semantics.
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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.
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  • A Unified Account of Distributivity, for -Adverbials, and Pseudopartitives.Lucas Champollion - unknown
    This paper presents a diagnostic for identifying distributive constructions and shows that it applies to pseudopartitives and for -adverbials. On this basis, a unified account is proposed for the parallels between the constructions involved. This account explains why for -adverbials reject telic predicates (*run to the store for five hours), why pseudopartitives reject count nouns (*five pounds of book ), and why both reject certain measure functions like temperature and speed (*30 of water, *drive for 5 mph). These restrictions all (...)
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  • Modal Superlatives And 3-Place Vs. 2-Place -Est.Maribel Romero - 2011 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 6:10.
    Superlative sentences with modal modifiers like possible give rise to the so-called 'modal superlative reading' . The present paper uses this reading to investigate an open issue in degree constructions: whereas two different lexical entries have been argued to exist for the comparative morpheme -er , it is not clear whether two entries are needed for the superlative morpheme -est. The paper argues that, with 3-place –est, otherwise unmotivated syntactic material would to have to be postulated and that, even with (...)
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  • Measurement Theory in Linguistics.Galit Weidman Sassoon - 2010 - Synthese 174 (1):151-180.
    This paper presents a novel semantic analysis of unit names (like pound and meter) and gradable adjectives (like tall, short and happy), inspired by measurement theory (Krantz et al. In Foundations of measurement: Additive and Polynomial Representations, 1971). Based on measurement theory’s four-way typology of measures, I claim that different adjectives are associated with different types of measures whose special characteristics, together with features of the relations denoted by unit names, explain the puzzling limited distribution of measure phrases, as well (...)
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  • Individual-Denoting Classifiers.Mana Kobuchi-Philip - 2007 - Natural Language Semantics 15 (2):95-130.
    This paper discusses Japanese numeral quantifiers that are used to count individuals, rather than quantities, of a substance, and which may occur either as floated or non-floated quantifiers. It is argued that such morphologically complex numeral quantifiers (NQs) are semantically complex as well: The numeral within the NQ is the quantifier itself, the classifier its domain of quantification. The proposed analysis offers a unified semantic account of floated and non-floated NQs that adheres closely to their surface morphology and syntax. It (...)
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  • Dispositions and Generics.Ryan Wasserman - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):425-453.
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  • More Than Two Quantifiers.Shoichi Takahashi - 2006 - Natural Language Semantics 14 (1):57-101.
    Comparative quantifiers, such as more than three books, cannot take scope over any quantifier in subject position if they occupy object position. This is clearly different from the behavior of other quantifiers (e.g., universal quantifiers). This paper argues that this scope puzzle is due to a more complex internal structure of comparative quantifiers than other quantifiers. In the decompositional approach that I pursue, comparative quantifiers are decomposed into two generalized quantifiers (i.e., in the case above, the comparative operator er than (...)
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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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  • Measurement in the Nominal and Verbal Domains.Kimiko Nakanishi - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (2):235 - 276.
    This paper examines some aspects of the grammar of measurement based on data from non-split and split measure phrase (MP) constructions in Japanese. I claim that the non-split MP construction involves measurement of individuals, while the split MP construction involves measurement of events as well as of individuals. This claim is based on the observation that, while both constructions are subject to some semantic restrictions in the nominal domain, only the split MP construction is sensitive to restrictions in the verbal (...)
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  • On the Semantics of Comparison Across Categories.Alexis Wellwood - 2015 - Linguistics and Philosophy 38 (1):67-101.
    This paper explores the hypothesis that all comparative sentences— nominal, verbal, and adjectival—contain instances of a single morpheme that compositionally introduces degrees. This morpheme, sometimes pronounced much, semantically contributes a structure-preserving map from entities, events, or states, to their measures along various dimensions. A major goal of the paper is to argue that the differences in dimensionality observed across domains are a consequence of what is measured, as opposed to which expression introduces the measurement. The resulting theory has a number (...)
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  • Modal Superlatives: A Compositional Analysis. [REVIEW]Maribel Romero - 2013 - Natural Language Semantics 21 (1):79-110.
    Superlative adjectives accompanied by certain modal adjectives like possible (e.g. John bought the largest possible present) are ambiguous between a reading where possible is a regular noun modifier and a reading paraphrasable as ‘as Adj as possible’, called ‘modal superlative reading’. Three interesting restrictions have been observed in the literature. First, possible and some other adjectives ending in -able, but not potential and probable, support the latter reading. Second, when the modal adjective appears postnominally, only the modal superlative reading is (...)
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  • The Good, the ‘Not Good’, and the ‘Not Pretty’: Negation in the Negative Predicates of Tlingit.Seth Cable - 2018 - Natural Language Semantics 26 (3-4):281-335.
    This paper develops and defends a semantic/syntactic analysis of a curious set of negative gradable predicates in the Tlingit language, and shows that the analysis has some important consequences concerning the range of crosslinguistic variation in degree constructions. In Tlingit, certain negative gradable predicates are formed by negating a positive root and then applying an additional morphological operation: e.g. k’éi ‘good’, tlél ukʼé ‘not good’, tlél ushké ‘bad’. I show that the negation in forms like tlél ushké ‘bad’ is VP-external, (...)
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  • A Gradable Approach to Dispositions.David Manley & Ryan Wasserman - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (226):68–75.
    Previous theories of the relationship between dispositions and conditionals are unable to account for the fact that dispositions come in degrees. We propose a fix for this problem that has the added benefit of avoiding the classic problems of finks and masks.
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  • No More Shall We Part: Quantifiers in English Comparatives.Peter Alrenga & Christopher Kennedy - 2014 - Natural Language Semantics 22 (1):1-53.
    It is well known that the interpretation of quantificational expressions in the comparative clause poses a serious challenge for semantic analyses of the English comparative. In this paper, we develop a new analysis of the comparative clause designed to meet this challenge, in which a silent occurrence of the negative degree quantifier no interacts with other quantificational expressions to derive the observed range of interpretations. Although our analysis incorporates ideas from previous analyses, we show that it is able to account (...)
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