Clause-Type, Force, and Normative Judgment in the Semantics of Imperatives

In Daniel Fogal, Daniel W. Harris & Matt Moss (eds.), New Work on Speech Acts. Oxford University Press. pp. 67–98 (2018)
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Abstract

I argue that imperatives express contents that are both cognitively and semantically related to, but nevertheless distinct from, modal propositions. Imperatives, on this analysis, semantically encode features of planning that are modally specified. Uttering an imperative amounts to tokening this feature in discourse, and thereby proffering it for adoption by the audience. This analysis deals smoothly with the problems afflicting Portner's Dynamic Pragmatic account and Kaufmann's Modal account. It also suggests an appealing reorientation of clause-type theorizing, in which the cognitive act of updating on a typed sentence plays a central role in theorizing about both its semantics and role in discourse.

Author's Profile

Nate Charlow
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

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