What ‘must’ adds

Linguistics and Philosophy 42 (3):225-266 (2019)
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There is a difference between the conditions in which one can felicitously use a ‘must’-claim like and those in which one can use the corresponding claim without the ‘must’, as in : $$\begin{aligned}&\hbox {} \,\,\quad \hbox {a. It must be raining out}.\\&\qquad \,\,\, \hbox {b. It is raining out}. \end{aligned}$$It is difficult to pin down just what this difference amounts to. And it is difficult to account for this difference, since assertions of \Must p\ and assertions of p alone seem to have the same basic goal: namely, communicating that p is true. In this paper I give a new account of the conversational role of ‘must’. I begin by arguing that a ‘must’-claim is felicitous only if there is a shared argument for the proposition it embeds. I then argue that this generalization, which I call Support, can explain the more familiar generalization that ‘must’-claims are felicitous only if the speaker’s evidence for them is in some sense indirect. Finally, I propose a pragmatic derivation of Support as a manner implicature.
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First archival date: 2018-09-27
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