What is Said?

Noûs 50 (4):759-793 (2015)
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Abstract

It is sometimes argued that certain sentences of natural language fail to express truth conditional contents. Standard examples include e.g. Tipper is ready and Steel is strong enough. In this paper, we provide a novel analysis of truth conditional meaning using the notion of a question under discussion. This account explains why these types of sentences are not, in fact, semantically underdetermined, provides a principled analysis of the process by which natural language sentences can come to have enriched meanings in context, and shows why various alternative views, e.g. so-called Radical Contextualism, Moderate Contextualism, and Semantic Minimalism, are partially right in their respective analyses of the problem, but also all ultimately wrong. Our analysis achieves this result using a standard truth conditional and compositional semantics and without making any assumptions about enriched logical forms, i.e. logical forms containing phonologically null expressions.

Author Profiles

Andreas Stokke
Uppsala University
Anders Schoubye
Stockholm University

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