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  1. Oddness, Modularity, and Exhaustification.Guillermo Del Pinal - 2021 - Natural Language Semantics 29 (1):115-158.
    According to the `grammatical account', scalar implicatures are triggered by a covert exhaustification operator present in logical form. This account covers considerable empirical ground, but there is a peculiar pattern that resists treatment given its usual implementation. The pattern centers on odd assertions like #"Most lions are mammals" and #"Some Italians come from a beautiful country", which seem to trigger implicatures in contexts where the enriched readings conflict with information in the common ground. Magri (2009, 2011) argues that, to account (...)
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  • Obligatory Irrelevance and the Computation of Ignorance Inferences.Brian Buccola & Andreas Haida - 2019 - Journal of Semantics 36 (4):583-616.
    In recent work, Fox has argued, on the basis of both empirical and conceptual considerations, that relevance is closed under speaker belief: if $\phi $ is relevant, then it’s also relevant whether the speaker believes $\phi $. We provide a formally explicit implementation of this idea and explore its theoretical consequences and empirical predictions. As Fox already observes, one consequence is that ignorance inferences can only be derived in grammar, via a covert belief operator of the sort proposed by Meyer. (...)
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  • Epistemic Modals.Seth Yalcin - 2007 - Mind 116 (464):983-1026.
    Epistemic modal operators give rise to something very like, but also very unlike, Moore's paradox. I set out the puzzling phenomena, explain why a standard relational semantics for these operators cannot handle them, and recommend an alternative semantics. A pragmatics appropriate to the semantics is developed and interactions between the semantics, the pragmatics, and the definition of consequence are investigated. The semantics is then extended to probability operators. Some problems and prospects for probabilistic representations of content and context are explored.
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  • On the Characterization of Alternatives.Danny Fox & Roni Katzir - 2011 - Natural Language Semantics 19 (1):87-107.
    We present an argument for revising the theory of alternatives for Scalar Implicatures and for Association with Focus. We argue that in both cases the alternatives are determined in the same way, as a contextual restriction of the focus value of the sentence, which, in turn, is defined in structure-sensitive terms. We provide evidence that contextual restriction is subject to a constraint that prevents it from discriminating between alternatives when they stand in a particular logical relationship with the assertion or (...)
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  • On the Event Relativity of Modal Auxiliaries.Valentine Hacquard - 2010 - Natural Language Semantics 18 (1):79-114.
    Crosslinguistically, the same modal words can be used to express a wide range of interpretations. This crosslinguistic trend supports a Kratzerian analysis, where each modal has a core lexical entry and where the difference between an epistemic and a root interpretation is contextually determined. A long-standing problem for such a unified account is the equally robust crosslinguistic correlation between a modal’s interpretation and its syntactic behavior: epistemics scope high (in particular higher than tense and aspect) and roots low, a fact (...)
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  • Clarity and the Grammar of Skepticism.Chris Barker - 2009 - Mind and Language 24 (3):253-273.
    Why ever assert clarity? If It is clear that p is true, then saying so should be at best superfluous. Barker and Taranto (2003) and Taranto (2006) suggest that asserting clarity reveals information about the beliefs of the discourse participants, specifically, that they both believe that p . However, mutual belief is not sufficient to guarantee clarity ( It is clear that God exists ). I propose instead that It is clear that p means instead (roughly) 'the publicly available evidence (...)
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  • Probability Operators.Seth Yalcin - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (11):916-37.
    This is a study in the meaning of natural language probability operators, sentential operators such as probably and likely. We ask what sort of formal structure is required to model the logic and semantics of these operators. Along the way we investigate their deep connections to indicative conditionals and epistemic modals, probe their scalar structure, observe their sensitivity to contex- tually salient contrasts, and explore some of their scopal idiosyncrasies.
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  • What It Takes to Believe.Daniel Rothschild - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (5):1345-1362.
    Much linguistic evidence supports the view believing something only requires thinking it likely. I assess and reject a rival view, based on recent work on homogeneity in natural language, according to which belief is a strong, demanding attitude. I discuss the implications of the linguistic considerations about ‘believe’ for our philosophical accounts of belief.
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  • Dynamics of Epistemic Modality.Malte Willer - 2013 - Philosophical Review 122 (1):45-92.
    A dynamic semantics for epistemically modalized sentences is an attractive alternative to the orthodox view that our best theory of meaning ascribes to such sentences truth-conditions relative to what is known. This essay demonstrates that a dynamic theory about might and must offers elegant explanations of a range of puzzling observations about epistemic modals. The first part of the story offers a unifying treatment of disputes about epistemic modality and disputes about matters of fact while at the same time avoiding (...)
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  • Omissive Implicature.Eric Swanson - 2017 - Philosophical Topics 45 (2):117-137.
    In some contexts, not saying S generates a conversational implicature: that the speaker didn’t have sufficient reason, all things considered, to say S. I call this an omissive implicature. Standard ways of thinking about conversational implicature make the importance and even the existence of omissive implicatures somewhat surprising. But I argue that there is no principled reason to deny that there are such implicatures, and that they help explain a range of important phenomena. This paper focuses on the roles omissive (...)
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  • Probabilistic Knowledge.Sarah Moss - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    Traditional philosophical discussions of knowledge have focused on the epistemic status of full beliefs. In this book, Moss argues that in addition to full beliefs, credences can constitute knowledge. For instance, your .4 credence that it is raining outside can constitute knowledge, in just the same way that your full beliefs can. In addition, you can know that it might be raining, and that if it is raining then it is probably cloudy, where this knowledge is not knowledge of propositions, (...)
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  • Context.Robert Stalnaker - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Robert Stalnaker explores the contexts in which speech takes place, the ways we represent them, and the roles they play in explaining the interpretation and dynamics of speech. His central thesis is the autonomy of pragmatics: the independence of theory about structure and function of discourse from theory about mechanisms serving those functions.
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  • Blindness, Short-Sightedness, and Hirschberg’s Contextually Ordered Alternatives: A Reply to Schlenker (2012).Giorgio Magri - forthcoming - In Linguistic and Psycholinguistic Approaches on Implicatures and Presuppositions. Palgrave.
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  • Relational Semantics and Domain Semantics for Epistemic Modals.Dilip Ninan - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (1):1-16.
    The standard account of modal expressions in natural language analyzes them as quantifiers over a set of possible worlds determined by the evaluation world and an accessibility relation. A number of authors have recently argued for an alternative account according to which modals are analyzed as quantifying over a domain of possible worlds that is specified directly in the points of evaluation. But the new approach only handles the data motivating it if it is supplemented with a non-standard account of (...)
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  • Must, Knowledge, and (in)Directness.Daniel Lassiter - 2016 - Natural Language Semantics 24 (2):117-163.
    This paper presents corpus and experimental data that problematize the traditional analysis of must as a strong necessity modal, as recently revived and defended by von Fintel and Gillies :351–383, 2010). I provide naturalistic examples showing that must p can be used alongside an explicit denial of knowledge of p or certainty in p, and that it can be conjoined with an expression indicating that p is not certain or that not-p is possible. I also report the results of an (...)
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  • Still Going Strong.Kai von Fintel & Anthony S. Gillies - manuscript
    In "*Must* ...stay ...strong!" (von Fintel & Gillies 2010) we set out to slay a dragon, or rather what we called The Mantra: that epistemic *must* has a modal force weaker than expected from standard modal logic, that it doesn't entail its prejacent, and that the best explanation for the evidential feel of *must* is a pragmatic explanation. We argued that all three sub-mantras are wrong and offered an explanation according to which *must* is strong, entailing, and the felt indirectness (...)
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  • A Theory of Individual-Level Predicates Based on Blind Mandatory Scalar Implicatures.Giorgio Magri - 2009 - Natural Language Semantics 17 (3):245-297.
    Predicates such as tall or to know Latin, which intuitively denote permanent properties, are called individual-level predicates. Many peculiar properties of this class of predicates have been noted in the literature. One such property is that we cannot say #John is sometimes tall. Here is a way to account for this property: this sentence sounds odd because it triggers the scalar implicature that the alternative John is always tall is false, which cannot be, given that, if John is sometimes tall, (...)
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  • Must . . . Stay . . . Strong!Kai von Fintel & Anthony S. Gillies - 2010 - Natural Language Semantics 18 (4):351-383.
    It is a recurring mantra that epistemic must creates a statement that is weaker than the corresponding flat-footed assertion: It must be raining vs. It’s raining. Contrary to classic discussions of the phenomenon such as by Karttunen, Kratzer, and Veltman, we argue that instead of having a weak semantics, must presupposes the presence of an indirect inference or deduction rather than of a direct observation. This is independent of the strength of the claim being made. Epistemic must is therefore quite (...)
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  • Epistemic Modals Are Assessment-Sensitive.John MacFarlane - 2011 - In Andy Egan & Brian Weatherson (eds.), Epistemic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    By “epistemic modals,” I mean epistemic uses of modal words: adverbs like “necessarily,” “possibly,” and “probably,” adjectives like “necessary,” “possible,” and “probable,” and auxiliaries like “might,” “may,” “must,” and “could.” It is hard to say exactly what makes a word modal, or what makes a use of a modal epistemic, without begging the questions that will be our concern below, but some examples should get the idea across. If I say “Goldbach’s conjecture might be true, and it might be false,” (...)
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  • The Application of Constraint Semantics to the Language of Subjective Uncertainty.Eric Swanson - 2016 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 45 (2):121-146.
    This paper develops a compositional, type-driven constraint semantic theory for a fragment of the language of subjective uncertainty. In the particular application explored here, the interpretation function of constraint semantics yields not propositions but constraints on credal states as the semantic values of declarative sentences. Constraints are richer than propositions in that constraints can straightforwardly represent assessments of the probability that the world is one way rather than another. The richness of constraints helps us model communicative acts in essentially the (...)
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  • Presupposed free choice and the theory of scalar implicatures.Paul Marty & Jacopo Romoli - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-62.
    A disjunctive sentence like Olivia took Logic or Algebra conveys that Olivia didn’t take both classes and that the speaker doesn’t know which of the two classes she took. The corresponding sentence with a possibility modal, Olivia can take Logic or Algebra, conveys instead that she can take Logic and that she can take Algebra. These exclusivity, ignorance and free choice inferences are argued by many to be scalar implicatures. Recent work has looked at cases in which exclusivity and ignorance (...)
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  • Conceptual alternatives.Brian Buccola, Manuel Križ & Emmanuel Chemla - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-27.
    Things we can say, and the ways in which we can say them, compete with one another. And this has consequences: words we decide not to pronounce have critical effects on the messages we end up conveying. For instance, in saying Chris is a good teacher, we may convey that Chris is not an amazing teacher. How this happens is an unsolvable problem, unless a theory of alternatives indicates what counts, among all the things that have not been pronounced. It (...)
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  • Structurally Defined Alternatives and Lexicalizations of XOR.Eric Swanson - 2010 - Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (1):31-36.
    In his recent paper on the symmetry problem Roni Katzir argues that the only relevant factor for the calculation of any Quantity implicature is syntactic structure. I first refute Katzir’s thesis with three examples that show that structural complexity is irrelevant to the calculation of some Quantity implicatures. I then argue that it is inadvisable to assume—as Katzir and others do—that exactly one factor is relevant to the calculation of any Quantity implicature.
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  • Judge Dependence, Epistemic Modals, and Predicates of Personal Taste.Tamina Stephenson - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (4):487--525.
    Predicates of personal taste (fun, tasty) and epistemic modals (might, must) share a similar analytical difficulty in determining whose taste or knowledge is being expressed. Accordingly, they have parallel behavior in attitude reports and in a certain kind of disagreement. On the other hand, they differ in how freely they can be linked to a contextually salient individual, with epistemic modals being much more restricted in this respect. I propose an account of both classes using Lasersohn’s (Linguistics and Philosophy 28: (...)
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  • What ‘Must’ Adds.Matthew Mandelkern - 2019 - Linguistics and Philosophy 42 (3):225-266.
    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 (...)
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  • Interactions with Context.Eric Swanson - 2006 - Dissertation, MIT
    My dissertation asks how we affect conversational context and how it affects us when we participate in any conversation—including philosophical conversations. Chapter 1 argues that speakers make pragmatic presuppositions when they use proper names. I appeal to these presuppositions in giving a treatment of Frege’s puzzle that is consistent with the claim that coreferential proper names have the same semantic value. I outline an explanation of the way presupposition carrying expressions in general behave in belief ascriptions, and suggest that substitutivity (...)
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  • Structurally-Defined Alternatives.Roni Katzir - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (6):669-690.
    Scalar implicatures depend on alternatives in order to avoid the symmetry problem. I argue for a structure-sensitive characterization of these alternatives: the alternatives for a structure are all those structures that are at most as complex as the original one. There have been claims in the literature that complexity is irrelevant for implicatures and that the relevant condition is the semantic notion of monotonicity. I provide new data that pose a challenge to the use of monotonicity and that support the (...)
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  • Epistemic Modals in Context.Andy Egan, John Hawthorne & Brian Weatherson - 2005 - In Gerhard Preyer & Georg Peter (eds.), Contextualism in Philosophy: Knowledge, Meaning, and Truth. Clarendon Press.
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  • How Not to Theorize About the Language of Subjective Uncertainty.Eric Swanson - 2009 - In Andy Egan & Brian Weatherson (eds.), Epistemic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    A successful theory of the language of subjective uncertainty would meet several important constraints. First, it would explain how use of the language of subjective uncertainty affects addressees’ states of subjective uncertainty. Second, it would explain how such use affects what possibilities are treated as live for purposes of conversation. Third, it would accommodate 'quantifying in' to the scope of epistemic modals. Fourth, it would explain the norms governing the language of subjective uncertainty, and the differences between them and the (...)
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  • Subjective Ought.Jennifer Rose Carr - 2015 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2.
    The subjective deontic "ought" generates counterexamples to classical inference rules like modus ponens. It also conflicts with the orthodox view about modals and conditionals in natural language semantics. Most accounts of the subjective ought build substantive and unattractive normative assumptions into the semantics of the modal. I sketch a general semantic account, along with a metasemantic story about the context sensitivity of information-sensitive operators.
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  • Embedding Epistemic Modals.Cian Dorr & John Hawthorne - 2013 - Mind 122 (488):867-914.
    Seth Yalcin has pointed out some puzzling facts about the behaviour of epistemic modals in certain embedded contexts. For example, conditionals that begin ‘If it is raining and it might not be raining, … ’ sound unacceptable, unlike conditionals that begin ‘If it is raining and I don’t know it, … ’. These facts pose a prima facie problem for an orthodox treatment of epistemic modals as expressing propositions about the knowledge of some contextually specified individual or group. This paper (...)
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  • Belief is Weak.John Hawthorne, Daniel Rothschild & Levi Spectre - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1393-1404.
    It is tempting to posit an intimate relationship between belief and assertion. The speech act of assertion seems like a way of transferring the speaker’s belief to his or her audience. If this is right, then you might think that the evidential warrant required for asserting a proposition is just the same as the warrant for believing it. We call this thesis entitlement equality. We argue here that entitlement equality is false, because our everyday notion of belief is unambiguously a (...)
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  • Epistemic Possibilities.Keith DeRose - 1991 - Philosophical Review 100 (4):581-605.
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  • Scalar Implicature as a Grammatical Phenomenon.Gennaro Chierchia, Danny Fox & Benjamin Spector - 2012 - In Klaus von Heusinger, Claudia Maienborn & Paul Portner (eds.), Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning. De Gruyter Mouton. pp. 3--2297.
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  • Modals Under Epistemic Tension.Guillermo Del Pinal & Brandon Waldon - 2019 - Natural Language Semantics 27 (2):135-188.
    According to Kratzer’s influential account of epistemic 'must' and 'might', these operators involve quantification over domains of possibilities determined by a modal base and an ordering source. Recently, this account has been challenged by invoking contexts of ‘epistemic tension’: i.e., cases in which an assertion that 'must p' is conjoined with the possibility that 'not p', and cases in which speakers try to downplay a previous assertion that 'must p', after finding out that 'not p'. Epistemic tensions have been invoked (...)
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  • Epistemic Comparison, Models of Uncertainty, and the Disjunction Puzzle.D. Lassiter - 2015 - Journal of Semantics 32 (4):649-684.
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  • Measure Semantics and Qualitative Semantics for Epistemic Modals.Wesley H. Holliday & Thomas F. Icard - 2013 - Proceedings of SALT 23:514-534.
    In this paper, we explore semantics for comparative epistemic modals that avoid the entailment problems shown to result from Kratzer’s (1991) semantics by Yalcin (2006, 2009, 2010). In contrast to the alternative semantics presented by Yalcin and Lassiter (2010, 2011), based on finitely additive probability measures, we introduce semantics based on qualitatively additive measures, as well as semantics based on purely qualitative orderings, including orderings on propositions derived from orderings on worlds in the tradition of Kratzer (1991). All of these (...)
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  • A Solution to Karttunen's Problem.Matthew Mandelkern - 2017 - In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21.
    There is a difference between the conditions in which one can felicitously assert a ‘must’-claim versus those in which one can use the corresponding non-modal claim. But it is difficult to pin down just what this difference amounts to. And it is even harder to account for this difference, since assertions of 'Must ϕ' and assertions of ϕ alone seem to have the same basic goal: namely, coming to agreement that [[ϕ]] is true. In this paper I take on this (...)
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  • Deontic Modals and Probability: One Theory to Rule Them All?Fabrizio Cariani - forthcoming - In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modality. Oxford University Press.
    This paper motivates and develops a novel semantic framework for deontic modals. The framework is designed to shed light on two things: the relationship between deontic modals and substantive theories of practical rationality and the interaction of deontic modals with conditionals, epistemic modals and probability operators. I argue that, in order to model inferential connections between deontic modals and probability operators, we need more structure than is provided by classical intensional theories. In particular, we need probabilistic structure that interacts directly (...)
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  • Free Choice and the Theory of Scalar Implicatures* MIT,.Danny Fox - manuscript
    This paper will be concerned with the conjunctive interpretation of a family of disjunctive constructions. The relevant conjunctive interpretation, sometimes referred to as a “free choice effect,” (FC) is attested when a disjunctive sentence is embedded under an existential modal operator. I will provide evidence that the relevant generalization extends (with some caveats) to all constructions in which a disjunctive sentence appears under the scope of an existential quantifier, as well as to seemingly unrelated constructions in which conjunction appears under (...)
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  • On the Semantics and Pragmatics of Epistemic Vocabulary.Sarah Moss - 2015 - Semantics and Pragmatics.
    This paper motivates and develops a novel semantics for several epistemic expressions, including possibility modals and indicative conditionals. The semantics I defend constitutes an alternative to standard truth conditional theories, as it assigns sets of probability spaces as sentential semantic values. I argue that what my theory lacks in conservatism is made up for by its strength. In particular, my semantics accounts for the distinctive behavior of nested epistemic modals, indicative conditionals embedded under probability operators, and instances of constructive dilemma (...)
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  • A Flexible Contextualist Account of Epistemic Modals.Janice Dowell, J. L. - 2011 - Philosophers' Imprint 11:1-25.
    On Kratzer’s canonical account, modal expressions (like “might” and “must”) are represented semantically as quantifiers over possibilities. Such expressions are themselves neutral; they make a single contribution to determining the propositions expressed across a wide range of uses. What modulates the modality of the proposition expressed—as bouletic, epistemic, deontic, etc.—is context.2 This ain’t the canon for nothing. Its power lies in its ability to figure in a simple and highly unified explanation of a fairly wide range of language use. Recently, (...)
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  • At Least Some Determiners Aren't Determiners.Manfred Krifka - 1999 - In Ken Turner (ed.), The Semantics/Pragmatics Interface From Different Points of View. Elsevier. pp. 1--257.
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  • Affective Dependencies.Anastasia Giannakidou - 1999 - Linguistics and Philosophy 22 (4):367-421.
    Limited distribution phenomena related to negation and negative polarity are usually thought of in terms of affectivity where affective is understood as negative or downward entailing. In this paper I propose an analysis of affective contexts as nonveridical and treat negative polarity as a manifestation of the more general phenomenon of sensitivity to (non)veridicality (which is, I argue, what affective dependencies boil down to). Empirical support for this analysis will be provided by a detailed examination of affective dependencies in Greek, (...)
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  • Two Puzzles Raised by Oddness in Conjunction.Giorgio Magri - 2014 - Journal of Semantics:ffu011.
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  • Change in View.Gilbert Harman - 1986 - Behaviorism 16 (1):93-96.
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  • Semantics.John Lyons - 1979 - Linguistics and Philosophy 3 (2):289-295.
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  • Pragmatic Halos.Peter Lasersohn - 1999 - Language 75 (3):522-551.
    It is a truism that people speak ‘loosely’——that is, that they often say things that we can recognize not to be true, but which come close enough to the truth for practical purposes. Certain expressions. such as those including ‘exactly’, ‘all’ and ‘perfectly’, appear to serve as signals of the intended degree of approximation to the truth. This article presents a novel formalism for representing the notion of approximation to the truth, and analyzes the meanings of these expressions in terms (...)
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