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Epistemic IndefinitesExploring Modality Beyond the Verbal Domain$
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Luis Alonso-Ovalle and Paula Menéndez-Benito

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199665297

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199665297.001.0001

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Ignorance, indifference, and individuation with wh-ever

Ignorance, indifference, and individuation with wh-ever

(p.212) (p.213) 10 Ignorance, indifference, and individuation with wh-ever
Epistemic Indefinites

Cleo Condoravdi

Oxford University Press

Wh-ever phrases give rise to implications of ignorance or indifference. Previous analyses fold these implications into the truth-conditional or presuppositional content of wh-ever and posit a variation condition requiring non-rigid reference of the wh-ever description across possibilities in a modal domain, such as the speaker’s epistemic state. This chapter shows first that variation based on non-rigidity is not strong enough to account for the precise form of the ignorance implication. Secondly, the ignorance or indifference implication is obligatory only with singular wh-ever phrases. The chapter proposes an analysis which unifies the different uses and solves both these problems. It relies on property-based individuation and associates contextually determined alternatives to wh-ever phrases which yield more specific descriptions. The ignorance and indifference implications result from the enriched meaning contributed by the alternatives and their locus of discharge.

Keywords:   free relatives with -ever, ignorance, indifference implications, individuation, property-based indeterminacy, alternatives, global vs. local alternative discharge

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