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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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Indifference and scalar inferences in free relatives

Indifference and scalar inferences in free relatives

(p.267) 12 Indifference and scalar inferences in free relatives
Epistemic Indefinites

Kyle Rawlins

Oxford University Press

Free relatives marked with -ever can contribute both ignorance and ‘indifference’ implications, and sorting these out has been perhaps the largest project in the semantics of free relatives. This chapter presents new data and arguments that substantially constrain the problem of indifference. It argues that indifference implications in this domain are ‘teleological’, i.e. are goal-oriented modal inferences; and second, that indifference implications appear in descriptions much more broadly than has been suggested, and that they are triggered by overt scalar particles such as ‘simply’. The chapter provides an account of these scalar particles that derives indifference implications, and argues that an account of indifference and by extension ignorance in free relatives must not localize the solution to just -ever. Rather, we must account for the interaction of -ever marked DPs with the grammar of scalar inferences, in the spirit of work by Chierchia and by Condoravdi (this volume).

Keywords:   semantics, pragmatics, free relatives, indifference, scalar particles, teleological modality, goal-oriented modality, descriptions

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