Context Dependence and Compositionality
Abstract:Some utterances of sentences such as ‘Every student failed the midterm exam’ and ‘There is no beer’ are widely held to be true in a conversation despite the facts that not every student in the world failed the midterm exam and that there is, in fact, some beer somewhere. For instance, the speaker might be talking about some particular course, or about his refrigerator. Stanley and Szabó (in Mind & Language, 15, 2000) consider many different approaches to how contextual information might give meaning to these ‘restricted quantifier domains’, and find all of them but one wanting. The present paper argues that their considerations against one of these other theories, considerations that turn on notions of compositionality, are incorrect.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Alberta
Publication date: April 1, 2003