Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy (MCMP)

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CANCELLED: Talk: Floris Roelofsen (Amsterdam)

Location: Ludwigstr. 31, ground floor, Room 021.

19.04.2018 18:00  – 20:00 


Negative polarity items in questions


Negative polarity items (NPIs) are words like "any" and "ever", which are fine in negative sentences (e.g., "Bill didn't steal any eggs") but not in positive ones (e.g., "Bill stole any eggs"). One of the success stories of formal semantics has been the discovery that the distribution of such NPIs can be described and explained, to a large extent, in terms of the logical notion of entailment. This has been seen as an important argument for the relevance of logic for natural language semantics. However, entailment-based theories have failed so far to explain the distribution of NPIs in questions. The present talk is an initial exploration of the extent to which this can be remedied by means of the notion of entailment offered by inquisitive semantics.