Sketch of a theory of oddness

Vortragende(r) Amir Anvari
Institution(en) IJN, École Normale Supérieure, Paris
Datum 02.12.2021
Uhrzeit 11:00 Uhr
Ort Online
Zoom link


I discuss and motivate a theory of oddness based on the idea that "a good assertion is one that provides a good answer to a good question" (Katzir & Singh 2015) with the twist that the question that a sentence is evaluated against, its "background question", is a set of its formal alternatives (Katzir 2007) which is determined independently from the contextually given QUD and which must satisfy certain conditions; if no set of alternatives satisfies those conditions, the sentence is not a "good answer to a good question" and is predicted to be unacceptable. Building on recent work on Hurford's Constraint (Marty & Romoli 2021 and references therein), I propose a set of conditions on background questions and trace the resulting predictions. I will argue that the proposal makes tolerable predictions for Marty & Romoli's paradigm, as well as other puzzling cases discussed in the literature: Elaborate Disjunctions (Mayr & Romoli 2017), Disjunctions with mutually compatible disjunctions (Singh 2008), Hurford Conditionals (Mandelkern & Romoli 2018), various cases of oddness due to structural redundancy, and a miscellaneous class of remaining currently open problems. The proposal has its weak points, which will be discussed, as well as the potential to extend to other areas, which, time permitting, will be mentioned.

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