November 13th: Lucas Champollion (NYU) – Utrecht

We are happy to announce that on the lucky date of Friday, November 13th, Lucas Champollion (NYU) will give a LUSH talk in Utrecht. We hope to see you all there!

Date: Friday, November 13th, 2015

Time: 15:30 – 17:00

Location: Utrecht, Trans 10, room 0.19 (A.W. de Grootkamer)

Speaker: Lucas Champollion

Title: Antecedents of counterfactuals violate de Morgan’s law
(Joint work with Ivano Ciardelli and Linmin Zhang)

Abstract: I present the results of a web survey suggesting that (1) can be true in situations where (2) is false.

(1) If switch A was down or switch B was down, the light would be off.
(2) If switch A and switch B were not both up, the light would be off.

Assuming that the antecedents of these sentences are correctly analyzed as “(NOT A) OR (NOT B)” and “NOT (A AND B)”, this creates a problem for any compositional account of counterfactuals that interprets the two antecedents in classical propositional logic: by de Morgan’s law, their denotations are identical. I argue that we can distinguish between (1) and (2) on a principled basis by interpreting their antecedents in propositional inquisitive logic. I also tentatively discuss distinguishing them via alternative-based implicature computations.

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