Reverse proportionality without context dependent standards

  • Alan Bale
  • Bernhard Schwarz

Abstract

In the so-called reverse proportional reading (Herburger, 1997), the truth conditions of statements of the form many/few Φ ψ appear to make reference to the ratio of the individuals that are in the extensions of both Φ and ψ to the individuals that are in the extension of ψ . The analysis of such readings is controversial. One prominent approach (Büring, 1996; de Hoop and Solà, 1996; Romero, 2015, 2016; Solt, 2009) assumes that they are a symptom of many and few making reference to a context dependent standard of comparison. Elaborating on remarks in Partee (1989), we observe that this initially attractive approach systematically undergenerates, failing to capture pervasive reverse proportionality in environments that remove context dependency of the standard. Instead, we propose that reverse proportionality in such cases reflects the underspecification of the measure function underlying the meanings of many and few (Bale and Barner, 2009; Wellwood, 2014; Solt, 2018).
Published
2019-07-20
How to Cite
Bale, A., & Schwarz, B. (2019). Reverse proportionality without context dependent standards. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 23(1), 93-108. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2019.v23i1.505