TY - JOUR
AU - Gentile, Francesco Paolo
AU - Schwarz, Bernhard
PY - 2019/05/13
Y2 - 2024/06/21
TI - A uniqueness puzzle: How many-questions and non-distributive predication
JF - Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung
JA - SuB
VL - 21
IS - 1
SE - Articles
DO - 10.18148/sub/2018.v21i1.148
UR - https://ojs.ub.uni-konstanz.de/sub/index.php/sub/article/view/148
SP - 445-462
AB - <p>We discuss a novel observation about the meaning of <em>how many</em>-questions, viz. a uniqueness implication that arises in cases that feature non distributive predicates, such as <em>How many students solved this problem together?</em>. We attempt an analysis of this effect in terms of Dayal’s (1996) <em>Maximal Informativity Presupposition</em> for questions. We observe that such an analysis must be reconciled with the unexpected absence of uniqueness implications in cases where the non-distributive predicate appears under a possibility modal. We explore two possible solutions: (i) the postulation of a scopally mobile maximality operator in degree questions of the sort proposed in Abrus´an and Spector (2011); (ii) the proposal that the informativity to be maximized is based on pragmatic, contextual, entailment rather than semantic entailment. We explain why neither solution is satisfactory. We also observe that a Maximal Informativity Presupposition fails to capture uniqueness implications in <em>how many-</em>questions with predicates that are weakly distributive in the sense of Buccola and Spector (2016), such as <em>How many students in the seminar have the same first name?</em>. We conclude that uniqueness implications in <em>how many</em>-questions must have a source that is independent of Dayal’s (1996) Maximal Informativity Presupposition.<em></em></p>
ER -