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The distributive ignorance puzzle

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21
EditorsRobert Truswell, Chris Cummins, Caroline Heycock, Brian Rabern, Hannah Rohde
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherUniversity of Edinburgh
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2018


We observe that verbs like wonder do not just imply that their subject does not know the answer to the embedded question, but a stronger form of ignorance, which we call distribu-tive ignorance. This is not predicted by existing work on the semantics of wonder, and we argue that it cannot be straightforwardly derived as a pragmatic inference either. We consider two possible semantic accounts, and conclude in favor of one on which the lexical semantics of wonder involves exhaustification w.r.t. structural alternatives as well as sub-domain alternatives of its complement.

    Research areas

  • wonder, ignorance, inquisitive semantics, exhaustivity

ID: 113130529