Attitudes, aboutness, and fake restricted readings
Kai Von Fintel, Robert Pasternak
July 2020

A sentence like "If Laura becomes a zombie, she wants you to shoot her" seems to assert that Laura has a certain kind of "restricted attitude": her current desires, when considering only possible states of affairs in which she becomes a zombie, are such that you shoot her. We discuss several intuitively plausible accounts that attribute these readings to restrictions imposed on the world-quantification of the attitude or some modal operator in its scope. We then provide evidence against these proposals and argue that such "restricted" readings are not a result of any quantificational restriction of this sort. Instead we adopt the view that attitudes are about (possibly non-actual) situations, and illusory restricted readings are a reflection of certain relationships between an attitude-holder and an "about-situation". This new theory accounts for all of the data that were problematic for restriction-based accounts and invites reconsideration of conditionals more generally, on the grounds that other cases of apparent "if"-clause restriction might similarly be reducible to "fake" restricted readings.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005328
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: submitted for peer review
keywords: attitudes, conditionals, disjunction, situation semantics, semantics
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