PP-2007-35: The Pragmatics of Biscuit Conditionals

PP-2007-35: Franke, Michael (2007) The Pragmatics of Biscuit Conditionals. [Report]

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Biscuit conditionals (BCs) are certain non-standard conditionals named
after Austin's famous example: ``There are biscuits on the sideboard,
if you want them.'' Although conditional constructions on the surface,
BCs lack the standard reading of conditionals: it is commonly held
that the IF-clause of a BC does not restrict the truth of the
consequent, but rather the relevance or felicity of an assertion
thereof. This paper seeks to explain the peculiarities in meaning and
use of BCs pragmatically, based on a standard semantics for
conditional sentences. This is in opposition to the bulk of writers on
the subject and the very recent account of Siegel (2006). The main
contributions of this paper are: (i) a formalization of a notion of
propositional independence with which the non-conditional meanings of
BCs can be accounted for in an update semantics for conditionals and
(ii) a more refined perspective on the function of BCs in discourse
not as relevance hedgers, but as means to facilitate interpretation; a
perspective made plausible by an explicit representation of the common
ground as a common belief structure.

Item Type: Report
Report Nr: PP-2007-35
Series Name: Prepublication (PP) Series
Year: 2007
Uncontrolled Keywords: Conditionals; Pragmatics; Independence
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2016 14:36
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2016 14:36
URI: https://eprints.illc.uva.nl/id/eprint/269

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