Mari colloquium

December 4
Harper 140
Institut Jean Nicod, CNRS/ENS/EHESS
Actuality entailments: broadening the space of possibilities

The phenomenon whereby MOD p entails p is known as an ‘actuality entailment’ (AE) since Bhatt (1999). AEs have been recently shown (Matthewson, 2012) to arise when circumstantial modality has past perspective (the `temporal perspective of the modal' (TP) is the time at which the modal bases are projected) and present orientation (the `temporal orientation of the modal' (TO) is the relation between the modal perspective and the time of the event). Condoravdi (2002), however, bans present oriented circumstantial modality, on the basis that the diversity condition on circumstantial modal bases (the modal base must contain p and non-p) worlds is not satisfied.

To reconcile AE and diversity condition (or nonveridicality (Giannakidou, 1998,1999) we argue that when the AE arises, the modal conveys - projectively - that there is a set of possibilities that satisfies diversity. This set is projected at a time preceding the event time and contains the quantificational domain of the modal (we call this set the `extended modal base’).

We thus show that the pragmatic condition of diversity is satisfied with present oriented circumstantial modality and newly consider the interrelations between at issue and non-at issue dimensions of the modal, disentangling two modal spaces -- one on which the modal quantifies and a one that satisfies diversity.

This is not an ad hoc feature of past root modals. It has already been argued for necessity modals that the modal quantifies over a smaller domain and that diversity / nonveridicaity is obtained in a larger domain containing the quantificational one (Werner, 2006; Knobe and Szabo, 2013; Giannakidou and Mari, 2014). Our account thus newly paves the way for understanding the relation between necessity modals and AE.