The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LFRG 9/28 — Kai von Fintel

Speaker: Kai von Fintel (MIT)
Time: Wednesday, Sept. 28, 1-2pm
Place: 32-D831
Title: On the absence of certain ambiguities (in some contexts)

Postal (1974) [an extensive reply to Hasegawa 1972], Horn (1981), among others, discussed the distribution of transparent readings in intensional contexts (“George doesn’t know that Chloe is where she (actually) is” versus “#I don’t know that she is where she is”). Jackson (1981, 1987), not knowing the previous literature, used the fact that transparent readings are absent in indicative conditionals to argue that indicative conditionals are not possible worlds constructions. In response, Weatherson (2001) and Nolan (2003) propose that indicative conditionals monstrously diagonalize their components (see also Santorio 2012).

In this presentation, I will explore the true extent of the phenomenon and discuss how one might account for it. The purpose for now is to show of this puzzle that it truly is a puzzle. In an as of yet mythical follow-up, a brilliant solution will appear.