The natural interpretation of counterfactuals with disjunctive antecedents involves selecting from each of the disjuncts the worlds that come closest to the world of evaluation. Capturing this interpretation has been shown to be problematic for a minimal change semantics for counterfactuals, because selecting the closest worlds from each disjunct requires accessing the denotation of the disjuncts from the denotation of the disjunctive antecedent, which the standard Boolean analysis of or does not allow (Lewis 1977). This paper shows that the natural interpretation of disjunctive counterfactuals is expected if, as assumed in the recent literature, disjunctions introduce propositional alternatives in the semantic derivation (Aloni 2002, Simons 2005, Alonso-Ovalle 2006) and conditionals are analyzed as correlative constructions (von Fintel 1994, Izvorski 1996, Bhatt 2001, Schlenker 2001).
Proceedings of the 26th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Charles B. Chang and Hannah J. Haynie Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-423-2 library binding
vii + 524 pages
publication date: 2008
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA