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Analyticity and 'in virtue of' Generalizations in French
Alda Mari
357-365 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The traditional analysis of indefinite generics (e.g. Dähl 1975, Burton-Roberts 1977, de Swart 1996, Cohen 2001) has taught that they are compatible with essential properties or must express norms. However, as pointed out by Greenberg (2001), non-essential properties are also compatible with indefinite generics and cases involving both essential and non-essential properties have to be covered by the theory. Greenberg argues that indefinite generics express analytic truth if and only if a property 'in virtue of' which the generalization holds can be accommodated. This account presents some major shortcomings and the author argues for a different unified theory of analyticity for indefinite generics based on respects (Nunberg 1975, Ross 1997). The author claims that indefinite generics express truths that are analytical or primitive under a certain respect and show that they can be involved in non-definitional statements and can support non-essential properties if the respect under which the truth holds is introduced by an overt marker. In an explicit modal framework (Lewis 1973, Kratzer 1989), respects are implemented as restrictions on the worlds of the modal basis. In the light of this claim, the author shows that different devices can introduce respects, including overt expressions of points of view, evaluative adverbs, contrast, focus, subtrigging, and ça constructions.

Published in

Proceedings of the 26th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Charles B. Chang and Hannah J. Haynie
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00