Plakát ke stažení
I will discuss evidence challenging two classical views in semantics, and describe a novel account of counterfactuals that combines ideas from inquisitive semantics and causal reasoning. First, I will argue that two clauses with the same truth-conditions can make different semantic contributions when embedded in a counterfactual antecedent. Assuming compositionality, this means that the semantic value of these clauses cannot be equated with their truth-conditions. A natural explanation of this finding can be given within the framework of inquisitive semantics: the relevant antecedents are associated with different propositional alternatives, each of which provides a separate counterfactual assumption. Second, I will provide evidence against the idea that making counterfactual assumptions always requires minimizing the departure from actuality. I will describe a novel approach to counterfactuals, background semantics, that replaces the idea of minimal change by a distinction between foreground and background facts for a given assumption: background facts are held fixed in the counterfactual situation, while foreground facts can be changed without any minimality constraint.