Occasion-sensitive semantics for objective predicates

  • Tamara DoblerEmail author
Open Access


In this paper I propose a partition semantics (Groenendijk and Stokhof in Studies on the semantics of questions and the pragmatics of answers, Ph.D. thesis, University of Amsterdam, 1984) for sentences containing objective predicates that takes into account the phenomenon of occasion-sensitivity associated with so-called Travis cases (Travis in Occasion-sensitivity: Selected essays, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008). The key idea is that the set of worlds in which a sentence is true has a more complex structure as a result of different ways in which it is made true. Different ways may have different capacities to support the attainment of a contextually salient domain goal. I suggest that goal-conduciveness decides whether some utterance of a sentence is accepted as true on a particular occasion at a given world. The utterance will not be accepted as true at a world which belongs to a truth-maker which is less conducive to a contextually salient goal than other truth-makers. Finally, the proposed occasion-sensitive semantics is applied to some cases of disagreement and cancellability.


Occasion-sensitivity Travis cases Partition semantics Truth-makers Domain goals Disagreement 



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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Logic, Language and ComputationUniversiteit van AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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