Reasoning with Partial Orders: Restrictions on Ignorance Inferences of Superlative Modifiers

Jon Ander Mendia


The present study is concerned with Ignorance Inferences associated with Superlative Modifiers (SMs) like at least and at most. Experimental evidence will be presented showing that the Ignorance Inferences associated with SMs depend on their associate: when the associate of an SM is a totally ordered set (e.g. a numeral), the exhaustive interpretation of the prejacent must necessarily constitute an epistemic possibility for the speaker. However, when the associate of the SM is partially ordered, the exhaustive interpretation of the prejacent can, but need not constitute an epistemic possibility for the speaker.

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