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Title: Circumstantial and Temporal Dependence in Counterfactual Modals
Authors: Abusch, Dorit
Keywords: metaphysical modality
circumstantial modality
premise semantics
interactions between tense and modality
branching time
natural language semantics
Issue Date: 19-Feb-2012
Abstract: “Counterfactual” readings of might/could have were previously analyzed using metaphysical modal bases. This paper presents examples and scenarios where the assumptions of such a branching-time semantics are not met, because there are facts at the base world that exclude the complement of the modal becoming true. Additional arguments show that counterfactual readings are context-dependent. These data motivate a semantics using a circumstantial (or factual) modal base, which refers to context-dependent facts about a world and time. The analysis is formulated in a version of the premise semantics for modality.
Description: Final pre-publication version of a paper to appear in Natural Language Semantics.
Related Version: Earlier version circulated on Semantics Archive,, 15-Jun-2008.
Appears in Collections:Linguistics - Monographs, Papers and Research

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