Cancelling the Maxim of Quantity: Another challenge for a Gricean theory of Scalar Implicatures

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Danny Fox


Grice (1975) pointed out that the ignorance inferences normally drawn when disjunctive sentences are uttered are cancelled when it is presupposed that speakers are not going to provide all of the relevant information that they have available (e.g., in the context of a treasure hunt). This argues that ignorance inferences depend on the maxim of quantity for their derivation. Here it is argued that the situation with Scalar Implicatures is different. This is expected by the grammatical theory of Scalar Implicatures, but not by standard Gricean or neo-Gricean alternatives.

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