Where We Stand
Where We Stand
This chapter synthesizes and discusses the main results of the book, namely (i) the treatment of ordinary scalar terms and their implicatures, (ii) pure NPIs (emphatic, weak, strong) (iii) NPIs that double up as FCIs (existential and universal), and (iv) intervention effects of various sorts. The data seem to bear out the claim that Polarity Sensitive Items (PSIs) are indefinites whose alternatives have become obligatorily active (a case of ‘grammaticization’). The behavior of PSIs follows under these assumptions from a general view of how alternatives are factored into meaning via a process of exhaustification. A tightly regulated system of parameters paves the way to understanding both historical and typological variation in the Polarity System. Minimality effects constitute a key piece of evidence in favor of this view and a unique window on how the Polarity System works. The crucial role that logical triviality plays in this account is also discussed along with consequences of such role on the relation between syntax and logic, on the generative paradigm, and on our understanding of human cognition.
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