Date of Award

August 2021

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Peter van Elswyk

Committee Members

Nicholas Fleisher

Abstract

Imperatives can be answers to questions. That creates a dilemma. It seems to force us to choose between the predominant semantics of imperatives on which imperatives are non-propositional, and the standard semantics of questions on which answers are propositions and questions are sets of them. This paper presents the dilemma and offers a solution. To preserve the non-propositional semantics of imperatives, I argue that imperatival answers are fragment answers. To retain the propositional nature of answers, I proffer a discourse function-oriented mechanism for constructing propositions from imperatives pragmatically. Specifically, I show that the pragmatically constructed contents of imperatival answers are similar to the propositional contents expressed in anankastic conditionals.

Available for download on Wednesday, October 18, 2023

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