Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Dispelling the Cloud of Unknowing (Collins and Postal 2018)

The argument in CP(2014) hinged on a claimed restriction on Horn clauses due originally to Horn (1975: 283; 1978: 169). The claim was that Horn clauses are limited to the complements of verbs independently permitting Classical NR, that is, complements of CNRPs. However, since the appearance of CP(2014), Horn (2014) has attested a new data class illustrating Horn clauses, but ones occurring in the complements of non-CNRP predicates. These include in particular a nonfactive use of the verb know, which Horn calls know-NF, a terminology we adopt. An example of the type at issue is given in (4):

(4) I don't know that ever before had the Army commander been in charge he Naval forces. (

We agree that the complement here as in other cases Horn cites are Horn clauses. Based on this newly noticed data, Horn constructs a critique of the Horn clause argument developed in CP(2014) for a syntactic view of Classical NR. We will call the argument he advances on this basis the anti-Horn clause argument, hereafter, Anti-HC.

Since the data Horn uncovered were unknown to the authors of CP(2014), Anti-HC was of course not treated in CP(2014). The present study seeks to show that contra Anti-HC, the important facts documented in Horn (2014) fail to undermine CP(2014)’s Horn clause argument for a syntactic conception of Classical NR. We argue this by indicating how a viable Classical NR analysis of the newer data can be provided within the overall syntactic view developed in CP(2014).

Dispelling the Cloud of Unknowing

Collins, Chris and Paul Postal. 2018. Dispelling the Cloud of Unknowing. In Laurence Horn and Kenneth Turner (eds.), Pragmatics, Truth and Underspecification, 54-81. Brill, Boston.

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