Free Choice Disjunction and Epistemic Possibility

  title={Free Choice Disjunction and Epistemic Possibility},
  author={Thomas Ede Zimmermann},
  journal={Natural Language Semantics},
  • T. Zimmermann
  • Published 1 December 2000
  • Philosophy
  • Natural Language Semantics
This paper offers an explanation of the fact that sentences of the form (1) ‘X may A or B’ may be construed as implying (2) ‘X may A and X may B’, especially if they are used to grant permission. It is suggested that the effect arises because disjunctions are conjunctive lists of epistemic possibilities. Consequently, if the modal may is itself epistemic, (1) comes out as equivalent to (2), due to general laws of epistemic logic. On the other hand, on a deontic reading of may, (2) is only… 

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