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Partially-ordered (branching) generalized quantifiers: A general definition

Abstract

Following Henkin's discovery of partially-ordered (branching) quantification (POQ) with standard quantifiers in 1959, philosophers of language have attempted to extend his definition to POQ with generalized quantifiers. In this paper I propose a general definition of POQ with 1-place generalized quantifiers of the simplest kind: namely, predicative, or "cardinality" quantifiers, e.g., "most", "few", "finitely many", "exactly a", where a is any cardinal, etc. The definition is obtained in a series of generalizations, extending the original, Henkin definition first to a general definition of monotone-increasing (My) POQ and then to a general definition of generalized POQ, regardless of monotonicity. The extension is based on (i) Barwise's 1979 analysis of the basic case of Mf POQ and (ii) my 1990 analysis of the basic case of generalized POQ. POQ is a non-compositional Ist-order structure, hence the problem of extending the definition of the basic case to a general definition is not trivial. The paper concludes with a sample of applications to natural and mathematical languages.

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