Thursday, February 21, 2019

Omer on phases and minimality

I am not on Facebook. This means that I often miss some fun stuff, like Omer's posts on topics syntactic. Happily, he understands my problem and sends me links to his cogitations. For others sho may suffer from a similar Facebook phobia I link to his post here.

The topic is one that I have found intriguing for quite a while: do we really need two locality conditions. Two? Yes, Phases (aka, Bounding domains) and Minimality. Now, on their face these look quite different. The former places an absolute bound on computations, the latter bounds the reach of one expression when in the presence of another identical one. These two kinds of domain restrictions, thus, seem very different. However, looks can be deceiving. Not all phases count to delimit domains, at least if one buys into strong vs weak ones. If one does buy this then as strong v phases are transitive vs and transitive vs will implicate at least two nominals it looks like phases and minimality will both apply redundantly in these cases. Similarly it is possible to evade minimality and phase impenetrability using similar "tricks" (e.g. becoming specifiers of the same projection. At any rate, once one presses, it appears that the two systems generate significant redundancy which suggests that one of them might be dispensable.  This is where Omer's post comes in. He shows that Minimality can apply in some cases where there is no obvious tenable phase based account (viz. phase internally). Well, whether this is right or not, the topic is a nice juicy one and well worth thinking about. Omer's post is a great place to begin.

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