On capacities and their epistemic extensions

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The purpose of this paper is twofold; first, we aim to provide a series of tests that identify Spanish <i>ser capaz </i>&#8216;be capable&#8217; (henceforth SC) as an ambiguous modal, just like English <i>must</i> or <i>can</i>. Specifically, we observe that SC has not only an abilitative flavor, but also an epistemic one. Second, we want to propose an analysis for SC that can account for this ambiguity and that is in accordance with current theories of modality such as Cinque (1999), Kratzer (1981, 1991), and Hacquard (2009, 2010). In a nutshell, we argue that SC can occupy two different positions, a low one below AspP, which corresponds to the abilitative interpretation, and a high one, above AspP, which translates as the epistemic reading. Concerning the semantics, we claim that SC denotes a slight possibility; i.e., the propositional argument is true in at least one world, but it is always true in the non-ordinary worlds.


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