Causation is non-eventive
Page, Anna Katarina
This thesis presents a system developed to account for the observation that subverbal causation is present in stative structures, which requires a reanalysis of the subverbal primitives involved in causal structures (e. g. McCawley (1968); Dowty (1979)) where cause is not attributed eventive meaning nor restricted to combining with eventive arguments. The foundation of the system developed here is the idea that the contribution and role of any functional head should be minimal and consistent across contexts. With this in mind, I show that cause can not be attributed either the role of introducing Agent arguments, nor the role of introducing changesof- state. The first task is factored out to do, the latter to become. The contribution of cause itself is shown to be the following: i) it introduces inanimate Causers, either eventive or stative in its specifier, ii) it introduces the result in its complement, either directly as in statives, or by embedding another event, usually a change-of-state associated with become, iii) when its specifier is unfilled, which can only be the case when the subject of the sentence is an Agent, an implicit event argument is inserted in the unrealised specifier position. Further, it is shown that the arguments of cause must be eventualities and these eventualities must be of the same ontological category: either both states or both events. This restriction cause places on its arguments is termed ontological harmony. Although developed to account for stative causation, the system presented here is shown to have a number of explanatory consequences. The conclusion that eventiveness must be associated with either do or become is seen to explain alternations in entailment patterns across a number of different verb classes, including provoke-class psych verbs, causativised activity verbs and biclausal quasi-causals, a class that cuts across familiar previously defined classes. This has implications for how verbs are classified, suggesting a move away from classifying verbs on the basis of Aktionsarten, towards on the basis of their subverbal meaning primitives.