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Philosophy of Language

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  1. added 2014-07-22
    Emar Maier (2014). Language Shifts in Free Indirect Discourse. Journal of Literary Semantics 43 (2):143--167.
    In this paper I present a linguistic investigation of the literary style known as free indirect discourse within the framework of formal semantics. I will argue that a semantics for free indirect discourse involves more than a mechanism for the independent context shifting of pronouns and other deictic elements. My argumentation is fueled by literary examples of free indirect discourse involving what I call language shifts: -/- Most of the great flame-throwers were there and naturally, handling Big John de Conquer (...)
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  2. added 2014-07-22
    Savas L. Tsohatzidis (2014). A Purported Refutation of Some Theories of Assertion. Philosophical Forum 45 (2):169-177.
    Several influential philosophical accounts of assertion have recently been claimed by Peter Pagin to commit a fundamental mistake. The present paper argues that Pagin's defence of that claim is flawed: The criterion he proposes for evaluating theories of assertion is unreliable; and even if it were supposed to be in itself reliable, it could not be used, in the way he proposes, either against the kinds of theories he intends to undermine or in favour of the kind of theory he (...)
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  3. added 2014-07-22
    Corien Bary & Emar Maier (2014). Unembedded Indirect Discourse. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung 18:77--94.
    This paper contributes to two debates: (i) the debate about whether or not ancient Greek has Free Indirect Discourse (FID), and (ii) the debate about how we should analyze FID semantically. We do this by showing that there is a distinction between FID and what we call Unembedded Indirect Discourse (UID). The semantic analysis that we develop for the latter shows that the two phenomena, though superficially similar, are semantically fundamentally different. We conclude that UID would have been more deserving (...)
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  4. added 2014-07-21
    Brian Embry (forthcoming). Counterfactuals Without Possible Worlds? A Difficulty for Fine’s Exact Semantics for Counterfactuals. Journal of Philosophy.
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  5. added 2014-07-21
    William B. Starr (2014). What 'If'? Philosophers' Imprint 14 (10).
    No existing conditional semantics captures the dual role of 'if' in embedded interrogatives — 'X wonders if p' — and conditionals. This paper presses the importance and extent of this challenge, linking it to cross-linguistic patterns and other phenomena involving conditionals. Among these other phenomena are conditionals with multiple 'if'-clauses in the antecedent — 'if p and if q, then r' — and relevance conditionals — 'if you are hungry, there is food in the cupboard'. Both phenomena are shown to (...)
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  6. added 2014-07-21
    Jennifer Lackey (2014). Assertion and Expertise. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1).
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  7. added 2014-07-20
    Ben Bronner (forthcoming). Maps and Absent Symbols. Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    ABSENCE is the claim that if a symbol appears on a map, then absence of the symbol from some map coordinate signifies absence of the corresponding property from the corresponding location. This claim is highly intuitive and widely endorsed. And if it is true, then cartographic representation is strikingly different from linguistic representation. I argue, however, that ABSENCE is false of various maps and we have no reason to believe it is true of any maps. The intuition to the contrary (...)
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  8. added 2014-07-20
    Nurbay Irmak (2014). Purpose-Relativity and Ontology. Dissertation, University of Miami
  9. added 2014-07-20
    Gary Ostertag (2013). Quine and Russell. In Gilbert Harman Ernie Lepore (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Quine. Wiley-Blackwell. 403-431.
  10. added 2014-07-19
    Janice Dowell, J. L. (forthcoming). The Metaethical Insignificance of Moral Twin Earth. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Oxford.
  11. added 2014-07-19
    Mattia Gallotti & John Michael (eds.) (2014). Perspectives on Social Ontology and Social Cognition. Springer.
    Perspectives on Social Ontology and Social Cognition brings together contributions discussing issues arising from theoretical and empirical research on social ontology and social cognition. It is the first comprehensive interdisciplinary collection in this rapidly expanding area. The contributors draw upon their diverse backgrounds in philosophy, cognitive science, behavioral economics, sociology of science and anthropology. -/- Based largely on contributions to the first Aarhus-Paris conference held at the University of Aarhus in June 2012, the book addresses such questions as: If the (...)
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  12. added 2014-07-17
    William F. Vallicella (2014). Existence: Two Dogmas of Analysis. In Daniel D. Novotny Lukas Novak (ed.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives in Metaphysics. Routledge. 45-75.
    Analytic philosophy of existence in the 20th century and beyond has been dominated by two central claims. One is that existence is instantiation. The other is that there are no modes of existence. This article attempts to refute both claims.
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  13. added 2014-07-15
    Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). Cognitive Products and the Semantics of Attitude Verbs and Deontic Modals. In Friederike Moltmann & Mark Textor (eds.), Act-Based Conceptions of Propositional Content. Contemporary and Historical Contributions. Oxford University Press.
    This paper argues for a semantic account of attitude reports and deontic modals based on the notion of a cognitive product, as opposed to the notion of an abstract proposition or a cognitive act.
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  14. added 2014-07-15
    Catharine Saint Croix & Richmond Thomason (2014). Chisholm's Paradox and Conditional Oughts. Lecture Notes in Computer Science 8554:192-207.
    Since it was presented in 1963, Chisholm’s paradox has attracted constant attention in the deontic logic literature, but without the emergence of any definitive solution. We claim this is due to its having no single solution. The paradox actually presents many challenges to the formalization of deontic statements, including (1) context sensitivity of unconditional oughts, (2) formalizing conditional oughts, and (3) distinguishing generic from nongeneric oughts. Using the practical interpretation of ‘ought’ as a guideline, we propose a linguistically motivated logical (...)
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  15. added 2014-07-13
    Emar Maier, Why My I is Your You: On the Communication of de Se Attitudes.
    The communication of de se attitudes poses a problem for “participant- neutral” analyses of communication in terms of propositions expressed or proposed updates to the common ground: when you tell me “I am an idiot”, you express a first person de se attitude, but as a result I form a different, second person attitude, viz. that you are an idiot. I argue that when we take seriously the asymmetry between speaker and hearer in semantics this problem disappears. To prove this (...)
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  16. added 2014-07-13
    Emar Maier, Parasitic Attitudes.
    Karttunen observes that a presupposition triggered in an x hopes that complement, can be filtered out by a seemingly inaccessible antecedent under the scope of a preceding x believes that ascription. I show that the problem evaporates once we enrich our semantics of attitude ascriptions with some independently argued assumptions on the structure and interpre- tation of mental states. In particular, I argue that mental states consist of acquaintance-based mental files and variously labeled attitude compartments, laid out in a DRT-like (...)
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  17. added 2014-07-13
    Emar Maier (forthcoming). Reference, Binding, and Presupposition: Three Perspectives on the Semantics of Proper Names. Erkenntnis:to appear.
    Linguistics and philosophy have provided distinct views on the nature of reference to individuals in language. In philosophy, in particular in the tradition of direct reference, the distinction is between reference and description. In linguistics, in particular in the tradition of generative grammar, the distinction is between pronouns and R-expressions. I argue for a third conception, grounded in dynamic semantics, in which the main watershed is between definites, which trigger presuppositions that want to be bound, and indefinites, which set up (...)
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  18. added 2014-07-13
    Emar Maier (forthcoming). Quotation and Unquotation in Free Indirect Discourse. Mind and Language:to appear.
    I argue that free indirect discourse should be analyzed as a species of direct discourse rather than indirect discourse. More specifically, I argue against the emerging consensus among semanticists, who analyze it in terms of context shifting. Instead, I apply the semantic mechanisms of mixed quotation and unquotation to offer an alternative analysis where free indirect discourse is essentially a quotation of an utterance or thought, but with unquoted tenses and pronouns.
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  19. added 2014-07-13
    Emar Maier (forthcoming). Pure Quotation. Philosophy Compass:to appear.
    Pure quotation, as in ‘cat’ has three letters, is a linguistic device designed for referring to linguistic expressions. I present a uniform recon struction of the four classic philosophical accounts of the phenomenon: the proper name theory, the description theory, the demonstrative theory, and the disquotational theory. I evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal with respect to fundamental semantic properties like compositionality, productivity, and recursivity.
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  20. added 2014-07-13
    Emar Maier (forthcoming). Reported Speech in the Transition From Orality to Literacy. Glotta 89 (1):1--16.
  21. added 2014-07-13
    Emar Maier (2014). Mixed Quotation: The Grammar of Apparently Transparent Opacity. Semantics and Pragmatics 7 (7):1--67.
    The phenomenon of mixed quotation exhibits clear signs of both the apparent transparency of compositional language use and the opacity of pure quotation. I argue that the interpretation of a mixed quotation in- volves the resolution of a metalinguistic presupposition. The leading idea behind my proposal is that a mixed-quoted expression, say, “has an anomalous feature”, means what x referred to with the words ‘has an anomalous feature’. To understand how this solves the paradox, I set up a precise grammatical (...)
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  22. added 2014-07-13
    Bart Geurts & Emar Maier (2013). Layered Discourse Representation Theory. In Alessandro Capone, Franco Lo Piparo & Marco Carapezza (eds.), Perspectives on Linguistic Pragmatics. Springer. 311--327.
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  23. added 2014-07-13
    Emar Maier (2011). On the Roads to de Se. Proceedings of Salt 21 (1):393--412.
    It is rather uncontroversial that there are different ways to report de se attitudes, but there is still disagreement about the number and the nature of the different mechanisms at work. Following Anand (2006), I distinguish three types of de se reporting: one a special case of de re, another expressed by shifted indexicals, and a third expressed by dedicated de se pronouns. For the first two I propose reductions to de re and de dicto reporting, respectively, couched in a (...)
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  24. added 2014-07-11
    Erin C. Tarver (2013). Signifying "Hillary&Quot;: Making (Political) Sense with Butler and Dewey. Contemporary Pragmatism 10 (2):25-47.
  25. added 2014-07-08
    James R. Beebe & Ryan J. Undercoffer (forthcoming). Moral Valence and Semantic Intuitions. Erkenntnis:1-22.
    Despite the swirling tide of controversy surrounding the work of Machery et al. (Cognition 92:B1–B12, 2004), the cross-cultural differences they observed in semantic intuitions about the reference of proper names have proven to be robust. In the present article, we report cross-cultural and individual differences in semantic intuitions obtained using new experimental materials. In light of the pervasiveness of the Knobe effect (Analysis 63:190–193, 2003, Philos Psychol 16:309–324, 2003, Behav Brain Sci 33:315–329, 2010; Pettit and Knobe in Mind Lang 24:586–604, (...)
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  26. added 2014-07-07
    Ray Buchanan (forthcoming). Schiffer's Puzzle: A Kind of Fregean Response. In Gary Ostertag (ed.), Meaning and Other Things: Essays on Stephen Schiffer. Oxford University Press.
    In ‘What Reference Has to Tell Us about Meaning’, Stephen Schiffer argues that many of the objects of our beliefs, and the contents of our assertoric speech acts, have what he calls the relativity feature. A proposition has the relativity feature just in case it is an object-dependent proposition ‘the entertainment of which requires different people, or the same person at different times or places, to think of [the relevant object] in different ways’ (129). But as no Fregean or Russellian (...)
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  27. added 2014-07-07
    Tim Button (forthcoming). The Weight of Truth: Lessons for Minimalists From Russell's Gray's Elegy Argument. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society.
    Minimalists, such as Paul Horwich, claim that the notions of truth, reference, and satisfaction are exhausted by some very simple schemes. Unfortunately, there are subtle difficulties with treating these as schemes, in the ordinary sense. So instead, the minimalist regards them as illustrating one-place functions, into which we can input propositions (when considering truth) or propositional constituents (when considering reference and satisfaction). However, Bertrand Russell’s Gray’s Elegy argument teaches us some important lessons about propositions and propositional constituents; and, when applied (...)
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  28. added 2014-07-07
    Ray Buchanan (2014). Names, Descriptions, and Assertion. In Zsu-Wei Hung (ed.), Communicative Action. Springer. 03-15.
    According to Millian Descriptivism, while the semantic content of a linguistically simple proper name is just its referent, we often use sentences containing such expressions “to make assertions…that are, in part, descriptive” (Soames 2008). Against this view, I show, following Ted Sider and David Braun (2006), that simple sentences containing names are never used to assert descriptively enriched propositions. In addition, I offer a diagnosis as to where the argument for Millian Descriptivism goes wrong. Once we appreciate the distinctive way (...)
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  29. added 2014-07-06
    Christopher Gauker (forthcoming). How Many Bare Demonstratives Are There in English? Linguistics and Philosophy.
    In order to capture our intuitions about the logical consistency of sentences and the logical validity of arguments, a semantics for a natural language has to allow for the fact that different occurrences of a single bare demonstrative, such as “this”, may refer to different objects. But it is not obvious how to formulate a semantic theory in order to achieve this result. This paper first criticizes several proposals: that we should formulate our semantics as a semantics for tokens, not (...)
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  30. added 2014-07-04
    Lucas P. Halpin, Pragmatism and the Point of Inquiry.
    This essay is expository, but not exegetical. I’ll present a version of truth-rejecting pragmatism. My goal is to keep it simple, keep it clear, and portray it as a reasonable and attractive scientific view of language. We’ll work our way towards the view via series of violations of the commonsense web of belief about language, motivated by naturalism. Once truth has been rejected, it’s only natural to wonder what the point of inquiry, or science, is. Supposing there are no objective (...)
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  31. added 2014-06-27
    Mahrad Almotahari (2014). The Identity of a Material Thing and its Matter. Philosophical Quarterly 64 (256):387-406.
    I have both a smaller and a larger aim. The smaller aim is polemical. Kit Fine believes that a material thing—a Romanesque statue, for example, or an open door—can be distinguished from its constituent matter—a piece of alloy, say, or a hunk of plastic—without recourse to modal or temporal considerations. The statue is Romanesque; the piece of alloy is not Romanesque. The door is open; the hunk of plastic is not open. I argue that these considerations, when combined with a (...)
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  32. added 2014-06-22
    Geoff Georgi (forthcoming). A Propositional Semantics for Substitutional Quantification. Philosophical Studies:1-18.
    The standard truth-conditional semantics for substitutional quantification, due to Saul Kripke, does not specify what proposition is expressed by sentences containing the particular substitutional quantifier. In this paper, I propose an alternative semantics for substitutional quantification that does. The key to this semantics is identifying an appropriate propositional function to serve as the content of a bound occurrence of a formula containing a free substitutional variable. I apply this semantics to traditional philosophical reasons for interest in substitutional quantification, namely, theories (...)
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  33. added 2014-06-19
    Brian Ball (forthcoming). Deriving the Norm of Assertion. Journal of Philosophical Research.
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  34. added 2014-06-19
    Salvatore Florio (2014). Semantics and the Plural Conception of Reality. Philosophers' Imprint 14 (22):1-20.
    According to the singular conception of reality, there are objects and there are singular properties, i.e. properties that are instantiated by objects separately. It has been argued that semantic considerations about plurals give us reasons to embrace a plural conception of reality. This is the view that, in addition to singular properties, there are plural properties, i.e. properties that are instantiated jointly by many objects. In this article, I propose and defend a novel semantic account of plurals which dispenses with (...)
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  35. added 2014-06-16
    Siu-Fan Lee (2014). Who Wants To Be a Russellian About Names? In Piotr Stalmaszczyk (ed.), Philosophy of Language and Linguistics: The Legacy of Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein. De Gruyter. 161-180.
    Russell had two theories of names and one theory of description. Logically proper names are Millian names, which have only denotation but no connotation. Ordinary names are not genuine names but disguised definite descriptions subject to quantificational analyses. Only by asserting that ordinary names are definite descriptions could Russell motivate his theory of description to solve three problems for Millian names, namely, Frege’s puzzle, empty reference and negative existentials. Critics usually discuss Russell’s theories of names and his theory of description (...)
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  36. added 2014-06-14
    Richard Brian Davis & W. Paul Franks (forthcoming). Counterpossibles and the 'Terrible' Divine Command Deity. Religious Studies:1-19.
    In a series of articles, Wes Morriston has launched what can only be considered a full-scale assault on the divine command theory (DCT) of morality. According to Morriston, proponents of this theory are committed to an alarming counterpossible: that if God did command an annual human sacrifice, it would be morally obligatory. Since only a ‘terrible’ deity would do such a ‘terrible’ thing, we should reject DCT. Indeed, if there were such a deity, the world would be a terrible place—certainly (...)
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  37. added 2014-06-12
    Brian Rabern (forthcoming). Descriptions Which Have Grown Capital Letters. Mind and Language.
    Almost entirely ignored in the linguistic theorising on names and descriptions is a hybrid form of expression which, like definite descriptions, begin with 'the' but which, like proper names, are capitalised and seem to lack descriptive content. These are expressions such as the following, 'the Holy Roman Empire', 'the Mississippi River', or 'the Space Needle'. Such capitalised descriptions are ubiquitous in natural language, but to which linguistic categories do they belong? Are they simply proper names? Or are they definite descriptions (...)
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  38. added 2014-06-10
    Luca Moretti (forthcoming). Interview with Berit Broogard. The Reasoner.
  39. added 2014-06-09
    Lucas P. Halpin, Analyticity, Identity and Presupposition.
    First, I will sketch an account of identity sentences according to which identity is a device for achieving semantic change. Specifically, it changes which sentences are analytic. Second, I will sketch an account of presupposition according to which presupposition triggers are devices for logical change. More precisely, they change the logic of the language (not the logical form of the sentences in which they occur). The purpose is to sketch a general strategy of appealing to change within a language to (...)
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  40. added 2014-06-05
    Adrian Brasoveanu & Anna Szabolcsi, Presuppositional TOO, Postsuppositional TOO. The Dynamic, Inquisitive, and Visionary Life of Φ, ?Φ, and ◊Φ Subtitle: A Festschrift for Jeroen Groenendijk, Martin Stokhof, and Frank Veltman.
    One of the insights of dynamic semantics in its various guises (Kamp 1981, Heim 1982, Groenendijk & Stokhof 1991, Kamp & Reyle 1993 among many others) is that interpretation is sensitive to left-to-right order. Is order sensitivity, particularly the default left-to-right order of evaluation, a property of particular meanings of certain lexical items (e.g., dynamically interpreted conjunction) or is it a more general feature of meaning composition? If it is a more general feature of meaning composition, is it a processing (...)
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  41. added 2014-06-03
    Jeremy Wyatt (2014). Pluralism and the Absence of Truth. Dissertation, University of Connecticut
    In this dissertation, I argue that we should be pluralists about truth and in turn, eliminativists about the property Truth. Traditional deflationists were right to suspect that there is no such property as Truth. Yet there is a plurality of pluralities of properties which enjoy defining features that Truth would have, were it to exist. So although, in this sense, truth is plural, Truth is non-existent. The resulting account of truth is indebted to deflationism as the provenance of the suspicion (...)
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  42. added 2014-06-03
    Anders Landig (2014). Partial Reference, Scientific Realism and Possible Worlds. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 47:1-9.
    Theories of partial reference have been developed in order to retrospectively interpret rather stubborn past scientific theories like Newtonian dynamics and the phlogiston theory in a realist way, i.e., as approximately true. This is done by allowing for a term to refer to more than one entity at the same time and by providing semantic structures that determine the truth values of sentences containing partially referring terms. Two versions of theories of partial reference will be presented, a conjunctive (by Hartry (...)
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  43. added 2014-06-02
    T. Parent, A Puzzle About Kinds and Kind Terms.
    The term ‘kind’ denotes kinds. Yet many generics are thought to denote kinds also, like the subject-terms in ‘Dinosaurs are extinct’, ‘Water is a liquid’, and ‘The mosquito carries malaria’. This may be an adequate view for the linguist’s purposes--however, it raises a puzzle for the ontologist. The problem is that what is often claimed about kinds is never claimed about dinosaurs, water, and the mosquito. Thus, kinds are sometimes claimed to be abstract objects, immanent universals, nominal essences, etc. But (...)
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  44. added 2014-05-30
    Aaron Bronfman & Janice Dowell, J. L., Contextualism About Deontic Conditionals.
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  45. added 2014-05-29
    Joshua Knobe & Seth Yalcin (forthcoming). Epistemic Modals and Context: Experimental Data. Semantics and Pragmatics.
    Recently, a number of theorists (MacFarlane (2003, 2011), Egan et al. (2005), Egan (2007), Stephenson (2007a,b)) have argued that an adequate semantics and pragmatics for epistemic modals calls for some technical notion of relativist truth and/or relativist content. Much of this work has relied on an empirical thesis about speaker judgments, namely that competent speakers tend to judge a present-tense bare epistemic possibility claim true only if the prejacent is compatible with their information. Relativists have in particular appealed to judgments (...)
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  46. added 2014-05-29
    Filippo Domaneschi, Carlo Penco, Elena Carrea & Alberto Greco (2014). The Cognitive Load of Presupposition Triggers: Mandatory and Optional Repairs in Presupposition Failure. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience 29 (1):136-146.
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  47. added 2014-05-27
    Cian Dorr, Against Counterfactual Miracles.
    This paper considers how counterfactuals should be evaluated on the assumption that determinism is true. I argue against Lewis's influential view that then the actual laws of nature would have been false if something had happened that never actually happened, and in favour of the competing view that history would have been different all the way back. I argue that we can do adequate justice to our ordinary practice of relying on a wide range of historical truths in evaluating counterfactuals (...)
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  48. added 2014-05-17
    Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). Variable Objects and Truthmaking. In Mircea Dumitru (ed.), Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality. Themes from Kit Fine. Oxford UP.
    This paper will focus on a philosophically significant construction whose semantics brings together two important notions in Kit Fine’s philosophy, the notion of truthmaking and the notion of a variable embodiment, or its extension, namely what I call a ‘variable object’. The analysis of the construction this paper will develop will be based on an account of clausal complements of intensional verbs that is of more general interest, based on truthmaking and the notion of a cognitive product, such as a (...)
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  49. added 2014-05-17
    Mei Lin (2009). Yi Yi, Shi Yi Yu Ci Dian Shi Yi Yan Jiu. Fa Lü Chu Ban She.
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  50. added 2014-05-16
    Benj Hellie (forthcoming). On Tests of Context. Inquiry.
    Assume a 'Stalnakean' conception of contexts as mental states. A /test of context/ is a context-dependent sentence with semantic values limited to the /trivial/ and /vacuous/ propositions: perhaps 'I believe that P' is trivial if I do believe that P, vacuous if I don't. Tests of context solve the 'Frege-Geach' problem for expressivism (see my 'There it is' and 'How we do'; also seminal work by Seth Yalcin and Nate Charlow): kind of a big deal. But Cian Dorr and Geoff (...)
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