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Philosophy of Language

Edited by Berit Brogaard (University of Missouri, St. Louis)
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  1. added 2015-07-29
    Todd Davies, Analogy.
    This essay (my undergraduate honors thesis at Stanford, issued by the Center for the Study of Language and Information in November 1985) constructs a theory of analogy as it applies to argumentation and reasoning, especially as used in fields such as philosophy and law. The word analogy has been used in different senses, which the essay defines. The theory developed herein applies to analogia rationis, or analogical reasoning. Building on the framework of situation theory, a type of logical relation called (...)
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  2. added 2015-07-29
    Adam Rieger (2015). Defending a Simple Theory of Conditionals. American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (3):253-260.
    This paper extends the defense of a simple theory of indicative conditionals previously proposed by the author, in which the truth conditions are material, and Grice-style assertability conditions are given to explain the paradoxes of material implication. The paper discusses various apparent counter-examples to the material account in which conditionals are not asserted, and so the original theory cannot be applied; it is argued that, nevertheless, the material theory can be defended.
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  3. added 2015-07-29
    Jerry R. Hobbs, William Croft, Todd Davies, Douglas Edwards & Kenneth Laws (1987). Commonsense Metaphysics and Lexical Semantics. Computational Linguistics 13 (3&4):241-250.
    In the TACITUS project for using commonsense knowledge in the understanding of texts about mechanical devices and their failures, we have been developing various commonsense theories that are needed to mediate between the way we talk about the behavior of such devices and causal models of their operation. Of central importance in this effort is the axiomatization of what might be called commonsense metaphysics. This includes a number of areas that figure in virtually every domain of discourse, such as granularity, (...)
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  4. added 2015-07-28
    Kenneth Boyd (forthcoming). Peirce on Assertion, Speech Acts, and Taking Responsibility. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society.
    C.S. Peirce held what is nowadays called a “commitment view” of assertion. According to this type of view, assertion is a kind of act that is determined by its “normative effects”: by asserting a proposition one undertakes certain commitments, typically to be able to provide reason to believe what one is asserting, or, in Peirce’s words, one “takes responsibility” for the truth of the proposition one asserts. Despite being an early adopter of the view, if Peirce’s commitment view of assertion (...)
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  5. added 2015-07-28
    Richard Moore, Josep Call & Michael Tomasello (2015). Production and Comprehension of Gestures Between Orang-Utans (Pongo Pygmaeus) in a Referential Communication Game. PLoS ONE:pone.0129726.
    Orang-utans played a communication game in two studies testing their ability to produce and comprehend requestive pointing. While the ‘communicator’ could see but not obtain hidden food, the ‘donor’ could release the food to the communicator, but could not see its location for herself. They could coordinate successfully if the communicator pointed to the food, and if the donor comprehended his communicative goal and responded pro-socially. In Study 1, one orang-utan pointed regularly and accurately for peers. However, they responded only (...)
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  6. added 2015-07-28
    Richard Moore (2015). I'm a Believer. [REVIEW] Times Literary Supplement 20:xx-yy.
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  7. added 2015-07-28
    Richard Moore (2015). A Common Intentional Framework for Ape and Human Communication. Current Anthropology 56 (1):71-72.
  8. added 2015-07-27
    Stefano Predelli (forthcoming). Who’s Afraid of the Predicate Theory of Names? Linguistics and Philosophy:1-14.
    This essay is devoted to an analysis of the semantic significance of a fashionable view of proper names, the Predicate Theory of names, typically developed in the direction of the Metalinguistic Theory of names. According to MT, ‘syntactic evidence supports the conclusion that a name such as ‘Kennedy’ is analyzable in terms of the predicate ‘individual named ‘Kennedy’’. This analysis is in turn alleged to support a descriptivist treatment of proper names in designative position, presumably in contrast with theories of (...)
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  9. added 2015-07-27
    Anna Szabolcsi (1992). The Noun Phrase. In Ferenc Kiefer & Katalin E. Kiss (eds.), The Syntactic Structure of Hungarian. Academic Press
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  10. added 2015-07-26
    Richard Woodward (forthcoming). Identity in Fiction. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Anthony Everett (2005) argues that those who embrace the reality of fictional entities run into trouble when it comes to specifying criteria of character identity. More specifically, he argues that realists must reject natural principles governing the identity and distinctness of fictional characters due to the existence of fictions which leave it indeterminate whether certain characters are identical and the existence of fictions which say inconsistent things about the identities of their characters. Everett's critique has deservedly drawn much attention and (...)
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  11. added 2015-07-25
    Geert Keil (forthcoming). Radikale Übersetzung und radikale Interpretation. In Nikola Kompa (ed.), Handbuch Sprachphilosophie. Metzler
  12. added 2015-07-25
    Geert Keil (2011). Ich bin jetzt hier - aber wo ist das? In Siri Granum Carson, Jonathan Knowles & Bjørn K. Myskja (eds.), Kant: Here, Now, and How. Mentis 15-34.
  13. added 2015-07-21
    Simone Aurora (2015). A Forgotten Source in the History of Linguistics: Husserl's Logical Investigations. Bulletin d'Analyse Phénoménologique 11 (5).
    In appearance, Husserl’s writings seem not to have had any influence on linguistic research, nor does what the German philosopher wrote about language seem to be worth a place in the history of linguistics. The purpose of the paper is exactly to contrast this view, by reassessing both the position and the role of Husserl’s early masterpiece — the Logical Investigations — within the history of linguistics. To this end, I will focus mainly on the third (On the theory of (...)
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  14. added 2015-07-21
    Hartry Field (1984). Dale Gottlieb, Ontological Economy: Substitutional Quantification and Mathematics. [REVIEW] Noûs 18 (1):160-165.
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  15. added 2015-07-20
    Guillermo Del Pinal (2015). The Structure of Semantic Competence: Compositionality as an Innate Constraint of The Faculty of Language. Mind and Language 30 (4):375–413.
    This paper defends the view that the Faculty of Language is compositional, i.e., that it computes the meaning of complex expressions from the meanings of their immediate constituents and their structure. I fargue that compositionality and other competing constraints on the way in which the Faculty of Language computes the meanings of complex expressions should be understood as hypotheses about innate constraints of the Faculty of Language. I then argue that, unlike compositionality, most of the currently available non-compositional constraints predict (...)
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  16. added 2015-07-19
    Noah Greenstein (2015). Punny Logic. Analysis 75 (3):359-362.
    Logic and humour tend to be mutually exclusive topics. Humour plays off ambiguity, while classical logic falters over it. Formalizing puns is therefore impossible, since puns have ambiguous meanings for their components. However, I will use Independence-Friendly logic to formally encode the multiple meanings within a pun. This will show a general strategy of how to logically represent ambiguity and reveals humour as an untapped source of novel logical structure.
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  17. added 2015-07-18
    Richard Heck (2014). Semantics and Context-Dependence: Towards a Strawsonian Account. In Brett Sherman & Alexis Burgess (eds.), Metasemantics: New Essays on the Foundations of Meaning. Oxford University Press 327-364.
    This paper considers a now familiar argument that the ubiquity of context-dependence threatens the project of natural language semantics, at least as that project has usually been conceived: as concerning itself with `what is said' by an utterance of a given sentence. I argue in response that the `anti-semantic' argument equivocates at a crucial point and, therefore, that we need not choose between semantic minimalism, truth-conditional pragmatism, and the like. Rather, we must abandon the idea, familiar from Kaplan and others, (...)
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  18. added 2015-07-17
    Anders J. Schoubye & Andreas Stokke, What is Said?
    It is sometimes argued that certain sentences of natural language fail to express truth conditional contents. Standard examples include e.g. 'Tipper is ready' and 'Steel is strong enough'. In this paper, we provide a novel analysis of truth conditional meaning (what is said) using the notion of a question under discussion. This account (i) explains why these types of sentences are not, in fact, semantically underdetermined (yet seem truth conditionally incomplete), (ii) provides a principled analysis of the process by which (...)
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  19. added 2015-07-17
    Anders J. Schoubye (forthcoming). Type-Ambiguous Names. Mind.
    The orthodox view of proper names, Millianism, provides a very simple and elegant explanation of the semantic contribution (and semantic properties) of referential uses of names, namely names that occur as bare singulars and as the argument of a predicate. However, one problem for Millianism is that it cannot explain the semantic contribution of predicative uses of names (as in e.g. 'there are two Alberts in my class'). In recent years, an alternative view, so-called The-Predicativism, has become increasingly popular. According (...)
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  20. added 2015-07-17
    Bryan Frances (forthcoming). Why the Vagueness Paradox is Amazing. Think.
    One of the hardest problems in philosophy, one that has been around for over two thousand years without generating any significant consensus on its solution, involves the concept of vagueness: a word or concept that doesn’t have a perfectly precise meaning. There is an argument that seems to show that the word or concept simply must have a perfectly precise meaning, as violently counterintuitive as that is. Unfortunately, the argument is usually so compressed that it is difficult to see why (...)
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  21. added 2015-07-15
    Anna Szabolcsi, How Unitary Are Intervention Effects? (2006).
    The paper compares theories of how the intervention of quantifiers, negation, and focus block the relation between wh-expressions and their traces, with special reference to Szabolcsi & Zwarts 1993/1997, Honcoop 1998, and Beck 2006. It presents new cross-linguistic data that bear on Beck's focus intervention theory.
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  22. added 2015-07-13
    Jean-Baptiste Dussert, El exclusivismo traductológico: ¿un mito völkisch? Pensar la Traducción: La Filosofía de Camino Entre Las Lenguas.
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  23. added 2015-07-10
    Sigrid Beck & Remus Gergel (forthcoming). The Diachronic Semantics of English Again. Natural Language Semantics:1-47.
    This paper explores the diachronic development of the English adverb again. A compositional semantic analysis of its grammar at various stages is provided. It is argued that this analysis must consist of a staging of first a lexical and then a structural change, in order to adequately model the sequence of individual developmental steps observed in the historical corpus data, and that it provides an insight into pathways of semantic change in general.
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  24. added 2015-07-07
    Charles B. Cross (forthcoming). Embedded Counterfactuals and Possible Worlds Semantics. Philosophical Studies:1-9.
    Stephen Barker argues that a possible worlds semantics for the counterfactual conditional of the sort proposed by Stalnaker and Lewis cannot accommodate certain examples in which determinism is true and a counterfactual Q > R is false, but where, for some P, the compound counterfactual P > (Q > R) is true. I argue that the completeness theorem for Lewis’s system VC of counterfactual logic shows that Stalnaker–Lewis semantics does accommodate Barker’s example, and I argue that its doing so should (...)
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  25. added 2015-07-07
    Michael T. Stuart (2015). Philosophical Conceptual Analysis as an Experimental Method. In Thomas Gamerschlag, Doris Gerland, Rainer Osswald & Wiebke Petersen (eds.), Meaning, Frames, and Conceptual Representation. Düsseldorf University Press 267-292.
    Philosophical conceptual analysis is an experimental method. Focusing on this helps to justify it from the skepticism of experimental philosophers who follow Weinberg, Nichols & Stich (2001). To explore the experimental aspect of philosophical conceptual analysis, I consider a simpler instance of the same activity: everyday linguistic interpretation. I argue that this, too, is experimental in nature. And in both conceptual analysis and linguistic interpretation, the intuitions considered problematic by experimental philosophers are necessary but epistemically irrelevant. They are like variables (...)
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  26. added 2015-07-07
    Jacson Jonas Faller (2014). Mundo perceptível, mente e linguagem: uma leitura a partir de Thomas Reid. Intuitio 7:139-156.
    Na filosofia moderna, Thomas Reid (1710-1796) foi um dos filósofos que olhou com atenção para o problema da vagueza das palavras quando utilizadas para expressar nosso pensamento ao outro. Ao tratar da concepção de linguagem, Reid parece abordar o tema da ambiguidade e da vagueza das palavras de modo a afastar os erros que a linguagem carrega consigo, apurando-a no sentido de torná-la mais adequada à representação dos fenômenos mentais e, desta forma, tornar possível o avanço sobre o estudo acerca (...)
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  27. added 2015-07-07
    Michele Paolini Paoletti (2014). Falsemakers: Something Negative About Facts. Grazer Philosophische Studien 90:169-182.
    The author argues for the existence of negative facts. The first section is devoted to an argument, grounded on truthmaker maximalism, that aims at demonstrating that negative facts must exist at least as false propositions’ falsemakers. In the second section, the author analyzes and criticizes several attempts to get rid of negative facts: the ones based on incompatibilities, absences, totality facts and polarities, as well as the ones based on various restrictions on truthmaker maximalism or on the non-acceptance of facts (...)
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  28. added 2015-07-07
    Nate Charlow (2009). Imperative Statics and Dynamics. Dissertation, University of Michigan, Candidacy Paper
    Imperatives are linguistic devices used by an authority (speaker) to express wishes, requests, commands, orders, instructions, and suggestions to a subject (addressee). This essay's goal is to tentatively address some of the following questions about the imperative. -/- METASEMANTIC. What is the menu of options for understanding fundamental semantic notions like satisfaction, truth-conditions, validity, and entailment in the context of imperatives? Are there good imperative arguments, and, if so, how are they to be characterized? What are the options for understanding (...)
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  29. added 2015-07-04
    Domingos Faria (2013). Como Explicar o Fenómeno da Vagueza? Investigação Filosófica 1.
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  30. added 2015-07-03
    Nate Charlow (forthcoming). Triviality for Restrictor Conditionals. Noûs.
    I present two Triviality results for Kratzer’s standard "restrictor" analysis of indicative conditionals (while also clarifying the sense in which Kratzer's semantics might avoid such results). I both refine and undermine the common claim that problems of Triviality do not arise for Kratzer conditionals since they are not strictly conditionals at all.
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  31. added 2015-07-01
    Caleb Dewey & Garri Hovhannisyan, Inductive Theories Are Cognitive Metaphors.
    For decades, metaphors have been known to be very important within science. Recently, Brown (2008) strengthened their importance so far as to argue that all scientific models are metaphors (in the cognitive sense). We stretch their importance even further to say that all scientific theories are cognitive metaphors as long as those theories are yielded by a coherent account of induction. Since standard induction is incoherent, as per Hume and Duhem, we primarily concern ourselves with defining a coherent account of (...)
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  32. added 2015-07-01
    Christoph C. Pfisterer (2008). Moores Paradox, Behaupten, Urteilen. Conceptus: Zeitschrift Fur Philosophie 37 (91):41-62.
    Moore was first to notice that it is absurd to assert sentences of the form “p, but I don’t believe it.” As it looks even more absurd to believe what such a sentence states, explanations of Moore’s paradox have primarily focused on the beliefs thus asserted. Shoemaker, for example, analyzes these beliefs in terms of conflicting higher order beliefs. Kriegel, in return, provides an explanation in terms of logical contradictions. I shall argue that both accounts rest on the mistaken assumption (...)
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  33. added 2015-06-30
    Christopher G. Lucas & Charles Kemp (forthcoming). An Improved Probabilistic Account of Counterfactual Reasoning. Psychological Review.
    When people want to identify the causes of an event, assign credit or blame, or learn from their mistakes, they often reflect on how things could have gone differently. In this kind of reasoning, one considers a counterfactual world in which some events are different from their real-world counterparts and considers what else would have changed. Researchers have recently proposed several probabilistic models that aim to capture how people do (or should) reason about counterfactuals. We present a new model and (...)
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  34. added 2015-06-29
    Ulf Hlobil (forthcoming). Anti-Normativism Evaluated. International Journal of Philosophical Studies:1-20.
    I argue that recent attempts to show that meaning and content are not normative fail. The two most important arguments anti-normativists have presented are what I call the ‘argument from constitution’ and the ‘argument from guidance’. Both of these arguments suffer from the same basic problem: they overlook the possibility of focusing on assessability by norms, rather than compliance with norms or guidance by norms. Moreover, I argue that the anti-normativists arguments fail even if we ignore this basic problem. Thus, (...)
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  35. added 2015-06-26
    Luka Crnič, Emmanuel Chemla & Danny Fox (forthcoming). Scalar Implicatures of Embedded Disjunction. Natural Language Semantics:1-35.
    Sentences with disjunction in the scope of a universal quantifier, Every A is P or Q, tend to give rise to distributive inferences that each of the disjuncts holds of at least one individual in the domain of the quantifier, Some A is P & Some A is Q. These inferences are standardly derived as an entailment of the meaning of the sentence together with the scalar implicature that it is not the case that either disjunct holds of every individual (...)
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  36. added 2015-06-24
    Clas Weber (forthcoming). Being at the Centre: Self-Location in Thought and Language. In M. Garcia-Carpintero & S. Torre (eds.), About Oneself: De Se Thought and Communication. Oxford University Press
    Self-locating attitudes and assertions provide a challenge to the received view of mental and linguistic intentionality. In this paper I try to show that the best way to meet this challenge is to adopt relativistic, centred possible worlds accounts for both belief and communication. First, I argue that self-locating beliefs support a centred account of belief. Second, I argue that self-locating utterances support a complementary centred account of communication. Together, these two claims motivate a unified centred conception of belief and (...)
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  37. added 2015-06-21
    Chien-Hsing Ho (forthcoming). Resolving the Ineffability Paradox. Bloomsbury Academic.
    A number of contemporary philosophers think that the unqualified statement “X is unspeakable” faces the danger of self-referential absurdity: if this statement is true, it must simultaneously be false, given that X is speakable by the predicate word “unspeakable.” This predicament is in this chapter formulated as an argument that I term the “ineffability paradox.” After examining the Buddhist semantic theory of apoha (exclusion) and an apoha solution to the issue, I resort to a few Chinese Buddhist and Hindu philosophical (...)
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  38. added 2015-06-18
    Casey Rebecca Johnson (forthcoming). Testimony and the Constitutive Norm of Assertion. International Journal of Philosophical Studies:1-20.
    I can, given the right conditions, transmit my knowledge to you by telling you some information. If I know the time, and if all goes well, I can bring it about that you know it too. If conditions are right, all I have to do is assert to you what time it is. Paradigmatically, speakers use assertions to transmit what they know to their hearers. Clearly, assertion and testimony are tightly connected. The nature of this connection, however, is not so (...)
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  39. added 2015-06-18
    Susanne Bobzien (2015). I—Columnar Higher‐Order Vagueness, or Vagueness is Higher‐Order Vagueness. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 89 (1):61-87.
    Most descriptions of higher-order vagueness in terms of traditional modal logic generate so-called higher-order vagueness paradoxes. The one that doesn't is problematic otherwise. Consequently, the present trend is toward more complex, non-standard theories. However, there is no need for this. In this paper I introduce a theory of higher-order vagueness that is paradox-free and can be expressed in the first-order extension of a normal modal system that is complete with respect to single-domain Kripke-frame semantics. This is the system QS4M+BF+FIN. It (...)
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  40. added 2015-06-17
    Jake Chandler (forthcoming). Preservation, Commutativity and Modus Ponens: Two Recent Triviality Results. Mind.
    In a recent pair of publications, Richard Bradley has offered two novel no-go theorems involving the principle of ‘Preservation’ for conditionals, which guarantees that one’s prior conditional beliefs will exhibit a certain degree of inertia in the face of a change in one’s non-conditional beliefs. -/- We first note that Bradley’s original discussions of these results—in which he finds motivation for rejecting Preservation, first in a principle of ‘Commutativity’, then in a doxastic analogue of the rule of Modus Ponens—are problematic (...)
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  41. added 2015-06-17
    Harry Smit (2014). The Social Evolution of Human Nature: From Biology to Language. Cambridge University Press.
    This book sheds new light on the problem of how the human mind evolved. Harry Smit argues that current studies of this problem misguidedly try to solve it by using variants of the Cartesian conception of the mind, and shows that combining the Aristotelian conception with Darwin's theory provides us with far more interesting answers. He discusses the core problem of how we can understand language evolution in terms of inclusive fitness theory, and investigates how scientific and conceptual insights can (...)
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  42. added 2015-06-14
    Santiago Echeverri (forthcoming). Object Files, Properties, and Perceptual Content. Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-25.
    Object files are mental representations that enable perceptual systems to keep track of objects as numerically the same. How is their reference fixed? A prominent approach, championed by Zenon Pylyshyn and John Campbell, makes room for a non-satisfactional use of properties to fix reference. This maneuver has enabled them to reconcile a singularist view of reference with the intuition that properties must play a role in reference fixing. This paper examines Campbell’s influential defense of this strategy. After criticizing it, a (...)
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  43. added 2015-06-13
    Tue Trinh & Andreas Haida (forthcoming). Constraining the Derivation of Alternatives. Natural Language Semantics:1-22.
    Inferences that result from exhaustification of a sentence S depend on the set of alternatives to S. In this paper, we present some inference patterns that are problematic for previous theories of alternatives and propose some structural constraints on the derivation of formal alternatives which derive the observations.
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  44. added 2015-06-13
    Alexander Jackson (forthcoming). From Relative Truth to Finean Non-Factualism. Synthese:1-19.
    This paper compares two ‘relativist’ theories about deliciousness: truth-relativism, and Kit Fine’s non-factualism about a subject-matter. Contemporary truth-relativism is presented as a linguistic thesis; its metaphysical underpinning is often neglected. I distinguish three views about the obtaining of worldly states of affairs concerning deliciousness, and argue that none yields a satisfactory version of truth-relativism. Finean non-factualism about deliciousness is not subject to the problems with truth-relativism. I conclude that Finean non-factualism is the better relativist theory. As I explain, non-facualism about (...)
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  45. added 2015-06-13
    Jeffrey C. King (2014). The Metasemantics of Contextual Sensitivity. In Alexi Burgess & Brett Sherman (eds.), Metasemantics: New Essays on the Foundations of Meaning. Oxford University Press 97-118.
    Some contextually sensitive expressions are such that their context independent conventional meanings need to be in some way supplemented in context for the expressions to secure semantic values in those contexts. As we’ll see, it is not clear that there is a paradigm here, but ‘he’ used demonstratively is a clear example of such an expression. Call expressions of this sort supplementives in order to highlight the fact that their context independent meanings need to be supplemented in context for them (...)
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  46. added 2015-06-12
    Tim Klaassen, Wittgenstein as a Kantian Philosopher.
    After giving a short outline and interpretation of the Tractatus, I give reasons why we should view the Wittgenstein of the Tracatus as a kind of Kantian philosopher.
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  47. added 2015-06-11
    Heidi Savage, Why Names Are Almost Never Predicates.
    There are at least three kinds of cases offered as evidence that proper names ought to be treated as predicates: attribution cases, quantifier cases, and disambiguation cases. None of these cases conclusively shows that names are predicates. In attribution cases, for example, in saying that Frank is a real Napoleon, we are not attributing the property of being Napoleon to Frank. Instead, what we are doing is comparing the properties Frank has to the properties Napoleon has, and we can easily (...)
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  48. added 2015-06-11
    Daniel Hardt & Line Mikkelsen (forthcoming). Same but Different. Linguistics and Philosophy:1-26.
    In this paper, we argue that same is fundamentally different from different, in that same imposes a discourse condition on eventualities, while different compares individuals. This difference has not been noted in previous literature. Furthermore, in the literature on same, there has been a persistent puzzle about the contribution of the definite article with which same must co-occur. We show that this puzzle is resolved once the contribution of same is adjusted to apply to eventualities: then the definite article can (...)
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  49. added 2015-06-09
    Craig Warmke (forthcoming). Modal Intensionalism. Journal of Philosophy.
    I offer an alternative semantics for modal propositional logic without possible worlds, an accessibility relation, or formally similar stand-ins for either.
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  50. added 2015-06-09
    Sean Walsh (forthcoming). Predicativity, the Russell-Myhill Paradox, and Church’s Intensional Logic. Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-50.
    This paper sets out a predicative response to the Russell-Myhill paradox of propositions within the framework of Church's intensional logic. A predicative response places restrictions on the full comprehension schema, which asserts that every formula determines a higher-order entity. In addition to motivating the restriction on the comprehension schema from intuitions about the stability of reference, this paper contains a consistency proof for the predicative response to the Russell-Myhill paradox. The models used to establish this consistency also model other axioms (...)
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