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Philosophy of Language

Edited by Berit Brogaard (University of Missouri St. Louis)
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  1. added 2014-08-27
    Brent Strickland, Matthew Fisher, Frank Keil & Joshua Knobe (2014). Syntax and Intentionality: An Automatic Link Between Language and Theory-of-Mind. Cognition 133 (1):249–261.
    Three studies provided evidence that syntax influences intentionality judgments. In Experiment 1, participants made either speeded or unspeeded intentionality judgments about ambiguously intentional subjects or objects. Participants were more likely to judge grammatical subjects as acting intentionally in the speeded relative to the reflective condition (thus showing an intentionality bias), but grammatical objects revealed the opposite pattern of results (thus showing an unintentionality bias). In Experiment 2, participants made an intentionality judgment about one of the two actors in a partially (...)
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  2. added 2014-08-27
    Martin F. Fricke (2004). Identifying, Discriminating or Picking Out an Object: Some Distinctions Neglected in the Strawsonian Tradition. Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society 12:106-107.
    In "Individuals", Peter Strawson talks about identifying, discriminating and picking out particular objects, regarding discriminating and picking out as ways of identifying. I object that, strictly speaking, identification means to say of two things that they are the same. In contrast, discriminating an object from all others can be done by just ascribing some predicate to it that does not apply to the others. Picking out an object does not even seem to require to distinguish it from all others. The (...)
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  3. added 2014-08-26
    William F. Vallicella (2005). &Quot;does Existence Itself Exist? Transcendental Nihilism Meets the Paradigm Theory&Quot;. In Larry Lee Blackman (ed.), The Philosophy of Panayot Butchvarov: A Collegial Evaluation. The Edwin Mellen Press. 57-78.
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  4. added 2014-08-20
    Catherine Rowett (2013). Plato, Wittgenstein and the Definition of Games. In Luigi Perissinotto & Begoña Ramón Cámara (eds.), Wittgenstein and Plato: connections, comparisons and contrasts. Palgrave. 196-219.
    In this paper I argue, controversially, that Plato's Meno anticipates Wittgenstein's critique of essentialism. Plato is usually read as an essentialist of the very kind that Wittgenstein was challenging, and the Meno in particular is usually taken as evidence that Plato thought that to know something you must be able to define it, and that if you can't define it you can't investigate any other questions on the topic. I suggest instead that Plato shows Socrates proposing such a position (much (...)
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  5. added 2014-08-13
    Joeri Witteveen (forthcoming). Naming and Contingency: The Type Method of Biological Taxonomy. Biology and Philosophy:1-18.
    Biological taxonomists rely on the so-called ‘type method’ to regulate taxonomic nomenclature. For each newfound taxon, they lay down a ‘type specimen’ that carries with it the name of the taxon it belongs to. Even if a taxon’s circumscription is unknown and/or subject to change, it remains a necessary truth that the taxon’s type specimen falls within its boundaries. Philosophers have noted some time ago that this naming practice is in line with the causal theory of reference and its central (...)
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  6. added 2014-08-11
    James Andow (forthcoming). A Semantic Solution to the Problem with Aesthetic Testimony. Acta Analytica.
    There is something peculiar about aesthetic testimony. It seems more difficult to gain knowledge of aesthetic properties based solely upon aesthetic testimony than it is in the case of other types of property. In this paper, I argue that we can provide an adequate explanation at the level of the semantics of aesthetic language, without defending any substantive thesis in epistemology or about aesthetic value/judgement. If aesthetic predicates are given a non-invariantist semantics, we can explain the supposed peculiar difficulty with (...)
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  7. added 2014-08-11
    Lubomira Radoilska (2014). Belief and Agency. [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 64 (255):377-380.
  8. added 2014-08-08
    Andrew Bacon (forthcoming). Stalnaker's Thesis in Context. Review of Symbolic Logic.
    In this paper I present a precise version of Stalnaker's thesis and show that it is both consistent and predicts our intuitive judgments about the probabilities of conditionals. The thesis states that someone whose total evidence is E should have the same credence in the proposition expressed by 'if A then B' in a context where E is salient as they have conditional credence in the proposition B expresses given the proposition A expresses in that context. The thesis is formalised (...)
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  9. added 2014-08-08
    Lorna Finlayson (2014). How to Screw Things with Words. Hypatia 29 (3).
    Since its influential rendering by Rae Langton in her 1993 paper, “Speech Acts and Unspeakable Acts,” the “silencing argument” against pornography has become the subject of a lively debate that continues to this day. My intention in this paper is not to join in the existing debate, but to give a critical overview of it. In its current form, I suggest, it is going nowhere (and has been en route for too long already). Yet the silencing argument, I believe, nevertheless (...)
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  10. added 2014-08-07
    Jessica Pepp, Joseph Almog & Nichols Paul (forthcoming). A Unified Treatment of (Pro-) Nominals in Ordinary English. In Andrea Bianchi (ed.), On Reference. OUP.
  11. added 2014-08-07
    Jessica Pepp (forthcoming). A Puzzle About Lying. In Eliot Michaelson Andreas Stokke (ed.), Lying: Language, Knowledge, and Ethics. OUP.
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  12. added 2014-08-07
    Arvid Båve (2014). Charity and Error‐Theoretic Nominalism. Ratio 27 (3).
    I here investigate whether there is any version of the principle of charity both strong enough to conflict with an error-theoretic version of nominalism about abstract objects (EN), and supported by the considerations adduced in favour of interpretive charity in the literature. I argue that in order to be strong enough, the principle, which I call “(Charity)”, would have to read, “For all expressions e, an acceptable interpretation must make true a sufficiently high ratio of accepted sentences containing e”. I (...)
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  13. added 2014-08-07
    Jessica Pepp (2012). Reference and Referring: A Framework. In William P. Kabasenche, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Reference and Referring. MIT Press. 1-32.
  14. added 2014-08-06
    Jim Hopkins (forthcoming). Kantian Neuroscience and Radical Interpretation. In Festschfrift for Mark Platts.
    This is an unedited version of a paper written in 2012 accepted for publication in a forthcoming Festschrift for Mark Platts. In it I argue that the Helmholtz/Bayes tradition of free energy neuroscience begun by Geoffrey Hinton and his colleagues, and now being carried forward by Karl Friston and his, can be seen as a fulfilment of the Quine/Davidson program of radical interpretation, and also of Quine’s conception of a naturalized epistemology. -/- This program, in turn, is rooted in Helmholtz’s (...)
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  15. added 2014-08-05
    Nicholas Mantegani (2014). Difference, Identity and Quantification. Dialectica 68 (2):183-207.
    Most theorists treat the ‘relation’ of identity as being more fundamental (or basic) than the ‘relation’ of (numerical) difference. Herbert Hochberg suggests, instead, that difference is to be treated as basic. My goal in this paper is to answer two related questions. First, what is it for a theorist to treat difference or identity as basic? Second, which of these two ‘relations’ is to be treated as basic? I begin by outlining four reasons that one might be motivated to endorse (...)
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  16. added 2014-08-04
    Conor McHugh & Daniel Whiting (forthcoming). Recent Work on the Normativity of Belief. Analysis.
    This is a survey of recent debates concerning the normativity of belief. We explain what the thesis that belief is normative involves, consider arguments for and against that thesis, and explore its bearing on debates in metaethics.
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  17. added 2014-08-02
    Heidi Savage, Performative Meta-Linguistic Actions.
    At least one of the issues surrounding proper names is how to understand the act of naming itself. Thus far, there has been little in the way of analysis of this phenomenon, save for using certain buzz words like "dubbing" or "christening" or "baptizing." Though, there have been some things written about the act itself, such as the causal theory, and the property attribution theory. I argue that those accounts fail. Fundamentally, an act of naming must in some way be (...)
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  18. added 2014-08-02
    Heidi Savage, The Problem with Meta-Linguistic Analyses of the Meanings of Proper Names.
    Some time ago, Kripke argued that meta-linguistic analyses of proper names were utterly uninformative. I suggest here that his objection relies on conflating the language used to talk about a particular language L -- the meta-language -- with direct speech reports made within a language -- the object language. Making this distinction leads to an understanding of meta-linguistic analyses of proper names that are not simply tautologous, so long as we do not understand the meta-linguistic analysis of, say, the expression (...)
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  19. added 2014-07-31
    Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen & John Michael (forthcoming). Why Desire Reasoning is Developmentally Prior to Belief Reasoning. Mind and Language.
    The predominant view in developmental psychology is that young children are able to reason with the concept of desire prior to being able to reason with the concept of belief. We propose an explanation of this phenomenon that focuses on the cognitive tasks that competence with the belief and desire concepts enable young children to perform. We show that cognitive tasks that are typically considered fundamental to our competence with the belief and desire concepts can be performed with the concept (...)
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  20. added 2014-07-31
    Teresa Marques & Manuel García-Carpintero, Nomes Vazios. Compêndio Em Linha de Problemas de Filosofia Analítica.
    Os nomes próprios são termos singulares que intuitivamente indicam os objectos do discurso ou pensamento. Alguns nomes falham na sua função de referir, sem que, aparentemente, deixem de desempenhar um papel representacional. Isso é paradoxal: Por um lado, os objectos referidos deveriam fazer parte de uma caracterização correcta dos nomes próprios. Por outro lado, o significado das frases que incorporam nomes vácuos sugere que tais objectos são extrínsecos aos pensamentos transmitidos. Isto é o problema que se levanta com a existência (...)
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  21. added 2014-07-30
    John-Michael Kuczynski (2014). What is Literal Meaning? Communication and Cognition 46 (1-4).
    The meaning of a complex expression, such as a sentence, is a function of the meanings of its parts. The meaning of morpheme (a minimal unit of linguistic significance) cannot, ultimately, diverge from what it is taken to mean. But the meaning of a complex expression can diverge without limit from what it is taken to mean, given that the meaning of such an expression is a logical consequence of the meanings of its parts, coupled with the fact that people (...)
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  22. added 2014-07-29
    Niall Connolly (2014). BOOK REVIEW The Objects of Thought. Tim Crane. [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 64 (256):517-520.
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  23. added 2014-07-28
    Brian Ball (forthcoming). Deriving the Norm of Assertion in Advance. Journal of Philosophical Research.
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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. added 2014-07-21
    Jennifer Lackey (2014). Assertion and Expertise. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1).
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  28. 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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  29. added 2014-07-20
    Nurbay Irmak (2014). Purpose-Relativity and Ontology. Dissertation, University of Miami
  30. 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.
  31. 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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  32. 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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  33. 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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  34. 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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  35. 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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  36. 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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  37. 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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  38. 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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  39. added 2014-07-13
    Emar Maier (forthcoming). Reported Speech in the Transition From Orality to Literacy. Glotta 89 (1):1--16.
  40. 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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  41. 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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  42. 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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  43. 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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  44. added 2014-07-11
    Erin C. Tarver (2013). Signifying "Hillary&Quot;: Making (Political) Sense with Butler and Dewey. Contemporary Pragmatism 10 (2):25-47.
  45. added 2014-07-08
    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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  46. 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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  47. 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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  48. 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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  49. added 2014-07-07
    Christopher Gauker (2014). How Many Bare Demonstratives Are There in English? Linguistics and Philosophy 37 (4):291-314.
    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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  50. 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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