Generics and mental representations

Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (5):529-556 (2004)
It is widely agreed that generics tolerate exceptions. It turns out, however, thatexceptions are tolerated only so long as they do not violate homogeneity:when the exceptions are not concentrated in a salient ``chunk'''' of the domain ofthe generic. The criterion for salience of a chunk is cognitive: it is dependent onthe way in which the domain is mentally represented. Findings of psychologicalexperiments about the ways in which different domains are represented, and thefactors affecting such representations, account for judgments of generic sentences,facts which cannot be explained by linguistics alone.The reason for the homogeneity requirement itself is, in turn, also dependenton cognitive considerations. Generics express default rules, and psychologicalfindings have shown that, the more homogeneous the domain, the easier it isfor subjects to infer rules about it. Thus, cognitive results form a crucial part of a comprehensive account of the meaningof a linguistic expression.
Keywords mental representations  generics  probability
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,360
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA
    Bernhard Nickel (2010). Generically Free Choice. Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (6):479-512.
    B. Nickel (2010). Generic Comparisons. Journal of Semantics 27 (2):207-242.
    Similar books and articles

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    7 ( #149,815 of 1,089,063 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,801 of 1,089,063 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.