David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Review 114 (2):179-225 (2005)
In his groundbreaking Grundlagen, Frege (1884) pointed out that number words like ‘four’ occur in ordinary language in two quite different ways and that this gives rise to a philosophical puzzle. On the one hand ‘four’ occurs as an adjective, which is to say that it occurs grammatically in sentences in a position that is commonly occupied by adjectives. Frege’s example was (1) Jupiter has four moons, where the occurrence of ‘four’ seems to be just like that of ‘green’ in (2) Jupiter has green moons. On the other hand, ‘four’ occurs as a singular term, which is to say that it occurs in a position that is commonly occupied by paradigmatic cases of singular terms, like proper names: (3) The number of moons of Jupiter is four. Here ‘four’ seems to be just like ‘Wagner’ in (4) The composer of Tannhäuser is Wagner, and both of these statements seem to be identity statements, ones with which we claim that what two singular terms stand for is identical. But that number words can occur both as singular terms and as adjectives is puzzling. Usually adjectives cannot occur in a position occupied by a singular term, and the other way round, without resulting in ungrammaticality and nonsense. To give just one example, it would be ungrammatical to replace ‘four’ with ‘the number of moons of Jupiter’ in (1): (5) *Jupiter has the number of moons of Jupiter moons. This ungrammaticality results even though ‘four’ and ‘the number of moons of Jupiter’ are both apparently singular terms standing for the same object in (3). So, how can it be that number words can occur both as singular terms and as adjectives, while other adjectives cannot occur as singular terms, and other singular terms cannot occur as adjectives?
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Jamin Asay (2013). Three Paradigms of Scientific Realism: A Truthmaking Account. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (1):1-21.
Robert Knowles (2015). What ‘the Number of Planets is Eight’ Means. Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2757-2775.
David Liebesman (2015). We Do Not Count by Identity. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (1):21-42.
Agustín Rayo (2007). Ontological Commitment. Philosophy Compass 2 (3):428–444.
Similar books and articles
Friederike Moltmann (2013). Reference to Numbers in Natural Language. Philosophical Studies 162 (3):499 - 536.
Tobias Rosefeldt (2008). 'That'-Clauses and Non-Nominal Quantification. Philosophical Studies 137 (3):301 - 333.
Gabriel Chindea (2007). Le nombre est-il une réalité parfaitement intelligible? Une analyse de l'intelligibilité du nombre chez Plotin. Chôra 5:97-109.
Emma Borg (2001). The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Singular Terms. Philosophical Papers 30 (1):1-30.
John Justice (2007). Unified Semantics of Singular Terms. Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):363–373.
Veneeta Dayal (2004). Number Marking and (in)Definiteness in Kind Terms. Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (4):393-450.
Hiroki Nomoto (forthcoming). A General Theory of Bare “Singular” Kind Terms. In Proceedings of the Poster Session of the 29th Annual West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL 29).
Berit Brogaard (2007). Number Words and Ontological Commitment. Philosophical Quarterly 57 (226):1–20.
Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). The Number of Planets, a Number-Referring Term? In Philip A. Ebert & Marcus Rossberg (eds.), Abstractionism. Oxford University Press
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads52 ( #64,271 of 1,724,750 )
Recent downloads (6 months)10 ( #64,701 of 1,724,750 )
How can I increase my downloads?