David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (6):553-581 (2009)
Category mistakes are sentences such as ‘Colourless green ideas sleep furiously’ or ‘The theory of relativity is eating breakfast’. Such sentences are highly anomalous, and this has led a large number of linguists and philosophers to conclude that they are meaningless (call this ‘the meaninglessness view’). In this paper I argue that the meaninglessness view is incorrect and category mistakes are meaningful. I provide four arguments against the meaninglessness view: in Sect. 2, an argument concerning compositionality with respect to category mistakes; in Sect. 3 an argument concerning synonymy facts of category mistakes; in Sect. 4 concerning embeddings of category mistakes in propositional attitude ascriptions; and in Sect. 5 concerning the uses of category mistakes in metaphors. Having presented these arguments, in Sect. 6 I briefly discuss some of the positive motivations for accepting the meaninglessness view and argue that they are unconvincing. I conclude that the meaninglessness view ought to be rejected.
|Keywords||Category mistakes Selectional restrictions Selectional violations Compositionality Semantics Foundations of semantics Montague Grammar Type theoretic semantics Colorless green ideas sleep furiously Meaning Meaningfulness Meaninglessness Nonsense|
|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
J. C. Beall (2003). Possibilities and Paradox: An Introduction to Modal and Many-Valued Logic. Oxford University Press.
Max Black (1962). Models and Metaphors. Ithaca, N.Y.,Cornell University Press.
Daniel R. Boisvert & Christopher M. Lubbers (2003). Frege's Commitment to an Infinite Hierarchy of Senses. Philosophical Papers 32 (1):31-64.
Elisabeth Camp (2005). Review: Josef Stern, Metaphor in Context. [REVIEW] Noûs 39 (4):715-731.
Citations of this work BETA
Ofra Magidor (2011). Arguments by Leibniz’s Law in Metaphysics. Philosophy Compass 6 (3):180-195.
Similar books and articles
Paul A. Roth (2003). Mistakes. Synthese 136 (3):389 - 408.
Paul A. Roth (2003). ``Mistakes''. Synthese 136 (3):389-408.
Robert Sharpe (1967). Category Mistakes and Classification. Inquiry 10 (1-4):204-207.
Gilbert Harman (2003). Category Mistakes in M&E. Philosophical Perspectives 17 (1):165–180.
Donald J. Hillman (1963). On Grammars and Category-Mistakes. Mind 72 (286):224-234.
Christopher J. G. Meacham (2010). Two Mistakes Regarding the Principal Principle. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (2):407-431.
Paul Roth (2003). ``Mistakes''. Synthese 136 (3):389-408.
Per Holth (2001). The Persistence of Category Mistakes in Psychology. Behavior and Philosophy 29:203 - 219.
Added to index2010-02-20
Total downloads122 ( #12,531 of 1,696,602 )
Recent downloads (6 months)9 ( #63,666 of 1,696,602 )
How can I increase my downloads?