David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2):211 - 244 (2008)
A dilemma put forward by Schein (1993, Plurals and events. Cambridge: MIT Press) and Rayo (2002, Nous, 36, 436-464) suggests that, in order to characterize the semantics of plurals, we should not use predicate logic, but plural logic, a formal language whose terms may refer to several things at once. We show that a similar dilemma applies to mass nouns. If we use predicate logic and sets when characterizing their semantics, we arrive at a Russellian paradox. And if we use predicate logic and mereological sums, the semantics turns out to be too weak. We then develop an account where mass nouns are treated as non-singular terms. This semantics is faithful to the intuition that, if there are eight pieces of silverware on a table, the speaker refers to eight things at once when he says: The silverware that is on the table comes from Italy. We show that this account provides a satisfactory semantics for a wide range of sentences
|Keywords||Mass nouns Singular terms Plurals Plural logic Mereology|
|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
David Nicolas (2009). Mereological Essentialism, Composition, and Stuff: A Reply to Kristie Miller. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 71 (3):425 - 429.
Brendan S. Gillon (2012). Mass Terms. Philosophy Compass 7 (10):712-730.
Similar books and articles
Roger Schwarzschild, Stubborn Distributivity, Multiparticipant Nouns and the Count/Mass Distinction.
Nino Cocchiarella (2009). Mass Nouns in a Logic of Classes as Many. Journal of Philosophical Logic 38 (3):343 - 361.
Henry Laycock (2005). 'Mass Nouns, Count Nouns and Non-Count Nouns'. In Alex Barber (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Elsevier.
Henry Laycock (2006). Words Without Objects. Clarendon Press Oxford.
Henry Laycock (2006). Variables, Generality and Existence. In Paulo Valore (ed.), Topics on General and Formal Ontology. Polimetrica. 27.
Byeong-uk Yi (2006). The Logic and Meaning of Plurals. Part II. Journal of Philosophical Logic 35 (3):239-288.
Øystein Linnebo & David Nicolas (2008). Superplurals in English. Analysis 68 (299):186–197.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads35 ( #54,565 of 1,140,004 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #48,755 of 1,140,004 )
How can I increase my downloads?