David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
The idea to use choice functions in the semantic analysis of indefinites has recently gained increasing attention among linguists and logicians. A central linguistic motivation for the revived interest in this logical perspective, which can be traced back to the epsilon calculus of Hilbert and Bernays (1939), is the observation by Reinhart (1992,1997) that choice functions can account for the problematic scopal behaviour of indefinites and interrogatives. On-going research continues to explore this general thesis, which I henceforth adopt. In this paper I would like to address the matter from two angles. First, given that the semantics of indefinites involves functions, it still does not follow that these have to be choice functions. The common practise is to stipulate this restriction in order to get existential semantics right. However, a so-far open question is whether there is any way to derive choice function interpretation from more general principles of natural language semantics. Another question that has not been formally accounted for yet concerns the relationships between choice functions and the ``specificity'' ``referentiality'' intuition of Fodor and Sag (1981) about indefinites. Is there a sense in which choice functions capture this popular pre-theoretical notion? In order to answer these questions, this paper proposes a revision in the treatment of choice functions in Winter (1997), leaving its linguistic predictions unaffected but changing slightly the compositional mechanism. This modification opens the way for proving the following theorem: function variables in the analysis of the noun phrase must denote only choice functions and can derive only the standard existential analysis by virtue of the conservativity, logicality and non-triviality universals of Generalized Quantifier Theory as proposed in Barwise and Cooper (1981), Van Benthem (1984), Thijsse (1983) and others. The same implementation also captures the ``specificity'' notion: indefinites with a non-empty restriction set denote principal ultrafilters in the revised formalization. These are the quantificational correlates to ``referential'' individuals..
|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
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Sven Ove Hansson (2009). Preference-Based Choice Functions: A Generalized Approach. Synthese 171 (2):257 - 269.
Nicolas Troquard, Wiebe Hoek & Michael Wooldridge (2011). Reasoning About Social Choice Functions. Journal of Philosophical Logic 40 (4):473-498.
Jo-Wang Lin (2004). Choice Functions and Scope of Existential Polarity Wh-Phrases in Mandarin Chinese. Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (4):451-491.
Jeffrey Helzner (2013). Rationalizing Two-Tiered Choice Functions Through Conditional Choice. Synthese 190 (6):929-951.
Adrian Brasoveanu & Donka F. Farkas (2011). How Indefinites Choose Their Scope. Linguistics and Philosophy 34 (1):1-55.
Yoad Winter (1997). Choice Functions and the Scopal Semantics of Indefinites. Linguistics and Philosophy 20 (4):399-467.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads4 ( #405,327 of 1,725,443 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #349,420 of 1,725,443 )
How can I increase my downloads?