Bareplurals ( dogs ) behave in ways that quantified plurals ( some dogs ) do not. For instance, while the sentence John owns dogs implies that John owns more than one dog, its negation John does not own dogs does not mean “John does not own more than one dog”, but rather “John does not own a dog”. A second puzzling behavior is known as the dependent plural reading; when in the scope of another plural, the (...) ‘more than one’ meaning of the plural is not distributed over, but the existential force of the plural is. For example, My friends attend good schools requires that each of my friends attend one good school, not more, while at the same time being inappropriate if all my friends attend the same school. This paper shows that both these phenomena, and others, arise from the same cause. Namely, the plural noun itself does not assert ‘more than one’, but rather the plural denotes a predicate that is number neutral (unspecified for cardinality). The ‘more than one’ meaning arises as an scalar implicature, relying on the scalar relationship between the bare plural and its singular alternative, and calculated in a sub-sentential domain; namely, before existential closure of the event variable. Finally, implications of this analysis will be discussed for the analysis of the quantified noun phrases that interact with bareplurals, such as indefinite numeral DPs ( three boys ), and singular universals ( every boy ). (shrink)
The notion of existence is a very puzzling one philosophically. Often philosophers have appealed to linguistic properties of sentences stating existence. However, the appeal to linguistic intuitions has generally not been systematic and without serious regard of relevant issues in linguistic semantics. This paper has two aims. On the one hand, it will look at statements of existence from a systematic linguistic point of view, in order to try to clarify what the actual semantics of such statements in fact is. (...) On the other hand, it will explore what sort of ontology such statements reflect. The first aim is one of linguistic semantics; the second aim is one of descriptive metaphysics. Philosophically, existence statements appear to reflect the distinction between endurance and perdurance as well as particular notions of abstract states and of kinds. Linguistically, statements of existence involve a particular way of drawing the distinction between eventive and stative verbs and between individual-level and stage-level predicates as well as a particular approach to the semantics of bareplurals and mass nouns. (shrink)
The compositional semantics of sentences like Only mammals give live birth and The flag flies only if the Google Scholar Queen is home is tough problem. Evidence is presented to show that only here is modifying an underlying..
It is argued that the English bare plural (an NP with plural head that lacks a determiner), in spite of its apparently diverse possibilities of interpretation, is optimally represented in the grammar as a unified phenomenon. The chief distinction to be dealt with is that between the generic use of the bare plural (as in Dogs bark) and its existential or indefinite plural use (as in He threw oranges at Alice). The difference between these uses is not to (...) be accounted for by an ambiguity in the NP itself, but rather by explicating how the context of the sentence acts on the bare plural to give rise to this distinction. A brief analysis is sketched in which bareplurals are treated in all instances as proper names of kinds of things. A subsidiary argument is that the null determiner is not to be regarded as the plural of the indefinite article a. (shrink)
In this paper I aim to defend a first‐order non‐discriminating property view concerning existence. The version of this view that I prefer is based on negative (or a specific neutral) free logic that treats the existence predicate as first‐order logical predicate. I will provide reasons why such a view is more plausible than a second‐order discriminating property view concerning existence and I will also discuss four challenges for the proposed view and provide solutions to them.
This paper shows that the semantics of shenme ‘what’ in Chinese bare conditionals may exhibit a phenomenon of double quantification. I argue that such double quantification can be nicely accounted for if one adopts Carlson's (1977a, b) semantics of bareplurals and verb meanings as well as the following two assumptions: (i) shenme ‘what’ can be a proform of bare NPs and hence has the same kind of denotation as bare NPs, and (ii) Chinese (...) class='Hi'>bare NPs are names of kinds of things. This analysis of Chinese bare conditionals lends support to Carlson's approach to bareplurals despite Wilkinson's (1991) criticisms. I also show that an extension of Heim's (1987) analysis of what as ‘something of kind x’ to Chinese shenme ‘what’ encounters problems when shenme ‘what’ is a shared constituent of a predicate which applies to kinds and another predicate which applies to objects. (shrink)
In this article I develop a theory of political ontology, working to differentiate it from traditional political philosophy and Schmittian political theology. As with political theology, political ontology has its primary grounding not in disinterested contemplation from the standpoint of pure reason, but rather in a confrontation with an existential problem. Yet while for Schmitt this is the problem of how to live and think in obedience to God, the problem for political ontology is the question of being. Thus the (...) political ontologist agrees with the political theologian that the political cannot be thought without an awareness of an irreducible exigency – the fact that one thinks as situated in response to a certain moral or ethical demand – but it takes this demand to consist not in divine revelation, but rather in the fact that the human being is a being for which being is at issue. With this definition in mind I go on to read Giorgio Agamben in resolutely ontological terms, arguing that his concepts of bare life and the exception are largely unintelligible if understood ontically. Instead, these concepts are part of a critique that has as its primary target not the ontic political systems and material institutions of modern states but rather the (negative) metaphysical ground of those systems. Political ontology insists on the intertwining of ontology and politics, claiming that theirs is a relation of mutual determination. (shrink)
In this article I examine an as yet unexplored aspect of J.P. Moreland’s defense of so-called bare particularism — the ontological theory according to which ordinary concrete particulars (e.g., Socrates) contain bare particulars as individuating constituents and property ‘hubs.’ I begin with the observation that if there is a constituency relation obtaining between Socrates and his bare particular, it must be an internal relation, in which case the natures of the relata will necessitate the relation. I then (...) distinguish various ways in which a bare particular might be thought to have a nature and show that on none of these is it possible for a bare particular to be a constituent of a complex particular. Thus, Moreland’s attempt to resurrect bare particulars as ontologically indispensable entities is not wholly without difficulties. (shrink)
In recent literature on plurals the claim has often been made that the move from singular to plural expressions can be iterated, generating what are occasionally called higher-level plurals or superplurals, often correlated with superplural predicates. I argue that the idea that the singular-to-plural move can be iterated is questionable. I then show that the examples and arguments intended to establish that some expressions of natural language are in some sense higher-level plurals fail. Next, I argue that (...) these and some other expressions should instead be classified as plurals whose reference is articulated, an idea explained and elaborated in the paper. I also show that the related categories of plural and superplural predicates collapse to that of ordinary predicates. In the process we also see that the law of substitutivity salva veritate should be elaborated for cases involving expressions more complex than singular ones. (shrink)
One of the traditional desiderata for a metaphysical theory of laws of nature is that it be able to explain natural regularities. Some philosophers have postulated governing laws to fill this explanatory role. Recently, however, many have attempted to explain natural regularities without appealing to governing laws. Suppose that some fundamental properties are bare dispositions. In virtue of their dispositional nature, these properties must be (or are likely to be) distributed in regular patterns. Thus it would appear that an (...) ontology including bare dispositions can dispense with governing laws of nature. I believe that there is a problem with this line of reasoning. In this essay, I’ll argue that governing laws are indispensable for the explanation of a special sort of natural regularity: those holding among categorical properties (or, as I’ll call them, categorical regularities). This has the potential to be a serious objection to the denial of governing laws, since there may be good reasons to believe that observed regularities are categorical regularities. (shrink)
Descriptions are phrases of the form ‘an F’, ‘the F’, ‘Fs’, ‘the Fs’ and NP's F (e.g. ‘John's mother’). They can be indefinite (e.g., ‘an F’ and ‘Fs’), definite (e.g. ‘the F’ and ‘the Fs’), singular (e.g., ‘an F’, ‘the F’) or plural (e.g., ‘the Fs’, ‘Fs’). In English plural indefinite descriptions lack an article and are for that reason also known as ‘bareplurals’. How to account for the semantics and pragmatics of descriptions has been one of (...) the central topics in philosophy for centuries. This entry focuses on the historical and contemporary philosophical debate about Bertrand Russell’s theory of descriptions and the theories that developed as responses to this theory. (shrink)
Descriptions are phrases of the form ‘an F’, ‘the F’, ‘Fs’ and ‘the Fs’. They can be indefinite (e.g., ‘an F’ and ‘Fs’), definite (e.g. ‘the F’ and ‘the Fs’), singular (e.g., ‘an F’, ‘the F’) and plural (e.g., ‘the Fs’, ‘Fs’). In English plural indefinite descriptions lack an article and are for that reason also known as ‘bareplurals’.
Dayal’s (2004) theory of kind terms accounts for the deﬁniteness and number marking patterns in kind terms in many languages. Brazilian Portuguese has been claimed to be a counter-example to her theory as it seems to allow bare “singular” kind terms, which are predicted to be impossible according to her theory. However, the empirical status of the relevant data has not been clear so far. This paper presents a new data point from Singlish and conﬁrms the existence of (...) class='Hi'>bare “singular” kind terms. A revised theory of kind terms is proposed that accounts for it. The proposed theory puts forth a number system with three basic categories, i.e. singular, plural and general. It is claimed that bare “singular” kind terms are in fact derived from general NPs, which are associated with number-neutral properties. The paper also discusses why bare “singular” kind terms are not perfectly acceptable in Brazilian Portuguese. (shrink)
Languages that have determiners often have a rich inventory of them. In English, indeﬁnite determiners include a(n), some, a certain, this, one, another, cardinals, partitives, the zero determiner of bareplurals (in some analyses), and, according to Horn 1999 and Giannakidou 2001, any. Despite the attention indeﬁnites have received in the literature, characterizing what is common to all of them and what is speciﬁc to each is still an elusive task. This paper investigates the ﬁrst three determiners in (...) this list, attempting to provide a semantic characterization that accounts for their distribution. (For pertinent discussion of issues that overlap to some extent with those taken up below, see Kamp and Bende-Farkas 2002, and for a discussion of the French versions of some and a certain, see Jayez and Tovena (this volume).) The Ds that concern us here share two characteristics: (i) they are indeﬁnite, and (ii) they are existential when not in the scope of any operator or quantiﬁer. As seen in , they may occur as pivots in existential there constructions, and therefore all three form weak DPs. (shrink)
This paper defends 'plural reference', the view that definite plurals refer to several individuals at once, and it explores how the view can account for a range of phenomena that have been discussed in the linguistic literature.
There are predicates and subjects. It is thus tempting to think that there are properties on the one hand, and things that have them on the other. I have no quarrel with this thought; it is a fine place to begin a theory of properties and property-having. But in this paper, I argue that one such theory—bare particularism—is false. I pose a dilemma. Either bare particulars instantiate the properties of their host substances or they do not. If they (...) do not, then bare particularism is both unmotivated and false. If they do, then the view faces a problematic—and, I shall argue, false—crowding consequence. (shrink)
The theory of the ontological constitution of material objects based on bare particulars has recently experienced a revival, especially thanks to the work of J.P. Moreland. Moreland and other authors belonging to this â€˜new waveâ€™, however, have focused primarily on the issue whether or not the notion of a â€˜bareâ€™ particular is internally consistent. Not much has been said, instead, about the relation holding between bare particulars and the properties they are supposed to unify into concrete particulars. This (...) paper aims to fill this gap and, making reference primarily to Morelandâ€™s version of the theory, highlight some aspects and consequences of it that have not received due attention so far. It is argued that, given a number of seemingly plausible metaphysical assumptions, supporters of bare particulars are led to either endorse supersubstantivalismâ€”the view that material objects are identical with regions of spaceâ€“timeâ€”or abandon their theory altogether. Whatever one makes of the proposed conclusion, a dialectical structure emerges that puts precise constraints on bare particular ontologies and, therefore, will have to be taken into account in future discussion of these and related topics. (shrink)
The article explores the striking coincidences in Heidegger's and Blanchot's account of the image as death mask. The analysis of the respective theories of the image brings forth two radically divergent conceptions of thinking as "laying patent" (Heidegger) and of thinking as "laying bare" (Blanchot).
One often hears a complaint about “bare particulars”. This complaint has bugged me for years. I know it bugs others too, but no one seems to have vented in print, so that is what I propose to do. (I hope also to say a few constructive things along the way.) The complaint is aimed at the substratum theory, which says that particulars are, in a certain sense, separate from their universals. If universals and particulars are separate, connected to each (...) other only by a relation of instantiation, then, it is said, the nature of these particulars becomes mysterious. In themselves, they do not have any properties at all. They are nothing but a pincushion into which universals may be poked. They are Locke’s “I know not what” (1689, II, xxiii, §2); they are Plato’s receptacles (Timaeus 48c–53c); they are “bare particulars”.1 Against substratum theory there is the bundle theory, according to which particulars are just bundles of universals. The substratum and bundle theories agree on much. They agree that both universals and particulars exist. And they agree that a particular in some sense has universals. (I use phrases like ‘particular P has universal U ’ and ‘particular P ’s universals’ neutrally as between the substratum and bundle theories.) But the bundle theory says that a particular is exhaustively composed of (i.e., is a mereological fusion of) its universals. The substratum theory, on the other hand, denies this. Take a particular, and mereologically subtract away its universals. Is anything left? According to the bundle theory, no. But according to the substratum theory, something is indeed left. Call this remaining something a thin particular. The thin particular does not contain the universals as parts; it instantiates them. (shrink)
Siegel defends "Limited Intentionism", a theory of what secures the semantic reference of uses of bare demonstratives ("this", "that" and their plurals). According to Limited Intentionism, demonstrative reference is fixed by perceptually anchored intentions on the part of the speaker.
Philosophers who accept tropes generally agree that tropes act as the objects of reference of nominalizations of adjectives, such as 'Socrates’ wisdom' or 'the beauty of the landscape'. This paper argues that tropes play a further important role in the semantics of natural language, namely in the semantics of bare demonstratives like 'this' and 'that' in what in linguistics is called identificational sentences.
In the Introduction to Self to Self, J. David Velleman claims that 'the word "self" does not denote any one entity but rather expresses a reflexive guise under which parts or aspects of a person are presented to his own mind' (Velleman 2006, 1). Velleman distinguishes three different reflexive guises of the self: the self of the person's self-image, or narrative self-conception; the self of self-sameness over time; and the self as autonomous agent. Velleman's account of each of these different (...) guises of the self is complex and repays close philosophical attention. The first aim of this paper is therefore to provide a detailed analysis of Velleman's view. The second aim is more critical. While I am in agreement with Velleman about the importance of distinguishing the different aspects of selfhood, I argue that, even on his own account, they are more interrelated than he acknowledges. I also analyse the role of the concept of 'bare personhood' in Velleman's approach to selfhood and question whether this concept can function, as he wants it to, to bridge the gap between a naturalistic analysis of reasons for action and Kantian moral reasons. (shrink)
Many philosophers hold that all dispositions must have independent causal bases. I challenge this view, hence defending the possibility of bare dispositions. In part 1, I explain more fully what I mean by "disposition," "causal basis," and "bare disposition." In part 2, I consider the claim that the concept of a disposition entails that dispositions are not bare. In part 3, I consider arguments, due to Prior, Pargetter, and Jackson, that dispositions necessarily have distinct causal bases. In (...) part 4, I consider arguments by Smith and Stoljar that there can't be bare dispositions because they would make for unwelcome "barely true" counterfactuals. In the end, I find no reason to deny the possibility of bare dispositions. (shrink)
We provide examples of plurals related to ambiguity and anaphora that pose problems or are counterexamples for current approaches to plurals. We then propose a dynamic semantics based on an extension of dynamic predicate logic (DPL+) to handle these examples. On our theory, different readings of sentences or discourses containing plurals don’t arise from a postulated ambiguity of plural terms or predicates applying to plural DPs, but follow rather from different types of dynamic transitions that manipulate inputs (...) and outputs from formulas or discourse constituents. Many aspects of meaning can affect the type dynamic transitions: the lexical semantics of predicates to the left and right of a transition, and number features of DPs and discourse constraints like parallelism. (shrink)
In a recent article in this journal, Richard Brian Davis argues that 'bare particulars [as defended by J. P. Moreland] face several serious shortcomings'[2003: 547]. I argue that Davis's two principal criticisms fall flat.
A modus tollens against zero-dimensional material objects is presented from the premises (i) that if there are zero-dimensional material objects then there are bare particulars, and (ii) that there are no bare particulars. The argument for the first premise proceeds by elimination. First, bare particular theory and bundle theory are motivated as the most appealing theories of property exemplification. It is then argued that the bundle theorist’s Ockhamism ought to lead her to reject spatiotemporally located zero-dimensional property (...) instances. Finally, it is argued that since she must accept such instances if she accepts zero-dimensional material object bundles, she ought to avoid the latter. This leaves bare particular theory as the default view of zero-dimensional material objects. The argument for the second premise invokes the thesis that the exemplification of at least one sparse property is a prerequisite for the existence of any particular. It is argued from Humean considerations that bare particulars fail this prerequisite. (shrink)
Contemporary accounts of logic and language cannot give proper treatments of plural constructions of natural languages. They assume that plural constructions are redundant devices used to abbreviate singular constructions. This paper and its sequel, “The logic and meaning of plurals, II”, aim to develop an account of logic and language that acknowledges limitations of singular constructions and recognizes plural constructions as their peers. To do so, the papers present natural accounts of the logic and meaning of plural constructions that (...) result from the view that plural constructions are, by and large, devices for talking about many things (as such). The account of logic presented in the papers surpasses contemporary Fregean accounts in its scope. This extension of the scope of logic results from extending the range of languages that logic can directly relate to. Underlying the view of language that makes room for this is a perspective on reality that locates in the world what plural constructions can relate to. The papers suggest that reflections on plural constructions point to a broader framework for understanding logic, language, and reality that can replace the contemporary Fregean framework as this has replaced its Aristotelian ancestor. (shrink)
In a recent article [Mertz 2001] in this journal I argued for the virtues of a realist ontology of relation instances (unit attributes). A major strength of this ontology is an assay of ontic ('material') predication that yields an account of individuation without the necessity of positing and defending 'bare particulars'. The crucial insight is that it is the unifying agency or combinatorial aspect of a relation instance as predicable that is for ontology the principium individuationis [Mertz 2002; 1996]. (...) Or in short, what is ontically predicable, precisely as such, is the cause of individuation. As a preface to this positive doctrine I offered arguments against the coherence of bare particulars as defended in an article by J. P. Moreland . In a reply contained in this issue Moreland and Timothy Pickavance (hereafter M/P) propose to answer my objections . The response that follows provides reasons why, I contend, M/P have not succeeded in parrying my objections to bare particulars. (shrink)
Not long ago, one of us has clarified and defended a bare particular theory of individuation. More recently, D. W. Mertz has raised a set of objections against this account and other accounts of bare particulars and proffered an alternative theory of individuation. He claims to have shown that 'the concept of bare particulars, and consequently substratum ontology that requires it, is untenable.' We disagree with this claim and believe there are adequate responses to the three arguments (...) Mertz raises against bare particulars. To substantiate this assertion, we clarify the nature of bare particulars as individuators, state Mertz's objections, and respond to them. We conclude that Mertz has failed to show that bare particular theory is untenable. (shrink)
IInitially introduced to the philosophical world as elusive, we-know-notwhats—substrata underlying the properties had or exemplified by things, but themselves bereft of properties—bare particulars have been dismissed as undetectable, unnecessary, and even incoherent. Hardly a warm welcome. It appears, however, that times are changing. In a recent series of articles, for example, J. P. Moreland has argued that “bare particulars are crucial entities in any adequate overall theory of individuation”;’ that is, concrete particulars cannot be individuated without them. In (...) the same vein, Oaklander and Rothstein,2 drawing upon elements of Moreland’s new theory, have defended bare particulars against Loux’s grounding objection’—that if the theory is correct, bare particulars are qualitatively indiscernible; in which case we either have no basis for saying that they arc numerically diverse, or we must introduce lower-level substrata to ground that diversity, thereby raising the spectre of an infinite regress of individuators. (shrink)
In this sequel to “The logic and meaning of plurals. Part I”, I continue to present an account of logic and language that acknowledges limitations of singular constructions of natural languages and recognizes plural constructions as their peers. To this end, I present a non-reductive account of plural constructions that results from the conception of plurals as devices for talking about the many. In this paper, I give an informal semantics of plurals, formulate a formal characterization of (...) truth for the regimented languages that results from augmenting elementary languages with refinements of basic plural constructions of natural languages, and account for the logic of plural constructions by characterizing the logic of those regimented languages. (shrink)
In his paper Bare Particulars, T. Sider claims that one of the most plausible candidates for bare particulars are spacetime points. The aim of this paper is to shed light on Sider’s reasoning and its consequences. There are three concepts of spacetime points that allow their identification with bare particulars. One of them, Moderate structural realism, is considered to be the most adequate due its appropriate approach to spacetime metric and moderate view of mereological simples. However, it (...) pushes the Substratum theory to dismiss primitive thisness as the only identity condition for bare particulars, but the paper argues that such elimination is a legitimate step. (shrink)
In a recent series of articles, J. P. Moreland has attempted to revive the idea that bare particulars are indispensable for individuating concrete particulars. The success of the project turns on Moreland's proposal that while bare particulars are indeed 'partially clad'--that is, exemplify at least some properties--they are nevertheless 'bare' in that they lack internal constituents. I argue that 'partially clad' bare particulars (PCBPs) are impervious not only to traditional objections, but also those recently urged in (...) this journal by D. W. Mertz. The real problem with Moreland's view, I contend, is that together with his containment model of predication, it leads to the unwanted conclusion that PCBPs actually contain themselves as constituents, thereby ensnaring them in a vicious (individuative) circularity. (shrink)
A popular defense of physicalist theories of consciousness against anti-physicalist arguments invokes the existence of ‘phenomenal concepts’. These are concepts that designate conscious experiences from a first person perspective, and hence differ from physicalistic concepts; but not in a way that precludes co-referentiality with them. On one version of this strategy phenomenal concepts are seen as (1) type demonstratives that have (2) no mode of presentation. However, 2 is possible without 1-call this the ‘bare recognitional concept’ view-and I will (...) argue that this avoids certain recent criticisms while retaining the virtue of finessing the ‘mode of presentation’ problem for phenomenal concepts. But construing phenomenal concepts this way seems to not do justice to the phenomenology of conscious experience. In this paper I examine whether or not this impression can be borne out by a good argument. As it turns out, it is harder to do so than one might think. It can be done, but it involves somewhat more convoluted reasoning than one might have supposed necessary. Having shown that, I will end with a few brief remarks on what my argument means for attempts to preserve a physicalist account of consciousness. (shrink)
Atomism denies that complexes exist. Common-sense metaphysics may posit masses, composite individuals and sets, but atomism says there are only simples. In a singularist logic, it is difficult to make a plausible case for atomism. But we should accept plural logic, and then atomism can paraphrase away apparent reference to complexes. The paraphrases require unfamiliar plural universals, but these are of independent interest; for example, we can identify numbers and sets with plural universals. The atomist paraphrases would fail if (...) class='Hi'>plurals presuppose complexes: but an Appendix shows that reference to complexes is not required in the semantics of plurals. (shrink)
This essay proposes a novel semantic account of demonstratives, aimed at clarifying the sense in which demonstratives are semantically dependent on demonstrations. Its first two sections summarize the main views currently on the market. Section 3 argues that they are all vitiated by the same shortcomings, and yield incorrect results of ‘truth in virtue of character’ and entailment. Section 4 proposes a different account of the relationships between demonstratives and demonstrations, grounded on the idea of truth-conditionally irrelevant aspects of the (...) meaning of certain expressions. The resulting view of demonstratives is consonant with the so-called ‘bare boned’ account of their truth-conditional role, but is also in the position to recognize that the dependence of a demonstrative on a demonstration is, in some sense of the term, meaning-governed. The final section of this essay discusses the distinction between ‘vacuous’ and ‘incomplete’ uses of demonstratives, and cases involving multiple occurrences of these expressions. (shrink)
This paper explores the link between number marking and(in)definiteness in nominals and their interpretation. Differencesbetween bare singulars and plurals in languages without determinersare explained by treating bare nominals as kind terms. Differencesarise, it is argued, because singular and plural kinds relatedifferently to their instantiations. In languages with determiners,singular kinds typically occur with the definite determiner, butplural/mass kinds can be bare in some languages and definite inothers. An account of singular kinds in terms of taxonomic readingsis proposed, (...) with number marking playing a crucial role inexplaining the obligatory presence of the determiner. The variationbetween languages with respect to plural/mass kinds is explained bypositing a universal scale of definiteness, with individual languageschoosing different cut-off points for lexicalization of the definitedeterminer. The possibility of further cross-linguistic variation isalso considered. (shrink)
It has been argued that an objectual semantics for plurals falls victim to Russell’s paradox, and that a nominalistic semantics should therefore be preferred (Boolos 1984); similar considerations have sometimes been extended to other types of abstract reference, in particular to property talk. We suggest that this line of argument is mistaken: deeply entrenched features of ordinary language guarantee that property and plural talk do give rise to paradoxes. In the case of properties, the grammar of English is untyped, (...) which makes it straightforward to generate a paradox. In the case of plurals, it is badly typed, which means that paradoxes can be generated, but in complicated ways. In both cases, the problem is not to avoid paradoxes but to model them. We conclude that an objectual semantics is entirely in order, but that it must be developed within a trivalent semantics suited to a paradoxical object language. (shrink)
Quantum mechanics without the collapse postulate, the bare theory, was proposed by Albert (1992) as a way of understanding Everett's relative-state formulation of quantum mechanics. The basic idea is to try to account for an observer's beliefs by appealing to a type of illusion predicted by the bare theory. This paper responds to some recent objections to the bare theory by providing a more detailed description of the sense in which it can and the sense in which (...) it cannot account for our experience. (shrink)
According to criminal law a person should not be punished for a bare intention to commit a crime. While theorists have provided consequentialist and epistemic justifications of this tenet, no convincing retributive justification thereof has yet been advanced. The present paper attempts to fill this lacuna through arguing that there is an important moral difference between a future-directed and a present-directed intention to act wrongfully. Such difference is due to the restraining influence exercised in the decisional process by the (...) ‘now-belief’, i.e. the belief that the time has come to act, which is exclusively involved in the latter type of intention. (shrink)
I-theories of bare demonstratives take the semantic referent of a demonstrative to be determined by an inner state of the utterer. E-theories take the referent to be determined by factors external to the utterer. I argue that, on the Standard view of communication, neither of these theories can be right. Firstly, both are committed to the existence of conventions with superfluous content. Secondly, any claim to the effect that a speaker employs the conventions associated with these theories cannot have (...) any content, i.e. nothing can count as following these conventions. Bare demonstratives may well not be devices of semantic reference at all, i.e. may not actually contribute a referent to the proposition semantically expressed by an utterance. (shrink)
The capacity to recognise and interpret sluices—bare wh-phrases that exhibit a sentential meaning—is essential to maintaining cohesive interaction between human users and a machine interlocutor in a dialogue system. In this paper we present a machine learning approach to sluice disambiguation in dialogue. Our experiments, based on solid theoretical considerations, show that applying machine learning techniques using a compact set of features that can be automatically identified from PoS markings in a corpus can be an efficient tool to disambiguate (...) between sluice interpretations. (shrink)
This paper develops a detailed and unified analysis of semantics of the from-N-to-N construction, based on a small number of ingredients, none of which are specific to this construction itself, but which are idiomatically packaged in this construction. Letting the construction uniformly apply to the product of the two nouns not only captures their strong relation, but it also obviates a role for a ‘reduplicative’ mechanism of some sort in this particular construction.
This paper concentrates on the syntax and semantics of bare nominals in Germanic and Romance languages. These languages do not normally allow nominals to occur without an article. However, some syntactic configurations, including predicative constructions, supplementives and some prepositional phrases, allow bareness of certain nominals. We argue that bare nominals in these constructions refer to capacities: professions, religions, nationalities or other roles in society. Capacities are analyzed as entities of type e, sortally distinct from regular individuals as well (...) as kinds. We further argue that the capacity interpretation is associated with NP – a layer within the DP that lacks number features. This accounts for the number-neutral status of bare nominals. We also show some patterns in languages other than Romance and Germanic that provide further cross-linguistic support for the postulation of capacities as a separate ontological category, specific to a low position within the DP. (shrink)
The bare theory is the standard von Neumann·Dirac formulation of quantum mechanics without the collapse postulate but with the eigenvalueeigenstate link. Albert (1992, 1i6-125) presented the bare theory as one way of understanding EverettRi7;s relative-state interpretation. At first glance, it looks as if the bare theory cannot possibly account for our experience. After all, at the end of a measurement an observer will typically be in a superposition of having recorded mutually incompatible results, which on the standard (...) interpretation of states (the interpretation provided by the eigenvalue-eigenstate.. (shrink)
In the second edition Preface of Religion Within the Bounds of Bare Reason Kant responds to an anonymous review of the first edition. We present the first English translation of this obscure book review. Following our translation, we summarize the reviewer's main points and evaluate the adequacy of Kant's replies to five criticisms, including two replies that Kant provides in footnotes added in the second edition. A key issue is the reviewer's claim that Religion adopts an implied standpoint, described (...) using transcendental terminology. Kant could have avoided much confusion surrounding Religion, had he taken this review more seriously. We therefore respond to three objections that Kant failed to address: how the Willer distinction enables the propensity to evil to be viewed as coexisting with freedom of choice; how moral improvement is possible, even though the propensity to evil is necessary and universal; and how a can be regarded as. (shrink)
A recent claim that in quantum chromodynamics in the Landau gauge the gluon propagator vanishes in the infrared limit, while the ghost propagator is more singular than a simple pole, is investigated analytically and numerically. This picture is shown to be supported even at the level in which the vertices in the Dyson- Schwinger equations are taken to be bare. The gauge invariant running coupling is shown to be uniquely determined by the equations and to have a large ﬁnite (...) infrared limit. S0556-2821 98 04421-X.. (shrink)
Abstract: Friends of plural logic—like Oliver & Smiley (2001), Rayo (2002), Yi (2005), and McKay (2006)—have argued that a semantics of plurals based on mereological sums would be too weak, and they have adduced several examples in favor of their claim. However, they have not considered various possible counter-arguments. So how convincing are their own arguments? We show that several of them are easily answered, while some others are more problematic. Overall, the case against mereological singularism—the idea that mereological (...) sums can serve as the semantic values of plurals—turns out to be much less strong than what it is usually presented to be. (shrink)
This paper considers the issues surrounding women’s bare-breastedness and breastfeeding in public. I argue that women should have equal freedoms with men to bare their breasts in public, but not for the reasons commonly cited Proponents of “the public breast” tend to focus on the similarities between women’s and men’s breasts; I argue that the sameness versus difference debate is unhelpful in resolving this question. As I argue, women’s breasts differ from men’s in significant ways, and by dismissing (...) these differences we dismiss the possibility of women’s authentic breasted experience. Instead, I suggest that women share an equal interest with men in defining their sexuality: When women are denied the right to go topless or breastfeed in public, they are denied their own understandings of their breasts. (shrink)
Mass and plural expressions show some interesting similarities, suggesting they should be analyzed in a similar way. For example, both exhibit cumulative reference, as noted by Quine (1960: 91); that is, they license inferences like those in (1): (1) a. A is water and B is water; therefore A and B together are water. b. A are apples and B are apples; therefore A and B together are apples. Singular count nouns do not license the same kind of inference; (2) (...) is invalid: (2) A is an apple and B is an apple; therefore A and B together are an apple. (shrink)
We present a plural logic that is as expressively strong as it can be without sacrificing axiomatisability, axiomatise it, and use it to chart the expressive limits set by axiomatisability. To the standard apparatus of quantification using singular variables our object-language adds plural variables, a predicate expressing inclusion (is/are/is one of/are among), and a plural definite description operator. Axiomatisability demands that plural variables only occur free, but they have a surprisingly important role. Plural description is not eliminable in favour of (...) quantification; on the contrary, quantification is definable in terms of it. Predicates and functors (function signs) can take plural as well as singular terms as arguments, and both many-valued and single-valued functions are expressible. The system accommodates collective as well as distributive predicates, and the condition for a predicate to be distributive is definable within it; similarly for functors. An essential part of the project is to demonstrate the soundness and completeness of the calculus with respect to a semantics that does without set-theoretic domains and in which the use of set-theoretic extensions of predicates and functors is replaced by the sui generis relations and functions for which the extensions were at best artificial surrogates. Our metalanguage is designed to solve the difficulties involved in talking plurally about individuals and about the semantic values of plural items. (shrink)
Bertrand Russell introduced several novel ideas in his 1903 Principles of Mathematics that he later gave up and never went back to in his subsequent work. Two of these are the related notions of denoting concepts and classes as many. In this paper we reconstruct each of these notions in the framework of conceptual realism and connect them through a logic of names that encompasses both proper and common names, and among the latter, complex as well as simple common names. (...) Names, proper or common, and simple or complex, occur as parts of quantifier phrases, which in conceptual realism stand for referential concepts, i.e., cognitive capacities that inform our speech and mental acts with a referential nature and account for the intentionality, or directedness, of those acts. In Russell’s theory, quantifier phrases express denoting concepts (which do not include proper names). In conceptual realism, names, as well as predicates, can be nominalized and allowed to occur as "singular terms", i.e., as arguments of predicates. Occurring as a singular term, a name denotes, if it denotes at all, a class as many, where, as in Russell’s theory, a class as many of one object is identical with that one object, and a class as many of more than one object is a plurality, i.e., a plural object that we call a group. Also, as in Russell’s theory, there is no empty class as many. When nominalized, proper names function as "singular terms" just the way they do in so-called free logic. Leśniewski’s ontology, which is also called a logic of names can be completely interpreted within this conceptualist framework, and the well-known oddities of Leśniewski’s system are shown not to be odd at all when his system is so interpreted. Finally, we show how the pluralities, or groups, of the logic of classes as many can be used as the semantic basis of plural reference and predication. We explain in this way Russell’s "fundamental doctrine upon which all rests", i.e., "the doctrine that the subject of a proposition may be plural, and that such plural subjects are what is meant by classes [as many] which have more than one term" (Russell 1938, p. 517). (shrink)
In 1903, in The Principles of Mathematics (PoM), Russell endorsed an account of classes whereupon a class fundamentally is to be considered many things, and not one, and used this thesis to explicate his first version of a theory of types, adding that it formed the logical justification for the grammatical distinction between singular and plural. The view, however, was short-lived; rejected before PoM even appeared in print. However, aside from mentions of a few misgivings, there is little evidence about (...) why he abandoned this view. In this paper, I speculate as to what those reasons were, and evaluate them in light of recent work and interest in plural logic. (shrink)
Collective entities and collective relations play an important role in natural language. In order to capture the full meaning of sentences like The Beatles sing Yesterday, a knowledge representation language should be able to express and reason about plural entities — like the Beatles — and their relationships — like sing — with any possible reading (cumulative, distributive or collective).In this paper a way of including collections and collective relations within a concept language, chosen as the formalism for representing the (...) semantics of sentences, is presented. A twofold extension of theA–C concept language is investigated: (1) special relations introduce collective entities either out of their components or out of other collective entities, (2) plural quantifiers on collective relations specify their possible reading. The formal syntax and semantics of the concept language is given, together with a sound and complete algorithm to compute satisfiability and subsumption of concepts, and to compute recognition of individuals. (shrink)
We design new languages, by and large, in order to bypass complexities and limitations within the languages we already have. But when we are concerned with language itself we should guard against projecting the simple and powerful syntax and semantics we have concocted back into the sentences we encounter. For some of the features of English, French, or Ancient Greek we routinely abstract away from in the process of formalization might be linguistic universals – the very features that set human (...) languages apart from all the other conceivable ones. How similar natural languages really are to formal ones is an empirical question for linguistics. (shrink)
This book present a unified semantic theory of expressions involving the notions of "part" and "whole " in which principles of the individuation of part structures play a central role. The book presents a range of new empirical generalizations with data from English and a variety of other languages involving plurals, mass nouns, adnominal and adverbial modifiers such as 'whole', 'together', and 'alone', nominal and adverbial quanitfiers ranging over parts, and expressions of completion such as 'completely' and 'partly'. She (...) develops a new theory of part structures which differs from traditional mereological theories in that the notion of an integrated whole plays a central role and in that the part structure of an entity is allowed to vary across different situations, perspectives, and dimensions. (shrink)
I have two main objectives. The first is to get a better understanding of what is at issue between friends and foes of higher-order quantification, and of what it would mean to extend a Boolos-style treatment of second-order quantification to third- and higherorder quantification. The second objective is to argue that in the presence of absolutely general quantification, proper semantic theorizing is essentially unstable: it is impossible to provide a suitably general semantics for a given language in a language of (...) the same logical type. I claim that this leads to a trilemma: one must choose between giving up absolutely general quantification, settling for the view that adequate semantic theorizing about certain languages is essentially beyond our reach, and countenancing an open-ended hierarchy of languages of ever ascending logical type. I conclude by suggesting that the hierarchy may be the least unattractive of the options on the table. (shrink)
But this changes nothing. The decisive claim is that in assessing the counterfactuals implicit in (A) we do not have to take sceptical worlds into the reckoning, whereas we must do that in assessing (B) because (B) explicitly speaks of them. Accept, provisionally, what is here said about (B) and focus on the claim about (A). Nobody should make it unless they are already in a position to assert that the actual world is not a sceptical world. And with that (...) we are back to the choice between impotence and redundancy. (shrink)
We are confident of many of the judgements we make as to what sorts of alterations the members of nature's kinds can survive, and what sorts of events mark the ends of their existences. But is our confidence based on empirical observation of nature's kinds and their members? Conventionalists deny that we can learn empirically which properties are essential to the members of nature's kinds. Judgements of sameness in kind between members, and of numerical sameness of a member across time, (...) merely project our conventions of individuation. Our confidence is warranted because apart from those conventions there are no phenomena of kind-sameness or of numerical sameness across time. There is just 'stuff' displaying properties. This paper argues that conventionalists can assign no properties to the 'stuff' beyond immediate phenomenal properties. Consequently they cannot explain how each of us comes to be able to wield 'our conventions'. (shrink)
Common sense supports the idea that we can have morally significantreasons for giving priority to the interests of persons for whom wehave special concern. Yet there is a real question about the natureof such reasons. Many people seem to believe that there are biologicalor metaphysical special relations, such as family, race, religion orpersonal identity, which are in themselves morally important and thussupply reasons for special concern. I maintain that there are nogrounds for accepting this. What matters morally, I argue, is (...) thesubstance of personal or wider social relationships. My ``substantivist''account of the source of morally salient reasons for special concernis positioned between nonreductionist and strong voluntarist views ofspecial responsibilities. Substantivism is more plausible than theseviews and has important implications for how we approach morallyweighing personal versus impartial reasons. (shrink)
It is generally assumed that there are two types of genericity, called characterizing statements and kind reference in Krifka et al. (1995). Characterizing statements express generalizations about sets of entities or situations, cf. (1); kind reference involves reference to an entity that is related to specimens, cf. (2).
While writing this thesis, there were many things I wanted to get right. I wanted to get the data right. I wanted to get my analysis of the data right. I certainly wanted to get all my citations right, which can get pretty tricky when one is trying to ﬁnish a chapter at 2am. But if an error did creep in somewhere in the body of the thesis, that is not a disaster. Sooner or later, I will get a chance (...) to correct it in a future publication. However, this part of the thesis, which sits right at the beginning but was among the last to be written, is diﬀerent. I only have one opportunity to express, in print, how thankful I am to the people whose assistance was so important to me over the past years. Which is unfortunate, since if I were to truly elaborate all I am thankful for, these acknowledgements would be the lengthiest chapter of the thesis. But I hope this brief version will suﬃce in its stead. (shrink)
1. Background: Representation in language and vision ................................................ 1 2. Some parallels between the study of vision and language......................................... 3..