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)
Existential bareplurals (e.g. dogs) have the same semantics as explicit existentials (e.g. a dog or some dogs) but different pragmatics. In addition to entailing the existence of a set of individuals, existential bareplurals implicate that this set is suitable for some purpose. The suitability implicature is a form of what has been variously called informativeness-based or R-based implicature. Condoravdi (1992, 1994) and others have claimed that bareplurals have a third reading (in (...) addition to the generic and the existential), sometimes called quasi-universal. However, the suitability implicature is sufficient to account for the quasi-universal interpretation, without the need to stipulate a distinct reading of bareplurals. (shrink)
In this paper we show that focus structure determines the interpretation of bareplurals in English: topic bareplurals are interpreted generically, focused bareplurals are interpreted existentially. When bareplurals are topics they must be specific, i.e. they refer to kinds. After type-shifting they introduce variables which can be bound by the generic quantifier, yielding characterizing generics. Existentially interpreted bareplurals are not variables, but denote properties that are incorporated (...) into the predicate.The type of predicate determines the interpretation of its bare plural subject. The individual/stage-level distinction, though important, is not sufficient: since only arguments can be topics, only those stage-level predicates which have locative arguments can have existential bare plural subjects.Certain verbs (e.g., hate) fail to incorporate their bare plural objects; therefore no existential reading of the object is available. We provide a novel solution to this puzzle based on the following two claims: (i) incorporated bareplurals do not introduce discourse referents; (ii) nonincorporating verbs are presuppositional. (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 Queen is home is a tough problem. Evidence is presented to show that only here is modifying an underlying proposition (its ‘prejacent’). After discussing the semantics of only, the question of the proper interpretation of the prejacent is explored. It would be nice if the prejacent could be analyzed as having existential quantificational force. But that is difficult to maintain, since the prejacent (...) structures when encountered on their own are naturally read as having a lawlike flavor, which in many analyses is attributed to the semantics of implicit operators alleged to be present in them. In the end, an analysis is presented which attributes some very particular properties to these operators and thereby succeeds in providing the target sentences with intuitively adequate interpretations. These complex constructions can therefore be used as a probe into the nature of implicit quantification in natural language. (shrink)
Predicates such as tall or to know Latin, which intuitively denote permanent properties, are called individual-level predicates. Many peculiar properties of this class of predicates have been noted in the literature. One such property is that we cannot say #John is sometimes tall. Here is a way to account for this property: this sentence sounds odd because it triggers the scalar implicature that the alternative John is always tall is false, which cannot be, given that, if John is sometimes tall, (...) then he always is. This intuition faces two challenges. First: this scalar implicature has a weird nature, since it must be surprisingly robust (otherwise, it could be cancelled and the sentence rescued) and furthermore blind to the common knowledge that tallness is a permanent property (since this piece of common knowledge makes the two alternatives equivalent). Second: it is not clear how this intuition could be extended to other, more complicated properties of individual-level predicates. The goal of this paper is to defend the idea of an implicature-based theory of individual-level predicates by facing these two challenges. In the first part of the paper, I try to make sense of the weird nature of these special mismatching implicatures within the recent grammatical framework for scalar implicatures of Chierchia (Structures and beyond, 2004) and Fox (2007). In the second part of the paper, I show how this implicature-based line of reasoning can be extended to more complicated properties of individual-level predicates, such as restrictions on the interpretation of their bare plural subjects, noted in Carlson (Reference to kinds in English. Doctoral dissertation, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, 1977), Milsark (Linguistic Analysis 3.1: 1–29, 1977), and Fox (Natural Language Semantics 3: 283–341, 1995); restrictions on German word order, noted in Diesing (Indefinites, 1992); and restrictions on Q-adverbs, noted in Kratzer (The Generic Book, ed. Carlson and Pelletier, 125–175, 1995). (shrink)
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)
This paper documents the number-related properties of Dëne Sųłiné (Athapaskan). Dëne Sųłiné has neither number inflection nor numeral classifiers. Nouns are bare, occur as such in argument positions, and combine directly with numerals. With these traits, Dëne Sųłiné represents a type of language that is little considered in formal typologies of number and countability. The paper critiques one influential proposal, that of Chierchia (in: Rothstein (ed.) Events and grammar, 1998a; Natural Language Semantics 6: 339–405, 1998b), and presents an alternative (...) number typology, which introduces variation in the semantics of numerals. It will be shown that bare nouns in Dëne Sųłiné can be mass or count. Hence, the difference between count and mass cannot be expressed in terms of number, as in Chierchia. Instead, I express it in terms of atomicity. Mass nouns have nonatomic denotations, bare count nouns have atomic denotations that comprise singularities and pluralities. I also propose that numerals contain a function that accesses the singularities in a noun’s denotation. Hence they are compatible with bare count nouns, but not with mass nouns. In classifier languages, numerals denote a cardinality only; singularity-accessing functions are expressed in separate elements: the classifiers. Thus, languages like Chinese require classifiers because the numerals are semantically deficient, and not, as is assumed by Chierchia and others, the bare nouns. (shrink)
In this paper I provide a decompositional analysis of three kinds of plural indefinites in two related languages, European Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. The three indefinites studied are bareplurals, the unos (Spanish)/uns (Portuguese) type, and the algunos (Spanish)/alguns (Portuguese) type. The paper concentrates on four properties: semantic plurality, positive polarity, partitivity, and event distribution. The logic underlying the analysis is that of compositionality, applied at the subword level: as items become bigger in form (with the addition of (...) morphemes), they also acquire more semantic properties. The paper proposes the “indefinite hierarchy", which establishes a set of components for languages to build their indefinites with, in a particular order. (shrink)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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 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 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)
My general aim in this paper is to shed light on the controversial concept of a bare particular. I do so by arguing that bare particulars are best understood in terms of the individuative work they do within the framework of a realist constituent ontology. I argue that outside such a framework, it is not clear that the notion of a bare particular is either motivated or coherent. This is suggested by reflection on standard objections to (...) class='Hi'>bare particulars. However, within the framework of a realist constituent ontology, bare particulars provide for a coherent theory of individuation—one with a potentially significant theoretical price tag, but one that also has advantages over rival theories. (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)
In this paper, we discuss the fact that not only adverbially quantified sentences with singular indefinites or bareplurals but also ones containing plural definites show Quantificational Variability Effects (QVEs), that is, they receive readings according to which the quantificational force of the respective DP seems to depend on the quantificational force of the Q-adverb. We show that if the Q-adverb is a frequency adverb like usually, there is strong evidence that QVEs come about as indirect effects of (...) a quantification over situations. This conclusion is based on the fact that in such cases the availability of QVEs is constrained in ways that have no parallel in sentences containing adverbs of quantity like for the most part or quantificational DPs instead of frequency adverbs. We show that these constraints can be derived from plausible assumptions about how the situations to be quantified over are constrained: they have to be located in time on the basis of the most specific locally available information, and their running times are not allowed to overlap. (shrink)
In Shona (Bantu, Zimbabwe), bareplurals and bare singulars seem to have different scope possibilities with respect to a class of modifiers which I term “scopeless quantity words” (including numerals, shoma ‘(a) few’, and ose ‘all’). I argue that this is due to two factors. First, the scopeless quantity words are intersective modifiers rather than quantifying determiners, so that DPs containing them denote entities rather than generalised quantifiers. Second, transitive sentences involving plural arguments are usually interpreted using (...) the **-operator, which gives a cumulative reading; the apparent wide and narrow scope readings of bareplurals are both subcases of this reading, but a narrow scope reading for bare singulars cannot be subsumed by the cumulative reading. I also discuss the scope behaviour of a quantifying determiner, oga-oga ‘every’, which shows a subject/object asymmetry: in subject position, it appears to show the expected scopal ambiguity, but in object position, it appears to have the same readings as a scopeless quantity word; I argue that this is because of the location of existential closure. This adds to the evidence suggesting that many words giving quantity are intersective modifiers rather than quantifying determiners or adverbial quantifiers. (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)
One of the two central suggestions put forth in Longobardi (1991, 1994) was that Romance/English differences in the syntax of proper names were parametrically connected to supposed differences in the semantics of bare (plural and mass) common nouns (BNs). The present article will pursue this line of investigation, trying to make precise such meaning differences and to understand the reason for their apparently surprising parametric association with the syntax of proper names.It will be shown that in most Romance varieties (...) BNs, unlike their English counterparts, distribute their existential and generic readings across all different contexts exactly like (Romance and English) overt indefinites. All the differences will be unified under the proposal that Romance BNs are nothing but a type of indefinites (variables, existentially or generically bound) in Kamp-Heim’s DRT sense, while English BNs are rather systematically ambiguous between this quantificational interpretation and a referential (i.e. directly kind-denoting, much in the spirit of Carlson 1977a, b) one, providing for another type of generic reading.The analysis will therefore crucially exploit and empirically support Gerstner and Krifka’s (1987) distinction between referential and quantificational genericity. On such grounds we will finally gain a conceptual understanding of the typological implication originally established in Longobardi (1991, 1994), thus confirming that the strategies of interpretation of nominals, whether proper or common nouns, are basically one and the same, though differently parametrized in different languages. This result, in turn, will shed some light on the question whether comparative semantics is possible and whether it can be singled out as a legitimate independent component of parametric theories of grammatical variation. (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)
The distribution of indefinite singular generics is much more restricted than that of bare plural generics. The former, unlike the latter, seem to require that the property predicated of their subject be, in some sense, ‘definitional’. Moreover, the two constructions exhibit different scopal behaviour, and differ in their felicity in conjunctions, questions, and expressions describing the speaker's confidence. I propose that the reason is that the two expressions, in fact, have rather different meanings. Carlson (1995) makes a distinction between (...) inductivist and rules‐and‐regulations theories of generics. Instead, I draw a distinction between inductivist and rules‐and‐regulations readings of generics. On one reading, a generic expresses the way things are, and its logical form involves quantification; on the other reading, a generic refers to some rule or regulation (often a definition), and states that it is in effect. While bareplurals are ambiguous between the two readings, indefinite singulars can only refer to a rule or a regulation. This difference between the two constructions follows from the fact that bareplurals, but not (nonspecific) indefinite singulars, are acceptable topics. The topic of bare plural generics, then, is the bare plural itself. It is mapped onto the restrictor of the generic quantifier, hence an inductivist reading is available. In contrast, this option is not open to indefinite singular generics. Thus, an inductivist reading is ruled out, and the only possible topic is a rule or regulation. The various differences between the two types of generic are then shown to follow. (shrink)
The standard analysis of quantification says that determiner quantifiers (such as every) take an NP predicate and create a generalized quantifier. The goal of this paper is to subject these beliefs to crosslinguistic scrutiny. I begin by showing that in St'á'imcets (Lillooet Salish), quantifiers always require sisters of argumental type, and the creation of a generalized quantifier from an NP predicate always proceeds in two steps rather than one. I then explicitly adopt the strong null hypothesis that the denotations of (...) quantifiers should be crosslinguistically uniform. Since the Salish data cannot be captured by the usual analysis of English, I pursue the idea that English is reducible to the Salish pattern. Reanalysis of many English constructions is required. I argue that the reanalysis has advantages over the standard analysis for partitives, as well as for non-partitive all- and most-phrases, which I analyze as containing bareplurals of argumental type. Even where the new analysis faces some challenges (for example, with every), the attempt still leads to fruitful results. It forces us to view familiar constructions in a new light, and to redefine, I believe correctly, which quantificational constructions are ‘basic’ and which stand in need of further explanation. (shrink)
This paper argues in favor of two claims: (a) that Scope Shifting Operations (Quantifier Raising and Quantifier Lowering) are restricted by economy considerations, and (b) that the relevant economy considerations compare syntactic derivations that end up interpretively identical. These ideas are shown to solve several puzzles having to do with the interaction of scope with VP ellipsis, coordination, and the interpretation of bareplurals. Further, the paper suggests a way of dealing with the otherwise puzzling clause-boundedness of Quantifier (...) Raising. (shrink)
Researchers often assume that possible worlds and times are represented in the syntax of natural languages. However, it has been noted that such a system can overgenerate. This paper proposes a constraint on systems where worlds and times are represented as situation pronouns. The Intersective Predicate Generalization, based on and extending work by R. Musan, states that two items composed via Predicate Modification, such as a noun and an intersective modifier, must be evaluated in the same world and time. To (...) explain this generalization, a rule of Situation Economy is advanced, which holds that structures must have the fewest number of situation pronouns possible. Since strong DPs require a situation pronoun to receive a de re reading, a restriction on the type of strong determiners is proposed, which supersedes Situation Economy in this case. Finally, the paper shows how the Situation Economy approach explains an unrelated phenomenon involving bareplurals and examines the connection between this new rule and the grammar of natural language in general. (shrink)
There has been very little discussion of the appropriate principles to govern a modal logic of plurals. What debate there has been has accepted a principle I call (Necinc); informally if this is one of those then, necessarily: this is one of those. On this basis Williamson has criticised the Boolosian plural interpretation of monadic second-order logic. I argue against (Necinc), noting that it isn't a theorem of any logic resulting from adding modal axioms to the plural logic PFO+, (...) and showing that the most obvious formal argument in its favour is question begging. I go on to discuss the behaviour of natural language plurals, motivating a case against (Necinc) by developing a case that natural language plural terms are not de jure rigid designators. The paper concludes by developing a model theory for modal PFO-f which does not validate (Necinc). An Appendix discusses (Necinc) in relation to counterpart theory. Of course, it would be a mistake to think that the rules for "multiple pointing" follow automatically from the rules for pointing proper. Max Black—The Elusiveness of Sets In some influential articles during the 1980s George Boolos proposed an interpretation of monadic second-order logic in terms of plural quantification [4, 5]. One objection to this proposal, pressed by Williamson [22, 456-7], focuses on the modal behaviour of plural variables, arguing that the proposed interpretation yields the wrong results in respect of the modal status of atomic predications. In the present paper I will present this objection and argue against it. In the course of developing the argument, I will have cause to consider the under-investigated question of how a logic for plurals should be extended to incorporate modal operators. (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.
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)
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)
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)
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.
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 settheoretic 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)
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)