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Profile: David Nicolas (Institut Jean Nicod)
  1. David Nicolas, Can Mereological Sums Serve as the Semantic Values of Plurals?
    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 (...)
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  2. David Nicolas, Count Nouns, Mass Nouns and Their Acquisition.
    'Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundation either. It leaves everything as it is.' 'We must do away with all explanation, and description alone must take its place.'.
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  3. David Nicolas, Conversions of Count Nouns Into Mass Nouns in French.
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  4. Salvatore Florio & David Nicolas (2014). Plural Logic and Sensitivity to Order. Australasian Journal of Philosophy (3):1-21.
    Sentences that exhibit sensitivity to order (e.g. 'John and Mary arrived at school in that order' and 'Mary and John arrived at school in that order') present a challenge for the standard formulation of plural logic. In response, some authors have advocated new versions of plural logic based on fine-grained notions of plural reference, such as serial reference (Hewitt 2012) and articulated reference (Ben-Yami 2013). The aim of this article is to show that sensitivity to order should be accounted for (...)
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  5. David Nicolas (2014). Review of Oliver & Smiley, Plural Logic, 2013. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2.
  6. David Nicolas, The Logic of Mass Expressions. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  7. David Nicolas (2011). Review of J.Pelletier (Ed.), Kinds, Things, and Stuff, 2010. [REVIEW] Language 87.
  8. David Nicolas (2010). Towards a Semantics for Mass Expressions Derived From Gradable Expressions. Recherches Linguistiques de Vincennes 39:163-198.
    What semantics should we attribute to mass expressions like "wisdom" and "love", which are derived from gradable expressions? We first examine how these expressions are used, then how they are interpreted in their various uses. We then propose a model to account for these data, in which derived mass nouns denote instances of properties.
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  9. David Nicolas (2009). Mereological Essentialism, Composition, and Stuff: A Reply to Kristie Miller. Erkenntnis 71 (3):425 - 429.
    In ‘Essential stuff' (2008) and ‘Stuff' (2009), Kristie Miller argues that two generally accepted theses, often formulated as follows, are incompatible: - (Temporal) mereological essentialism for stuff (or matter), the thesis that any portion of stuff has the same parts at every time it exists. - Stuff composition, the thesis that for any two portions of stuff, there exists a portion of stuff that is their mereological sum (or fusion). She does this by considering competing hypotheses about stuff, trying to (...)
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  10. Øystein Linnebo & David Nicolas (2008). Superplurals in English. Analysis 68 (299):186–197.
    where ‘aa’ is a plural term, and ‘F’ a plural predicate. Following George Boolos (1984) and others, many philosophers and logicians also think that plural expressions should be analysed as not introducing any new ontological commitments to some sort of ‘plural entities’, but rather as involving a new form of reference to objects to which we are already committed (for an overview and further details, see Linnebo 2004). For instance, the plural term ‘aa’ refers to Alice, Bob and Charlie simultaneously, (...)
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  11. David Nicolas (2008). Mass Nouns and Plural Logic. Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2):211-244.
    A dilemma put forward by Schein (1993) and Rayo (2002) suggests that, in order to characterize the semantics of plurals, we should not use predicate logic, but non-singular logic, a formal language whose terms may refer to several things at once. We show that a similar dilemma applies to mass nouns. If we use predicate logic and sets, we arrive at a Russellian paradox when characterizing the semantics of mass nouns. Likewise, a semantics of mass nouns based upon predicate logic (...)
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  12. Philippe de Brabanter, David Nicolas, Isidora Stojanovic & Neftali Villanueva Fernandez (2007). Les usages déférentiels. In L'épistémologie sociale. Editions de l'EHESS
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  13. David Nicolas (2007). Mass Nouns and Plural Logic (Extended Abstract). In Proceedings of the 16th Amsterdam Colloquium. Palteam
  14. David Nicolas, L’ambiguïté. Sémanticlopédie: Dictionnaire de Sémantique.
    In D. Godard, L. Roussarie & F. Corblin (eds.), Sémanticlopédie : dictionnaire de sémantique, GDR Sémantique & Modélisation, CNRS, http://www.semantique-gdr.net/dico/.
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  15. David Nicolas, La compositionalité: Questions conceptuelles. Sémanticlopédie : Dictionnaire de Sémantique.
    In D. Godard, L. Roussarie & F. Corblin (eds.), Sémanticlopédie : dictionnaire de sémantique, GDR Sémantique & Modélisation, CNRS, http://www.semantique-gdr.net/dico/.
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  16. David Nicolas, La distinction massif / comptable. Sémanticlopédie : Dictionnaire de Sémantique.
    In D. Godard, L. Roussarie & F. Corblin (eds.), Sémanticlopédie : dictionnaire de sémantique, GDR Sémantique & Modélisation, CNRS, http://www.semantique-gdr.net/dico/.
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  17. David Nicolas & Patrick Caudal (2005). Types of Degrees and Types of Event Structures. In Event Arguments: Foundations and Applications. Mouton de Gruyter 277-300.
    In this paper, we investigate how certain types of predicates should be connected with certain types of degree scales, and how this can affect the events they describe. The distribution and interpretation of various degree adverbials will serve us as a guideline in this perspective. They suggest that two main types of degree scales should be distinguished: (i) quantity scales, which are characterized by the semantic equivalence of Yannig ate the cake partially and Yannig ate part of the cake; quantity (...)
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  18. David Nicolas (2004). Is There Anything Characteristic About the Meaning of a Count Noun? Revue de la Lexicologie 18.
    In English, some common nouns, like "cat", can be used in the singular and in the plural, while others, like "wate"r, are invariable. Moreover, nouns like "cat" can be employed with numerals like "one" and "two" and determiners like "a", "many" and "few", but neither with "much" nor "little". On the contrary, nouns like "milk" can be used with determiners like "much" and "little", but neither with "a", "one" nor "many". These two types of nouns constitute two morphosyntactic sub-classes of (...)
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  19. David Nicolas (2004). The Semantics of Nouns Derived From Gradable Adjectives. In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 8. 197-207.
    What semantics should we attribute to nouns like "wisdom" and "generosity", which are derived from gradable adjectives? We show that, from a morphosyntactic standpoint, these nouns are mass nouns. This leads us to consider and answer the following questions. How are these nouns interpreted in their various uses? What formal representations may one associate with their interpretations? How do these depend on the semantics of the adjective? And where lies the semantic unity of nouns like wisdom and generosity with the (...)
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  20. Damián Justo, Julien Dutant, Benoît Hardy-Vallée, David Nicolas & Benjamin Q. Sylvand (2003). Delegation, Subdivision, and Modularity: How Rich is Conceptual Structure? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (6):683-684.
    Contra Jackendoff, we argue that within the parallel architecture framework, the generality of language does not require a rich conceptual structure. To show this, we put forward a delegation model of specialization. We find Jackendoff's alternative, the subdivision model, insufficiently supported. In particular, the computational consequences of his representational notion of modularity need to be clarified.
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  21. David Nicolas & Florence Lefeuvre (2003). La phrase nominale existentielle et la distinction aspectuelle telique / atelique. Revue de Sémantique Et Pragmatique 14:157-173.
    L'objet de cet article est d'examiner en quoi la phrase nominale existentielle : (a) Lecture pendant toute la matinée. (b) Lecture d'un poème. (c) Lecture. peut être concernée par la distinction aspectuelle télique / atélique. Nous avons examiné les phrases qui, notamment à cause du type d'expression nominale employé, renvoient à un événement, un processus ou un état. Celles qui renvoient à un événement sont téliques, les autres sont atéliques, comme dans le cas des expressions verbales. Nous avons étudié les (...)
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  22. David Nicolas (2002). Do Mass Nouns Constitute a Semantically Uniform Class? Kansas Working Papers in Linguistics 26.
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  23. David Nicolas (2002). La Catégorisation des Noms Communs: Massifs Et Comptables. In Catégorisation et langage. Hermès
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  24. David Nicolas (2002). La distinction entre noms massifs et noms comptables. Editions Peeters.
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