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Profile: Dilip Ninan (Tufts University)
  1. Dilip Ninan (forthcoming). On Recanati's Mental Files. Inquiry:1-10.
    In his book Mental Files (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), Francois Recanati develops a theory of mind and language based on the idea that Fregean senses should be identified with ?mental files?, mental representations whose primary function is to store information about objects. I discuss three aspects of Recanati?s book. The first concerns his use of acquaintance relations in individuating mental files, and what this means for ?file dynamics?. The second concerns his comments on a theory that I have elsewhere (...)
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  2. Dilip Ninan (2013). Self‐Location and Other‐Location. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):301-331.
    According to one tradition in the philosophy of language and mind, the content of a psychological attitude can be characterized by a set of possibilities. On the classic version of this account, advocated by Hintikka (1962) and Stalnaker (1984) among others, the possibilities in question are possible worlds, ways the universe might be. Lewis (1979, 1983a) proposed an alternative to this account, according to which the possibilities in question are possible individuals or centered worlds, ways an individual might be. The (...)
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  3. Dilip Ninan (2012). Counterfactual Attitudes and Multi-Centered Worlds. Semantics and Pragmatics 5 (5):1-57.
    Counterfactual attitudes like imagining, dreaming, and wishing create a problem for the standard formal semantic theory of de re attitude ascriptions. I show how the problem can be avoided if we represent an agent's attitudinal possibilities using "multi-centered worlds", possible worlds with multiple distinguished individuals, each of which represents an individual with whom the agent is acquainted. I then present a compositional semantics for de re ascriptions according to which singular terms are "assignment-sensitive" expressions and attitude verbs are "assignment shifters".
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  4. Dilip Ninan (2012). Propositions, Semantic Values, and Rigidity. Philosophical Studies 158 (3):401-413.
    Jeffrey King has recently argued: (i) that the semantic value of a sentence at a context is (or determines) a function from possible worlds to truth values, and (ii) that this undermines Jason Stanley's argument against the rigidity thesis, the claim that no rigid term has the same content as a non-rigid term. I show that King's main argument for (i) fails, and that Stanley's argument is consistent with the claim that the semantic value of a sentence at a context (...)
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  5. Dilip Ninan (2010). De Se Attitudes: Ascription and Communication. Philosophy Compass 5 (7):551-567.
    This paper concerns two points of intersection between de se attitudes and the study of natural language: attitude ascription and communication. I first survey some recent work on the semantics of de se attitude ascriptions, with particular attention to ascriptions that are true only if the subject of the ascription has the appropriate de se attitude. I then examine – and attempt to solve – some problems concerning the role of de se attitudes in linguistic communication.
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  6. Dilip Ninan (2010). Semantics and the Objects of Assertion. Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (5):355-380.
    This paper is about the relationship between two questions: the question of what the objects of assertion are and the question of how best to theorise about ‘shifty’ phenomena like modality and tense. I argue that the relationship between these two questions is less direct than is often supposed. I then explore the consequences of this for a number of debates in the philosophy of language.
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  7. Dilip Ninan (2009). Persistence and the First-Person Perspective. Philosophical Review 118 (4):425--464.
    When one considers one's own persistence over time from the first-person perspective, it seems as if facts about one's persistence are "further facts," over and above facts about physical and psychological continuity. But the idea that facts about one's persistence are further facts is objectionable on independent theoretical grounds: it conflicts with physicalism and requires us to posit hidden facts about our persistence. This essay shows how to resolve this conflict using the idea that imagining from the first-person point of (...)
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  8. Dilip Ninan (2005). Two Puzzles About Deontic Necessity. In J. Gajewski, V. Hacquard, B. Nickel & S. Yalcin (eds.), New Work on Modality, MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.
    The deontic modal must has two surprising properties: an assertion of must p does not permit a denial of p, and must does not take past tense complements. I first consider an explanation of these phenomena that stays within Angelika Kratzer’s semantic framework for modals, and then offer some reasons for rejecting that explanation. I then propose an alternative account, according to which simple must sentences have the force of an imperative.
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