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Profile: Emma Borg (University of Reading)
  1. Emma Borg, Author:.
    Semantic minimalism is an attempt to answer two questions: ‘what counts as semantic content?’ and ‘what work does semantic content do?’. The answer the theory gives to both these questions is minimal (hence the name): first, semantic content is exhausted by the contributions made by the syntactic constituents of a sentence together with their mode of composition. Second the role played by this kind of content is much more constrained than is often supposed. With respect to the first question, semantic (...)
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  2. Emma Borg, Language: A Biological Model.
    Ruth Garrett Millikan is one of the most important thinkers in philosophy of mind and language of the current generation. Across a number of seminal books, and in the company of theorists such as Jerry Fodor and Fred Dretske, she has championed a wholly naturalistic, scientific understanding of content, whether of thought or words. Many think that naturalism about meaning has found its most defensible form in her distinctively “teleological” approach, and in Language: A Biological Model she continues the expansion (...)
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  3. Emma Borg, Referential Intentions, Minimal Semantics and Epistemic Behaviourism.
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  4. Emma Borg, Saying What You Mean: Unarticulated Constituents and Communication.
    In this paper I want to explore the arguments for so-called ‘unarticulated constituents’ (UCs). Unarticulated constituents are supposed to be propositional elements, not presented in the surface form of a sentence, nor explicitly represented at the level of its logical form, yet which must be interpreted in order to grasp the (proper) meaning of that sentence or expression. Thus, for example, we might think that a sentence like ‘It is raining’ must contain a UC picking out the place at which (...)
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  5. Emma Borg, Terms and Truth: Reference Direct and Anaphoric, by A. Berger.
    Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002. Pp. xi + 234. H/b £?.??, $?.??, P/b £?.??, $?.??. If asked for an example of a rigid designator it is likely that one would suggest a name, like ‘Aristotle’ or ‘Tony Blair’, or a demonstrative, like ‘that book’ said whilst pointing at a certain text. Intuitively, what these expressions have in common is the central role they accord to perception of an object: you can see the book you want to talk about, there are (...)
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  6. Emma Borg (forthcoming). The Body Politics of Julia Kristeva. Hypatia.
  7. Emma Borg (2013). L8. Minimalism Versus Contextualism in Semantics. In Maite Ezcurdia & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), The Semantics-Pragmatics Boundary in Philosophy. Broadview Press. 429.
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  8. Emma Borg (2013). More Questions for Mirror Neurons. Consciousness and Cognition 22 (3):1122-1131.
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  9. Emma Borg (2012). Pursuing Meaning. Oup Oxford.
    Emma Borg examines the relation between semantics and pragmatics, and assesses recent answers to fundamental questions of how and where to draw the divide between the two. She argues for a minimal account of the interrelation between them--a 'minimal semantics'--which holds that only rule-governed appeals to context can influence semantic content.
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  10. Emma Borg (2010). —3—Emma Borg Minimalism and the Content of the Lexicon. In Erich Rast & Luiz Carlos Baptista (eds.), Meaning and Context. Peter Lang. 2--51.
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  11. Emma Borg (2010). Meaning and Context: A Survey of a Contemporary Debate. In Daniel Whiting (ed.), The Later Wittgenstein on Language. Palgrave Macmillan.
    relevant to the differences between the two speakings, Odile’s words in the first case said what was false, while in the second case they said what was true. Both spoke of the same state of the world, or the same refrigerator in the same condition. So, in the first case, the words said what is false of a refrigerator with but a milk puddle; in the second case they said what is true of such a refrigerator.
     
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  12. Emma Borg (2010). Minimalism and the Content of the Lexicon. In Erich Rast & Luiz Carlos Baptista (eds.), Meaning and Context. Peter Lang. 51--77.
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  13. Emma Borg (2010). rMichael Devitt and Richard Hanley, Eds. The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Language Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 27 (1):18-20.
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  14. Emma Borg (2009). Must a Semantic Minimalist Be a Semantic Internalist? Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):31-51.
    I aim to show that a semantic minimalist need not also be a semantic internalist. §I introduces minimalism and internalism and argues that there is a prima facie case for a minimalist being an internalist. §II sketches some positive arguments for internalism which, if successful, show that a minimalist must be an internalist. §III goes on to reject these arguments and contends that the prima facie case for uniting minimalism and internalism is also not compelling. §IV returns to an objection (...)
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  15. Emma Borg (2009). Semantics and the Place of Psychological Evidence. In Sarah Sawyer (ed.), New Waves in Philosophy of Language. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Minimal semantics is sometimes characterised as a ‘neo-Gricean’ approach to meaning. This label seems reasonable since a key claim of minimal semantics is that the minimal contents possessed by sentences (akin to Grice’s technical notion of ‘what is said by a sentence’) need not be (and usually are not) what is communicated by a speaker who utters those sentences. However, given an affinity between the two approaches, we might expect that a well-known challenge for the Gricean – namely that their (...)
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  16. Emma Borg (2009). The Place of Referential Intentions in Linguistic Content. Manuscrito 32 (1).
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  17. Emma Borg (2007). If Mirror Neurons Are the Answer, What Was the Question? Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (8):5-19.
    Mirror neurons are neurons which fire in two distinct conditions: (i) when an agent performs a specific action, like a precision grasp of an object using fingers, and (ii) when an agent observes that action performed by another. Some theorists have suggested that the existence of such neurons may lend support to the simulation approach to mindreading (e.g. Gallese and Goldman, 1998, 'Mirror neurons and the simulation theory of mind reading'). In this note I critically examine this suggestion, in both (...)
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  18. Emma Borg (2007). Minimalism Versus Contextualism in Semantics. In Gerhard Preyer & Georg Peter (eds.), Context-Sensitivity and Semantic Minimalism: New Essays on Semantics and Pragmatics. Oup Oxford.
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  19. Emma Borg (2006). Intention-Based Semantics. In Ernest Lepore & Barry Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press. 250--266.
    There is a sense in which it is trivial to say that one accepts intention- (or convention-) based semantics.[2] For if what is meant by this claim is simply that there is an important respect in which words and sentences have meaning (either at all or the particular meanings that they have in any given natural language) due to the fact that they are used, in the way they are, by intentional agents (i.e. speakers), then it seems no one should (...)
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  20. Emma Borg (2006). Reference Without Referents – R. M. Sainsbury. Ratio 19 (3):370–375.
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  21. Emma Borg (2004). Formal Semantics and Intentional States. Analysis 64 (3):215–223.
    My aim in this note is to address the question of how a context of utterance can figure within a formal, specifically truth-conditional, semantic theory. In particular, I want to explore whether a formal semantic theory could, or should, take the intentional states of a speaker to be relevant in determining the literal meaning of an uttered sentence. The answer I’m going to suggest, contrary to the position of many contemporary formal theorists, is negative. The structure of this note is (...)
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  22. Emma Borg (2004). Minimal Semantics. Oxford University Press.
    Minimal Semantics asks what a theory of literal linguistic meaning is for - if you were to be given a working theory of meaning for a language right now, what would you be able to do with it? Emma Borg sets out to defend a formal approach to semantic theorising from a relatively new type of opponent - advocates of what she call 'dual pragmatics'. According to dual pragmatists, rich pragmatic processes play two distinct roles in linguistic comprehension: as well (...)
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  23. Emma Borg (2004). Review: Terms and Truth: Reference Direct and Anaphoric. [REVIEW] Mind 113 (452):737-740.
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  24. Paul Noordhof & Emma Borg (2003). Reviews. [REVIEW] Mind and Language 18 (5):538–551.
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  25. Emma Borg (2002). Deferred Demonstratives. In Joseph K. Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & David Shier (eds.), Meaning and Truth - Investigations in Philosophical Semantics. Seven Bridges Press. 214--230.
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  26. Emma Borg (2002). Pointing at Jack, Talking About Jill: Understanding Deferred Uses of Demonstratives and Pronouns. Mind and Language 17 (5):489–512.
    The aim of this paper is to explore the proper content of a formal semantic theory in two respects: first, clarifying which uses of expressions a formal theory should seek to accommodate, and, second, how much information the theory should contain. I explore these two questions with respect to occurrences of demonstratives and pronouns – the so- called ‘deferred’ uses – which are often classified as non-standard or figurative. I argue that, contrary to initial impressions, they must be treated as (...)
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  27. Emma Borg (2001). An Expedition Abroad: Metaphor, Thought, and Reporting. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 25 (1):227–248.
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  28. Emma Borg (2001). Meaning. Philosophical Review 110 (1):101-104.
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  29. Emma Borg (2001). The Name Game. The Philosophers' Magazine 15 (15):46-47.
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  30. Emma Borg (2001). The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Singular Terms. Philosophical Papers 30 (1):1-30.
    Abstract Can we draw apart questions of what it is to be a singular term (a metaphysical issue) from questions about how we tell when some expression is a singular term (an epistemological matter)? Prima facie, it might seem we can't: language, as a man-made edifice, might seem to prohibit such a distinction, and, indeed, some popular accounts of the semantics of singular terms make such an assumption. In this paper, however, I argue for a different kind of approach, one (...)
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  31. Emma Borg (2000). Complex Demonstratives. Philosophical Studies 97 (2):229-249.
    Some demonstrative expressions, those we might term ‘bare demonstratives’, appear without any appended descriptive content (e.g. occurrences of ‘this’ or ‘that’ simpliciter). However, it seems that the majority of demonstrative occurrences do not follow this model. ‘Complex demonstratives’ is the collective term I shall use for phrases formed by adjoining one or more common nouns to a demonstrative expression (e.g. ‘that cat’, ‘this happy man’) and I will call the combination of predicates immediately concatenated with the demonstrative in such phrases (...)
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  32. Emma Borg (1999). Gary Ostertag, Ed., Definite Descriptions: A Reader Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 19 (4):272-274.
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  33. Emma Borg (1998). Semantic Category and Surface Form. Analysis 58 (3):232–238.
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