In this article we consider, relying in part upon comparative semantic evidence from English and Romanian, two contrasting dimensions of the sense in which our thoughts, including the contents of imagination and memory, and extending to objects of fear, enjoyment, and other emotions directed toward worldly happenings, may be distinctively first-personal, or "de se," to use the terminology introduced in Lewis (1979), and exhibit the phenomenon of immunity to error through misidentification (hereafter: IEM) in the sense of Shoemaker (1968) and (...) elsewhere. The different dimensions of the de se, we will argue, come apart in the following sense: some first-personal propositions, memories, and fears are about oneself as an experiencer of the contents in question, and others not; and some that are about the experiencer are not given as about oneself. (shrink)
In this article I contrast in two ways those conceptions of semantic theory deriving from Richard Montague's Intensional Logic (IL) and later developments with conceptions that stick pretty closely to a far weaker semantic apparatus for human first languages. IL is a higher-order language incorporating the simple theory of types. As such, it endows predicates with a reference. Its intensional features yield a conception of propositional identity (namely necessary equivalence) that has seemed to many to be too coarse to be (...) acceptable. In the most usual expositions, it takes the object of linguistic explication to be the sentence in a context, as in Kaplan, 1977. This last has led to recent speculations about 'shifted' contexts. IL may be contrasted with a more linguistically (representationally) bound conception of propositions and interpretation of their predicational and functional parts, and with the explication, not of sentences in contexts, but of potential utterances, relative to the antecedent referential intentions of their speakers. We may then advance, as an empirical hypothesis about all human languages, that contexts never shift, and propose that apparent counterexamples stem from the misconstrual of linguistically coded anaphoric relations, relations that are wanted independently anyway. Donald Davidson's posthumous volume Truth and Predication mounts a sustained criticism of the notion of predicate reference. This criticism is not decisive. However, it may put the ball in the other court, insofar as it asks for a justification of what IL takes as given. Elaborations of IL using structured propositions, recently defended in King, 2007, recognize the problem of predicate reference, and the correlative issue of the 'unity of the proposition'; but I do not see that they can do better than bite the bullet already bitten in IL. I agree with Frege's insight that full justification of predicate reference pushes the boundaries of natural language, and to that extent may not be found within the semantic (as opposed to general scientific) enterprise. (shrink)
In this commentary, I concentrate upon Ray Jackendoff's view of the proper foundations for semantics within the context of generative grammar. Jackendoff (2002) favors a form of internalism that he calls “conceptualism.” I argue that a retreat from realism to conceptualism is not only unwarranted, but even self-defeating, in that the issues that prompt his view will inevitably reappear if the latter is adopted.
After reviewing some major features of theinteractions between Linguistics and Philosophyin recent years, I suggest that the depth and breadthof current inquiry into semanticshas brought this subject into contact both with questionsof the nature of linguistic competence and with modern andtraditional philosophical study of the nature ofour thoughts, and the problems of metaphysics.I see this development as promising for thefuture of both subjects.
In recent years the idea that an adequate semantics of ordinary language calls for some theory of events has sparked considerable debate among linguists and philosophers. Speaking of Events offers a vivid and up-to-date indication of this debate, with emphasis precisely on the interplay between linguistic applications and philosophical implications. Each chapter has been written expressly for this volume by leading authors in the field, including Nicholas Asher, Pier Marco Bertinetto, Johannes Brandl, Denis Delfitto, Regine Eckardt, James Higginbotham, Alessandro Lenci, (...) Terence Parsons, Alice ter Meulen, and Henk Verkuyl. (shrink)