The first time I saw 30 Rock, I was struck by how often it fails to be funny. This is not to say that 30 Rock is never funny—sometimes it is very funny indeed. But what stood out most to me was how strikingly not funny it often is. The show is, nevertheless, very entertaining. And it is curious that a sitcom—a show that is ostensibly designed to entertain through the use of humor—could entertain so successfully while being so unsuccessful (...) at making its audience (or at least this member of the audience) laugh. This curiosity is the subject of this paper. My purpose is to offer a theory that explains three features of 30 Rock: first, how it sometimes achieves comedic effect; second, why (what I take to be) its .. (shrink)
This paper addresses two questions: what is the distinction between semantics and pragmatics? And why is this distinction important? These questions are discussed in light of the central explanatory goal of linguistics and in relation to the phenomenon of context sensitivity, as illustrated by relational words with implicit arguments and by so-called quantifier domain restriction. It is concluded that context sensitivity is, in the former case, grammatical or lexical and, in the latter case, neither.
Semantics: A Reader contains a broad selection of classic articles on semantics and the semantics/pragmatics interface. Comprehensive in the variety and breadth of theoretical frameworks and topics that it covers, it includes articles representative of the major theoretical frameworks within semantics, including: discourse representation theory, dynamic predicate logic, truth theoretic semantics, event semantics, situation semantics, and cognitive semantics. All the major topics in semantics are covered, including lexical semantics and the semantics of quantified noun phrases, adverbs, adjectives, performatives, and interrogatives. (...) Included are classic papers in the field of semantics as well as papers written especially for the volume. The volume comes with an extensive introduction designed not only to provide an overview of the field, but also to explain the technical concepts the beginner will need to tackle before the more demanding articles. Semantics will have appeal as a textbook for upper level and graduate courses and as a reference for scholars of semantics who want the classic articles in their field in one convenient place. (shrink)
The problem addressed is that of finding a sound characterization of ambiguity. Two kinds of characterizations are distinguished: tests and definitions. Various definitions of ambiguity are critically examined and contrasted with definitions of generality and indeterminacy, concepts with which ambiguity is sometimes confused. One definition of ambiguity is defended as being more theoretically adequate than others which have been suggested by both philosophers and linguists. It is also shown how this definition of ambiguity obviates a problem thought to be posed (...) by ambiguity for truth theoretical semantics. In addition, the best known test for ambiguity, namely the test by contradiction, is set out, its limitations discussed, and its connection with ambiguity's definition explained. The test is contrasted with a test for vagueness first proposed by Peirce and a test for generality propounded by Margalit. (shrink)
I show that words with indefinite implicit complements occasion a dilemma for their model theory. There has been only two previous attempts to address this problem, one by Fodor and Fodor (1980) and one by Dowty (1981). Each requires that any word tolerating an implicit complement be treated as ambiguous between two different lexical entries and that a meaning postulate or lexical rule be given to constrain suitably the meanings of the various entries for the word. I show that the (...) positing of such an ambiguity runs counter to the facts and propose an alternative solution which does not appeal to ambiguity, meaning postulates or lexical rules. Indeed, I show that the dilemma posed by indefinite implicit complements is posed by all implicit complements and that a general solution to the problem of implicit complements follows from an independently motivated, single treatment of five other problems, that of subcategorization, that of phrasal projections of words, that of defining a model theoretic structure for phrase structure grammars, that of complement polyvalence and that of complement polyadicity. (shrink)
This paper describes the medical ethics scene in Britain. After giving a brief account of the structure of British medical ethics and of the roles of the different groups involved it mentions some of the important medico-moral events and issues of the fairly recent past, and describes in greater detail four important examples of professional, legal, governmental and media concerns with medical ethics, themselves illustrating the wide variety of interests wishing to influence the British medical profession's ethics. The examples offered (...) are the development of research ethics committees, the Sidaway case concerning informed consent, the Warnock Committee's Report on in vitro fertilisation and associated issues, and the 1980 Reith Lectures on Unmasking Medicine. In the final section a fairly new methodological development in British medical ethics is described in which the medical profession is increasingly recognising the need to add to traditional medical ethics education, with its longstanding history of the inculation and enforcement of ethical norms, an element of philosophical or critical medical ethics, at the heart of which is justification of substantive medico-moral claims in the light of counterarguments. (shrink)
Metaphysicians of space and time are fond of talking about objects being present at, wholly present at, or existing at certain times, or occupying certain regions of space, or even regions of space-time. Take, for example, this famous set of definitions due to Mark Johnston and David Lewis: Let us say that something persists, iff, somehow or other, it exists at various times; this is the neutral word. Something perdures iff it persists by having different temporal parts, or stages, at (...) different times, though no one part of it is wholly present at more than one time; whereas it endures iff it persists by being wholly present at more than one time. (Lewis 1986, p. 202) A great deal of debate has been conducted in this terminology: debates about whether anything does endure or perdure; about the ontology of temporal parts; about whether it makes sense to apply this kind of thinking to space, as well as to time (we can ask, for example, the analogous questions whether things are extended by being entended, or pertended); about whether it can be applied to space-time, and if so, to relativistic space-time. These debates have been fruitful, but cursed with a certain amount of imprecision. People sometimes talk past each.. (shrink)
Edited by four leading members of the new generation of medical and healthcare ethicists working in the UK, respected worldwide for their work in medical ethics, Principles of Health Care Ethics, Second Edition_is a standard resource for students, professionals, and academics wishing to understand current and future issues in healthcare ethics. With a distinguished international panel of contributors working at the leading edge of academia, this volume presents a comprehensive guide to the field, with state of the art introductions to (...) the wide range of topics in modern healthcare ethics, from consent to human rights, from utilitarianism to feminism, from the doctor-patient relationship to xenotransplantation. This volume is the Second Edition of the highly successful work edited by Professor Raanan Gillon, Emeritus Professor of Medical Ethics at Imperial College London and former editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, the leading journal in this field. Developments from the First Edition include:_ The focus on ‘Four Principles Method’ is relaxed to cover more different methods in health care ethics. More material on new medical technologies is included, the coverage of issues on the doctor/patient relationship is expanded, and material on ethics and public health is brought together into a new section. (shrink)
Cosmological arguments attempt to prove the existence of God by appeal to the necessity of a first cause. Schematically, a cosmological argument will thus appear as: (1) All contingent beings have a cause of existence. (2) There can be no infinite causal chains. (3) Therefore, there must be some non-contingent First Cause. Cosmological arguments come in two species, depending on their justification of the second premiss. Non-temporal cosmological arguments, such as those of Aristotle and Aquinas, view causation as requiring explanatory (...) or conceptual priority, and thus insist that there can be no infinite regresses in such priority. Temporal cosmological arguments, also called kalam cosmological arguments due to their historical roots in Islamic kalam philosophers such as Abu Yusuf Ya'qub b. Ishaq al-Kindi and Abu Ali al-Hussain ibn Sina, view causation as requiring temporal priority, and thus insist that there can be no infinite temporal regresses.1 The kalam cosmological argument thus requires some supporting argument showing the incoherence of an infinite temporal regress of causally related events. William Lane Craig, in "The Finitude of the Past and the Existence of God"2, attempts to provide such an argument: (4) An actual infinite cannot exist. (5) An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite. (6) Therefore an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist. (9) I will not be concerned here with the general status of cosmological arguments, kalam or otherwise, or with contesting Craig's assumption that an infinite past would (unlike an infinite future) constitute a problematic actual infinity. I am rather concerned with Craig's general working principle, embodied in (4) above, that actual infinities are impossible. Craig, of course, is not alone in denying the possibility of the actually infinite. Resistance to such infinities is at least as old as Aristotle (Physics 3.5.204b1 – 206a8), and, as Craig rightly points out, persists through much of modern (i.e., post-scholastic, pre-twentieth-century) philosophy.. (shrink)
This paper discusses a distinctive kind of property that I call “distributional” properties, which include, for example, the property of being polka-dotted (a colour-distributional property) and the property of being hot at one end and cold at the other (a heat-distributional property). I argue that distributional properties exist in whatever sense other properties exist, that they do not simply reduce to the non-distributional properties of points, and that they are implicated in the correct analysis of change.