The goal of this paper is to investigate a case in which certain features have been argued to sometimes play a role in the interpretation of an expression and sometimes not—in particular, the case of gender and person features on pronouns.1 That these are in certain configurations only agreement features which have no semantic content has been explored in numerous places; for an especially detailed study, see Kratzer (1998, 2008); see also Heim (2008), von Stechow (2003) and others. I argue (...) here that the view that these are ‘uninterpretable’ is incorrect; they do in fact play the normal role in the semantic composition and their appearance of uninterpretability comes from the particular role they play in the interpretation of focus.2 In a nutshell, the proposal is that these features make no contribution to the focus value of an expression (i.e., they play no role in the computation of a set of alternatives in the sense of Rooth 1984), but they are always fully interpreted in the regular semantic value of an expression. The ‘punchline’ of this paper centres on the interaction of these features with paycheck pronouns—I will show that this interaction provides striking confirmation for the proposal here and presents a serious challenge to the agreement solution. But before turning to the details of the analysis and the paycheck evidence, let me step back to discuss just what is at stake in broader terms. The agreement hypothesis maintains that in certain cases these features play the expected role in the interpretation while in other cases they are only agreement features and play no role in the semantic computation. As will be documented below, this view—if correct—would pose a very real threat to the hypothesis of direct compositionality. Thus, the case of features on pronouns is not just a small and isolated piece of grammatical investigation, but one with quite striking implications for the organization of the grammar. (shrink)
As part of the conference commemorating Theoria's 75th anniversary, a round table discussion on philosophy publishing was held in Bergendal, Sollentuna, Sweden, on 1 October 2010. Bengt Hansson was the chair, and the other participants were eight editors-in-chief of philosophy journals: Hans van Ditmarsch (Journal of Philosophical Logic), Pascal Engel (Dialectica), Sven Ove Hansson (Theoria), Vincent Hendricks (Synthese), Søren Holm (Journal of Medical Ethics), Pauline Jacobson (Linguistics and Philosophy), Anthonie Meijers (Philosophical Explorations), Henry S. Richardson (Ethics) and Hans Rott (Erkenntnis).
Despite evidence indicating that public health services are the most effective means of improving the population's health status, health care services receive the bulk of funding and political support. The recent passage of the Affordable Care Act, which focused on improving access to health care services through insurance reform, reflects the primacy of health care over public health. Although policymakers typically conceptualize health care and public health as two distinct systems, gains in health status are most effectively and cost-efficiently achieved (...) through their integration into a single health system. The Act does little to compel integration; however, there are numerous opportunities to encourage the coordination of public health and health care in the Act's implementation. (shrink)
This book examines the hypothesis of "direct compositionality", which requires that semantic interpretation proceed in tandem with syntactic combination. Although associated with the dominant view in formal semantics of the 1970s and 1980s, the feasibility of direct compositionality remained unsettled, and more recently the discussion as to whether or not this view can be maintained has receded. The syntax-semantics interaction is now often seen as a process in which the syntax builds representations which, at the abstract level of logical form, (...) are sent for interpretation to the semantics component of the language faculty. In the first extended discussion of the hypothesis of direct compositionality for twenty years, this book considers whether its abandonment might have been premature and whether in fact direct compositionality is not after all a simpler and more effective conception of the grammar than the conventional account of the syntax-semantics interface in generative grammar. It contains contributions from both sides of the debate, locates the debate in the setting of a variety of formal theories, and draws on examples from a range of languages and a range of empirical phenomena. (shrink)
This paper argues for the hypothesis of direct compositionality (as in, e.g., Montague 1974), according to which the combinatory syntactic rules specify a set of well-formed expressions while the semantic combinatory rules work in tandem to directly supply a model-theoretic interpretation to each expression as it is "built" in the syntax. (This thus obviates the need for any level like LF and, concomitantly, for any rules mapping surface structures to such a level.) I focus here on one related group of (...) phenomena: the interaction of "paycheck" pronouns with Weak Crossover effects and i-within-i effects. These interactions were studied in Jacobson (1977) as they show up in Back-Peters sentences. There I argued that these interactions show that paycheck pronouns have a complex representation at LF; here I show that all of the observations in this earlier work are compatible with the hypothesis of direct compositionality. The key tool is the adoption of a variation-free semantics (a semantics which makes no use of variables as part of the semantic machinery). In addition to the general consequences for the syntax/semantics interface, there are two other main results. First, I provide new arguments for a variable-free semantics. For example, it will be shown that under this view the paycheck reading of a pronoun comes for free; most other theories posit additional mechanisms and/or an additional lexical meaning for pronouns, and thus paycheck and regular pronouns are only accidentally homophonous. Second, I reiterate one of the central points in Jacobson (1977): this is that the first pronoun in a Bach-Peters sentence is indeed a paycheck pronoun, and hence nothing special needs to be said about these sentences nor does any new machinery need to be invoked for them. (shrink)
The Montagovian hypothesis of direct model-theoretic interpretation of syntactic surface structures is supported by an account of the semantics of binding that makes no use of variables, syntactic indices, or assignment functions & shows that the interpretation of a large portion of so-called variable-binding phenomena can dispense with the level of logical form without incurring equivalent complexity elsewhere in the system. Variable-free semantics hypothesizes local interpretation of each surface constituent; binding is formalized as a type-shifting operation on expressions that denote (...) functions, & sentences containing a free pronoun are analyzed as a function from individuals to propositions having a meaning of type (e,t). Standard weak crossover effects & binding patterns in sentences with multiple pronouns are shown to submit to straightforward type-theoretic treatments that do not rely on indexation. The variable-free semantics smoothly implements full surface compositionality & requires less machinery than standard accounts to handle functional questions, their answers, sloppy inferences, & across-the-board binding. 73 References. J. Hitchcock. (shrink)
The goal of this article is to develop several implications which can be drawn from two twentieth century reflections on sexuality. It situates the meaning of human sexuality in relation to the notions of expression, Symbolic consciousness, Bodilessness, Intersubjectivity, Rationality, And finitude; through a comparison and contrast of the works of freud and merleau-Ponty. Both thinkers are viewed as philosophical mythologists who see sexuality as a peculiarly revelatory and representative feature of human existence as a whole. The article concludes with (...) a reflection on the significance human sexuality might have for philosophy's own self-Understanding. (shrink)