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Profile: Peter Nathan Lasersohn (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
  1. Peter Lasersohn, Same, Models and Representation.
    What is the relation between models, as used in model-theoretic semantics, and the “world” which models represent? More specifically, let us consider the question of whether a single individual, event, time or other element in a model might be used to represent more than one individual, event, time or other object in the real world.
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  2. Peter Lasersohn (2013). Non-World Indices and Assessment-Sensitivity. Inquiry 56 (2-3):122-148.
    I argue that sentence contents should be assigned truth-values relative to parameters other than a possible world only if those parameters are fixed by the context of assessment rather than the context of use. Standard counterexamples, including tense, de se attitudes, and knowledge ascriptions, all admit of alternative analyses which do not make use of such parameters. Moreover, allowing such indices greatly complicates the task of defining disagreement, and forces an odd separation between what is true, and what someone has (...)
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  3. Peter Lasersohn (2012). Contextualism and Compositionality. Linguistics and Philosophy 35 (2):171-189.
    I argue that compositionality (in the sense of homomorphic interpretation) is compatible with radical and pervasive contextual effects on interpretation. Apparent problems with this claim lose their force if we are careful in distinguishing the question of how a grammar assigns interpretations from the question of how people figure out which interpretations the grammar assigns. I demonstrate, using a simple example, that this latter task must sometimes be done not by computing a derivation defined directly by the grammar, but through (...)
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  4. Peter Lasersohn (2011). Context, Relevant Parts and (Lack of) Disagreement Over Taste. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 156 (3):433-439.
    Responds to an argument against relativist semantics advanced in Cappelen and Hawthorne’s Relativism and Monadic Truth.
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  5. Peter Lasersohn (2011). Mass Nouns and Plurals. In Claudia Maienborn, Klaus von Heusinger & Paul Portner (eds.), Semantics: An International Handbook of Natural Language Meaning. De Gruyter Mouton. 2.
  6. Peter Lasersohn (2009). Relative Truth, Speaker Commitment, and Control of Implicit Arguments. Synthese 166 (2):359 - 374.
    Recent arguments for relativist semantic theories have centered on the phenomenon of “faultless disagreement.” This paper offers independent motivation for such theories, based on the interpretation of predicates of personal taste in certain attitude contexts and presuppositional constructions. It is argued that the correct interpretation falls out naturally from a relativist theory, but requires special stipulation in a theory which appeals instead to the use of hidden indexicals; and that a hidden indexical analysis presents problems for contemporary syntactic theory.
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  7. Peter Lasersohn (2008). Quantification and Perspective in Relativist Semantics. Philosophical Perspectives 22 (1):305-337.
    Attempts to clarify some issues about the use of hidden arguments to predicates of personal taste, and motivate an analysis which does not make use of such arguments.
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  8. Peter Lasersohn (2007). Expressives, Perspective and Presupposition. Theoretical Linguistics 33 (2):223-230.
    I compare Potts’ use of a ‘‘judge’’ parameter in semantic interpretation with the use of a similar parameter in Lasersohn (2005). The latter technique portrays the content of expressives as constant across speakers, while Pott’s technique does not. The idea that the content of expressives is a kind of presupposition is also briefly defended, and a technical problem in the ‘‘dynamics’’ of Pott’s formalism is pointed out.
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  9. Kent Bach, Shalom Lappin, Martin Stokhof, Daniel Buring, Peter Lasersohn, Thomas Ede, Paul Dekker Beth Levin Zimmermann, Julie Sedivy & Ben Russell (2005). Pauline Jacobson. Linguistics and Philosophy 28:781-782.
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  10. Peter Lasersohn (2005). Context Dependence, Disagreement, and Predicates of Personal Taste. Linguistics and Philosophy 28 (6):643--686.
    This paper argues that truth values of sentences containing predicates of “personal taste” such as fun or tasty must be relativized to individuals. This relativization is of truth value only, and does not involve a relativization of semantic content: If you say roller coasters are fun, and I say they are not, I am negating the same content which you assert, and directly contradicting you. Nonetheless, both our utterances can be true (relative to their separate contexts). A formal semantic theory (...)
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  11. Kent Bach, Daniel Buring, Paul Dekker, Shalom Lappin, Peter Lasersohn, Beth Levin, Julie Sedivy, Martin Stokhof, Thomas Ede & Ian Lyons (2004). Pauline Jacobson. Linguistics and Philosophy 27:777-778.
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  12. Peter Lasersohn (1999). Generalized Distributive Operators. Linguistics and Philosophy 21:83-93.
     
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  13. Peter Lasersohn (1999). Pragmatic Halos. Language 75 (3):522-551.
    It is a truism that people speak ‘loosely’——that is, that they often say things that we can recognize not to be true, but which come close enough to the truth for practical purposes. Certain expressions. such as those including ‘exactly’, ‘all’ and ‘perfectly’, appear to serve as signals of the intended degree of approximation to the truth. This article presents a novel formalism for representing the notion of approximation to the truth, and analyzes the meanings of these expressions in terms (...)
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  14. Peter Lasersohn (1998). Generalized Distributivity Operators. Linguistics and Philosophy 21 (1):83-93.
    Presents a series of generalizations of distributivity operators across a type hierarchy, in order to account for collective-distributive ambiguities for non-subject arguments.
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  15. Peter Lasersohn (1997). Bare Plurals and Donkey Anaphora. Natural Language Semantics 5 (1):79-86.
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  16. Peter Lasersohn (1996). Adnominal Conditionals. In T. Galloway & J. Spence (eds.), Papers from Semantics and Linguistic Theory VI. CLC Publications.
    Argues that certain conditional clauses are irreducibly adnominal, so that 'if' cannot be treated purely as a sentential connective. A unified analysis of adnominal if-clauses and ordinary if-clauses is possible, however, if we assume a semantic theory in which sentences denote sets of events rather than truth values.
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  17. Peter Lasersohn (1993). Existence Presuppositions and Background Knowledge. Journal of Semantics 10 (2):113-122.
    Argues that the intuition of a truth value gap in cases of presupposition failure depends on the discourse information state, and in particular whether sufficient information is in the common ground to preclude the truth of the sentence on independent grounds; formalizes this analysis in a semantics using data lattices.
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  18. Peter Lasersohn (1992). Generalized Conjunction and Temporal Modification. Linguistics and Philosophy 15 (4):381 - 410.
    Argues for an assimilation of sentential and predicate conjunction to collective conjunction, based on modification of predicates by adverbs such as 'alternately'.
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  19. Peter Lasersohn (1990). A Semantics for Groups and Events. Garland Pub..
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  20. Peter Lasersohn (1990). Group Action and Spatio-Temporal Proximity. Linguistics and Philosophy 13 (2):179 - 206.
    Presents a unified semantics for various readings of 'together', using event mereology.
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  21. Peter Lasersohn (1989). On the Readings of Plural Noun Phrases. Linguistic Inquiry 20 (1):130-134.
    Argues against a Gillon-style covers-based analysis of plural noun phrases.
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