In this paper, I argue that Contextualist theories of semantics are not undermined by their purported failure to explain the practice of indirect reporting. I adopt Cappelen & Lepore’s test for contextsensitivity to show that the scope of contextsensitivity is much broader than Semantic Minimalists are willing to accept. The failure of their arguments turns on their insistence that the content of indirect reports is semantically minimal.
The central issue of this essay is whether contextualism in epistemology is genuinely in conflict with recent claims that ‘know’ is not in fact a contextsensitive word. To address this question, I will first rehearse three key aims of contextualists and the broad strategy they adopt for achieving them. I then introduce two linguistic arguments to the effect that the lexical item ‘know’ is not context sensitive, one from Herman Cappelen and Ernie Lepore, one from Jason Stanley. I find (...) these and related arguments quite compelling. In particular, I think Cappelen and Lepore (2003, 2005a) show pretty definitively that ‘know’ is not like ‘I’/‘here’/‘now’, and Stanley (2004) shows that ‘know’ is not like ‘tall’/‘rich’.1 One could try to find another model for ‘know’. Instead, I consider whether one can rescue ‘‘the spirit of contextualism in epistemology’’—that is, achieve its aims by deploying a strategy of appealing to speaker context—even while granting that ‘know’ isn’t a context-sensitive word at all. My conclusion, in a nutshell, is this: If there are pragmatic determinants of what is asserted/stated, and contextualism can overcome independent problems not having to do specifically with the context-sensitivity of the word ‘know’, then the spirit of contextualism can be salvaged. Even though, for reasons sketched by the aforementioned authors, ‘know’ doesn’t actually belong in the class of context-sensitive words. (shrink)
This paper defends the claim that although ‘Superman is Clark Kent and some people who believe that Superman flies do not believe that Clark Kent flies’ is a logically inconsistent sentence, we can still utter this sentence, while speaking literally, without asserting anything false. The key idea is that the context-sensitivity of attitude reports can be, and often is, resolved in different ways within a single sentence.
According to contextualist accounts, the truth value of a given knowledge ascription may vary with features of the ascriber's context. As a result, the following may be true: "X doesn't know that P but Y says something true in asserting 'X knows that P'". The contextualist must defend his theory in the light of this unpleasant but inevitable consequence. The best way of doing this is to construe the contextsensitivity of knowledge ascriptions not as deriving from (...) an alleged indexicality of the word "know" nor from its vagueness or ambiguity, but rather from a distinct semantic feature of the word "know", namely its unspecificity. (shrink)
In medical ethics, business ethics, and some branches of political philosophy (multi-culturalism, issues of just allocation, and equitable distribution) the literature increasingly combines insights from ethics and the social sciences. Some authors in medical ethics even speak of a new phase in the history of ethics, hailing "empirical ethics" as a logical next step in the development of practical ethics after the turn to "applied ethics." The name empirical ethics is ill-chosen because of its associations with "descriptive ethics." Unlike descriptive (...) ethics, however, empirical ethics aims to be both descriptive and normative. The first question on which I focus is what kind of empirical research is used by empirical ethics and for which purposes. I argue that the ultimate aim of all empirical ethics is to improve the context-sensitivity of ethics. The second question is whether empirical ethics is essentially connected with specific positions in meta-ethics. I show that in some kinds of meta-ethical theories, which I categorize as broad contextualist theories, there is an intrinsic need for connecting normative ethics with empirical social research. But context-sensitivity is a goal that can be aimed for from any meta-ethical position. (shrink)
This paper classifies a family of grammar formalisms that extendcontext-free grammar by talking about tuples of terminal strings, ratherthan independently combining single terminal words into larger singlephrases. These include a number of well-known formalisms, such as headgrammar and linear context-free rewriting systems, but also a new formalism,(simple) literal movement grammar, which strictly extends the previouslyknown formalisms, while preserving polynomial time recognizability.The descriptive capacity of simple literal movement grammars isillustrated both formally through a weak generative capacity argument and ina more (...) practical sense by the description of conjunctive cross-serialrelative clauses in Dutch. After sketching a complexity result and drawing anumber of conclusions from the illustrations, it is then suggested that thenotion of mild context-sensitivity currently in use, that depends on therather loosely defined concept of constant growth, needs a modification toapply sensibly to the illustrated facts; an attempt at such a revision isproposed. (shrink)
Context figures in the interpretation of utterances in many different ways. In the tradition of possible-worlds semantics, the seminal account of context-sensitive expressions such as indexicals and demonstratives is that of Kaplan's two-dimensional semantics (the content- character distinction), further pursued in various directions by Stalnaker, Chalmers, and others. This chapter introduces and assesses the notion of context-sensitivity presented in this group of approaches, with a special focus on how it relates to the notion of cognitive significance (...) and whether it includes an intuitively plausible range of expressions within its scope. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the prospects of using two-dimensional semantics to account for context-sensitive expressions in dynamic discourse. (shrink)
Many arguments are affected by contextsensitivity, because they include sentences that have different truth conditions in different contexts. Therefore, it is natural to think that a general criterion for evaluating arguments must take contextsensitivity into account. One way to give substance to that thought is provided by the definition of validity offered by David Kaplan within his theory of indexicals. However, the route indicated by Kaplan is hindered by a problem whose importance is often (...) underestimated. This paper explores a different route, and outlines a definition of validity that does not run into that problem. Its moral is that Kaplan's definition is not the only plausible definition. This is not to say that the definition outlined is the only plausible definition or that it is correct in some absolute sense. There might be equally important problems with it that the paper does not take into account. But until such problems are found and brought up, the departure from Kaplan's route remains a viable option. (shrink)
(1) I’m Spartacus! [Said by Spartacus] (2) I’m Spartacus! [Said by Antoninus] What Spartacus said was true, and what Antoninus said was not. Yet the two slaves uttered the exact same sentence, so how can this be? Admittedly, the puzzle is not very hard, and its solution is uncontroversial. The first person pronoun “I” is – to use a technical term – context sensitive. When Spartacus uses it, it refers to Spartacus; when Antoninus uses it, it refers to Antoninus. (...) So when Spartacus says “I’m Spartacus”, he expresses the true proposition that he, Spartacus, is Spartacus. And when Antoninus says it, he expresses the false proposition that he, Antoninus, is Spartacus. The sentence “I’m Spartacus” expresses different propositions when used by different people. Another example will help. Contrast these two utterances, made by subjects in a study carried out by experimental epistemologists: (3) This is a zebra. [Said by someone while pointing at a zebra] (4) This is a zebra. [Said by someone while pointing at a cleverly decorated mule]. (shrink)
Drawing upon research in philosophical logic, linguistics and cognitive science, this study explores how our ability to use and understand language depends upon our capacity to keep track of complex features of the contexts in which we converse.
In classical India, Jain philosophers developed a theory of viewpoints ( naya-vāda ) according to which any statement is always performed within and dependent upon a given epistemic perspective or viewpoint. The Jainas furnished this epistemology with an (epistemic) theory of disputation that takes into account the viewpoint in which the main thesis has been stated. The main aim of our paper is to delve into the Jain notion of viewpoint-contextualisation and to develop the elements of a suitable logical system (...) that should offer a reconstruction of the Jainas’ epistemic theory of disputation. A crucial step of our project is to approach the Jain theory of disputation with the help of a theory of meaning for logical constants based on argumentative practices called dialogical logic . Since in the dialogical framework the meaning of the logical constants is given by the norms or rules for their use in a debate, it provides a meaning theory closer to the Jain context-sensitive disputation theory than the main-stream formal model-theoretic semantics. (shrink)
We introduce and study a natural extension of Marcus external contextual grammars. This mathematically simple mechanism which generates a proper subclass of simple matrix languages, known to be mildly context-sensitive ones, is still mildly context-sensitive. Furthermore, we get an infinite hierarchy of mildly context-sensitive families of languages. Then we attempt to fill a gap regarding the linguistic relevance of these mechanisms which consists in defining a tree structure on the strings generated by many-dimensional external contextual grammars, and (...) investigate some related issues. Several open problems are finally discussed. (shrink)
According to Semantic Minimalism, every use of "Chiara is tall" (fixing the girl and the time) semantically expresses the same proposition, the proposition that Chiara is (just plain) tall. Given standard assumptions, this proposition ought to have an intension (a function from possible worlds to truth values). However, speakers tend to reject questions that presuppose that it does. I suggest that semantic minimalists might address this problem by adopting a form of "nonindexical contextualism," according to which the proposition invariantly expressed (...) by "Chiara is tall" does not have a context-invariant intension. Nonindexical contextualism provides an elegant explanation of what is wrong with "context-shifting arguments" and can be seen as a synthesis of the (partial) insights of semantic minimalists and radical contextualists. (shrink)
Sensitivity to the extra-linguistic context, as exhibited by indexical and demonstrative expressions, and sensitivity to the linguistic context, as exhibited by, for example, anaphoric uses of third person pronouns, are regularly regarded as different and independent phenomena. The data on indexicals, demonstratives, and third person pronouns, however, call for a more unified notion of context and of contextsensitivity. This paper aims to develop such a unified picture by generalizing the notion of anaphora (...) to encompass extra-linguistic context dependency and generalizing the notion of a structured discourse context so that contexts contain antecedents for expressions that refer to entities in the extra-linguistic context. (shrink)
I sketch a new constraint on chance, which connects chance ascriptions closely with ascriptions of ability, and more specifically with 'CAN'-claims. This connection between chance and ability has some claim to be a platitude; moreover, it exposes the debate over deterministic chance to the extensive literature on (in)compatibilism about free will. The upshot is that a prima facie case for the tenability of deterministic chance can be made. But the main thrust of the paper is to draw attention to the (...) connection between the truth conditions of sentences involving 'CAN' and 'CHANCE', and argue for the contextsensitivity of each term. Awareness of this contextsensitivity has consequences for the evaluation of particular philosophical arguments for (in) compatibilism when they are presented in particular contexts. (shrink)
The basic idea of conversational contextualism is that knowledge attributions are context sensitive in that a given knowledge attribution may be true if made in one context but false if made in another, owing to differences in the attributors’ conversational contexts. Moreover, the contextsensitivity involved is traced back to the contextsensitivity of the word “know,” which, in turn, is commonly modelled on the case either of genuine indexicals such as “I” or “here” (...) or of comparative adjectives such as “tall” or “rich.” But contextualism faces various problems. I argue that in order to solve these problems we need to look for another account of the contextsensitivity involved in knowledge attributions and I sketch an alternative proposal. (shrink)
This paper investigates, formulates and proves an indexical barrier theorem, according to which sets of non-indexical sentences do not entail (except under specified special circumstances) indexical sentences. It surveys the usual difficulties for this kind of project, as well some that are specific to the case of indexicals, and adapts the strategy of Restall and Russell's "Barriers to Implication" to overcome these. At the end of the paper a reverse barrier theorem is also proved, according to which an indexical sentence (...) will not, except under specified circumstances, entail a non-indexical one. (shrink)
The idea motivating their account, Cappelen and Lepore (C&L) say in Insensitive Semantics (2005), is that semantic content is context invariant, and that all colleagues who take, or even consider, different accounts are just on the wrong track. It is the purpose of their book to disprove all alternative accounts by way of an argument ‘by elimination’. The conclusion they arrive at is that their own account must be accepted by everyone as the only game in town at the (...) end of the day . The present paper is intended to examine this conclusion; its more significant findings are these. Firstly, C&L’s account is not, as they suggest, strictly minimalist, but in fact just a moderate version of contextualism. Secondly, prematurely associating semantical incompleteness and contextsensitivity, they overlook some possible alternatives to their own view, among them at least one that is attractive. Thirdly, their argument ‘by elimination’ has an inductive structure, but is inexhaustive, and therefore inconclusive. Fourthly, for several different reasons, their attempts to reject arguments in favour of semantical incompleteness do not work. Finally, their contention that arguments in favour of semantical incompleteness employ metaphysical premisses for semantical conclusions rests on a faulty interpretation of these arguments. In the light of these findings, it is concluded that the central argument of Insensitive Semantics fails. (shrink)
Can one and the same quotation be used on different occasions to quote distinct objects? The view that it can is taken for granted throughout the literature (e.g. Goddard & Routley 1966, Christensen 1967, Davidson 1979, Goldstein 1984, Jorgensen et al 1984, Atlas 1989, Clark & Gerrig 1990, Washington 1992, García-Carpintero 1994, 2004, 2005, Reimer 1996, Saka 1998, Wertheimer 1999). Garcia-Carpintero (1994, p. 261) illustrates with the quotation expression ''gone''. He says it can be used to quote any of the (...) following items. (shrink)
Thick terms and concepts in ethics (e.g. selfish, cruel and courageous) somehow combine evaluation and non-evaluative description. The non-evaluative aspects of thick terms and concepts underdetermine their extensions. Many writers argue that this underdetermination point is best explained by supposing that thick terms and concepts are semantically evaluative in some way such that evaluation plays a role in determining their extensions. This paper argues that the extensions of thick terms and concepts are underdetermined by their meanings in toto, irrespective of (...) whether their extensions are partly determined by evaluation; the underdetermination point can therefore be explained without supposing that thick terms and concepts are semantically evaluative. My argument applies general points about semantic gradability and context-sensitivity to the semantics of thick terms and concepts. (shrink)
Crisp is right to detect a clash between Dancy's leading formulation of holism about reasons and the phenomenon of invariance. Replying to Crisp on behalf of the particularist, I suggest a better formulation of holism modelled on a standard treatment in the philosophy of language of context-sensitive expressions. Key Words: context-sensitivity Crisp Dancy holism invariance particularism.
In some areas of cognitive science we are confronted with ultrafast cognition, exquisite contextsensitivity, and scale-free variation in measured cognitive activities. To move forward, we suggest a need to embrace this complexity, equipping cognitive science with tools and concepts used in the study of complex dynamical systems. The science of movement coordination has benefited already from this change, successfully circumventing analogous paradoxes by treating human activities as phenomena of self-organization. Therein, action and cognition are seen to be (...) emergent in ultrafast symmetry breaking across the brain and body; exquisitely constituted of the otherwise trivial details of history, context, and environment; and exhibiting the characteristic scale-free signature of self-organization. (shrink)
Can self-locating beliefs be relevant to non-self-locating claims? Traditional Bayesian modeling techniques have trouble answering this question because their updating rule fails when applied to situations involving contextsensitivity. This essay develops a fully general framework for modeling stories involving context-sensitive claims. The key innovations are a revised conditionalization rule and a principle relating models of the same story with different modeling languages. The essay then applies the modeling framework to the Sleeping Beauty Problem, showing that when Beauty awakens her (...) degree of belief in heads should be one-third. This demonstrates that it can be rational for an agent who gains only self-locating beliefs between two times to alter her degree of belief in a non-self-locating claim. (shrink)
The debate over Hypothetical Syllogism is locked in stalemate. Although putative natural language counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism abound, many philosophers defend Hypothetical Syllogism, arguing that the alleged counterexamples involve an illicit shift in context. The proper lesson to draw from the putative counterexamples, they argue, is that natural language conditionals are context-sensitive conditionals which obey Hypothetical Syllogism. In order to make progress on the issue, I consider and improve upon Morreau’s proof of the invalidity of Hypothetical Syllogism. The (...) improved proof relies upon the semantic claim that conditionals with antecedents irrelevant to the obtaining of an already true consequent are themselves true. Moreover, this semantic insight allows us to provide compelling counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism that are resistant to the usual contextualist response. (shrink)
Epistemic contextualism—the view that the content of the predicate ‘know’ can change with the context of utterance—has fallen into considerable disrepute recently. Many theorists have raised doubts as to whether ‘know’ is context-sensitive, typically basing their arguments on data suggesting that ‘know’ behaves semantically and syntactically in a way quite different from recognised indexicals such as ‘I’ and ‘here’ or ‘flat’ and ‘empty’. This paper takes a closer look at three pertinent objections of this kind, viz. at what (...) I call the Error-Theory Objection, the Gradability Objection and the Clarification-Technique Objection. The paper concludes that none of these objections can provide decisive evidence against contextualism. (shrink)
According to cognitivist truth-theoretic accounts of semantic competence, aspects of our linguistic behavior can be explained by ascribing to speakers cognition of truth theories. It's generally assumed on this approach that, however much contextsensitivity speakers' languages contain, the cognized truththeories themselves can be adequately characterized context insensitively—that is, without using in the metalanguage expressions whose semantic value can vary across occasions of utterance. In this paper, I explore some of the motivations for and problems and consequences (...) of dropping this assumption. (shrink)
Tillman’s central thesis is that counterfactual conditionals are not context-sensitive: the propositions expressed (or semantically encoded) by counterfactual sentences do not vary with the contexts in which they are uttered.1 The main concern of Tillman’s paper is to show that arguments offered in support of the context-sensitivity of counterfactuals are unsound. In these comments, I am going to focus on the “variability argument” for context-sensitivity and Tillman’s response to it.
When a member of an organization has to make a decision or act in a way that may benefit some stakeholders at the expense of others, ethical dilemmas may arise. This paper examines ethical sensitivity regarding the duties to clients and owners (principals), employees (agents), and responsibilities to society (third parties). Within this framework, ethical perceptions of male and female managers are compared between the U.S. and Turkey – two countries that differ on power distance as well as the (...) individualism/collectivism dimensions. Our results show that ethical sensitivity varies depending upon whether the interests of principals, agents, or third parties are affected by a given ethical dilemma. We also find that, contingent upon the principal-agent–society relationships, the nationality and gender of the decision-maker influences ethical sensitivity. (shrink)
This paper investigates the way that linguistic expressions influence vagueness, focusing on the interpretation of the positive (unmarked) form of gradable adjectives. I begin by developing a semantic analysis of the positive form of ‘relative’ gradable adjectives, expanding on previous proposals by further motivating a semantic basis for vagueness and by precisely identifying and characterizing the division of labor between the compositional and contextual aspects of its interpretation. I then introduce a challenge to the analysis from the class of ‘absolute’ (...) gradable adjectives: adjectives that are demonstrably gradable, but which have positive forms that relate objects to maximal or minimal degrees, and do not give rise to vagueness. I argue that the truth conditional difference between relative and absolute adjectives in the positive form stems from the interaction of lexical semantic properties of gradable adjectives—the structure of the scales they use—and a general constraint on interpretive economy that requires truth conditions to be computed on the basis of conventional meaning to the extent possible, allowing for context dependent truth conditions only as a last resort. (shrink)
In this chapter, I produce counterexamples to Presuppositional Epistemic Contextualism (PEC), a view about the semantics of ‘knowledge’-ascriptions that I have argued for elsewhere. According to PEC, the semantic content of the predicate ‘know’ at a context C is partly determined by the speakers’ pragmatic presuppositions at C. The problem for the view that I shall be concerned with here arises from the fact that pragmatic presuppositions are sometimes known to be true by the speakers who make them: hence (...) the Problem of Known Presuppositions. After discussing several unsuccessful ways to solve the problem, I propose the addition of a new Lewisian rule of proper ignoring to the semantics of PEC--namely, the Rule of Evidence-Based Ignoring. If the proposed account succeeds, the Problem of Known Presuppositions has a straightforward solution within the framework of PEC. (shrink)
one hand, it raises fundamental doubts about the Davidsonian project, which seems to involve isolating specifically semantic knowledge from any other knowledge or skill in a way reflected by the ideal of homophony. Indexicality forces a departure from this ideal, and so from the aspiration of deriving the truth conditions of an arbitrary utterance on the basis simply of axioms which could hope to represent purely semantic knowledge. In defence of Davidson, I argue that once his original idea for dealing (...) with the familiar indexical expressions is suitably implemented, in terms of theorems expressing conditional truth-conditions, the contrast between semantic and nonsemantic knowledge occurs in an appropriate place: between knowledge of the conditional truth conditions themselves (semantic), and knowledge of their antecedents (non-semantic). For example, a simplified version of a conditional truth condition for an utterance u of “That is a cat” will say that for all x, if the utterer in uttering “that” in u thereby referred to x, u is true iff x is a cat. The conditional fact belongs to semantic knowledge; non-semantic knowledge is required to work out what the utterer referred to; the two kinds of knowledge conspire to enable a truth condition to be detached. The other kind of worry relates to difficult technical questions, relating to specific idioms, raised by context-dependence. I consider whether an argument by Travis (2006), designed to establish that there can be no correct truth conditional semantics, can be turned on its head, and used to establish a general method for bringing all forms of context-dependence within Davidsonʼs framework (using quantification into the qualifier “on understanding U”). I argue that this will not work, and that we are committed to a piecemeal examination of various cases, of which I give some examples. One of these relates directly to Travisʼs argument concerning the context-dependence of “grunt”. In addition, Davidsonians need to have a sharp eye for the distinction between pragmatic and semantic content, to be specified by a test akin to Griceʼs notion of cancelability; they should treat sentences like “Itʼs raining” by the conditional truth-condition method; and they should treat possessives as semantically very unspecific. It is part of the thesis of the paper that this list of examples by no means exhausts the cases a Davidsonian needs to address. (shrink)
Dieser Beitrag diskutiert „kulturelle Fragen“ in klinischer Ethik am Beispiel der Hymenrekonstruktion. Zunächst werden drei grundsätzliche Argumente genannt: 1) Wenn „kultur-sensitive“ Themen in klinischer Ethik explizit als solche diskutiert werden, kann das zu einem essentialistischen Verständnis von Kultur beitragen. Stattdessen wird in diesem Beitrag für ein dynamisches Verständnis von Kultur argumentiert und für eine grundsätzlich kontextsensitive, pluralistische klinische Ethik. 2) Klinische Ethik fokussiert häufig auf die individuelle Arzt-Patienten-Beziehung. Public Health Ethik und Globale Bioethik sind dagegen eher mit den strukturellen Bedingungen (...) von Gesundheit und Gesundheitsversorgung befasst. Der Beitrag argumentiert für eine systematischere Verknüpfung dieser verschiedenen Ebenen. 3) „Migration“ als bioethisches Thema wird häufig unter „Kultur“ subsumiert. Doch diese beiden Themen sind nicht koextensiv, stattdessen umfassen beide Bereiche jeweils unterschiedliche Fragestellungen. Insbesondere im Bereich von „Migration“ bestehen in der Bioethik noch Forschungslücken. Auf diesen Ausgangsüberlegungen aufbauend wird die Hymenrekonstruktion aus ethischer Sicht diskutiert und dafür argumentiert, sie nur als ultima ratio durchzuführen. Zugleich sollte über die Unmöglichkeit eines Jungfräulichkeitsnachweises aufgeklärt werden. Es bleibt eine Herausforderung, „kultursensitive“ Gesundheitsversorgung zu leisten, dabei jedoch ein essentialistisches Kulturverständnis und Stereotypisierung zu vermeiden. Dieser Beitrag argumentiert für eine grundsätzliche Kontextsensitivität in einer globalisierten, heterogenen Welt, in der die Verbindung zwischen individuellem Handeln und strukturellen Gegebenheiten bewusst wird. (shrink)
A durable question in Latin American thought is whether it could amount to a characteristically Latin American philosophy. I argue that, if, as is now widely conceded, there is a role for philosophical analysis in thinking about problems that arise in applied subjects, such as bioethics, environmental ethics, and feminism, then why not also in Latin American thought? After all, the focus of Hispanic thinkers has often been upon the issues that arise in their own experiences of the world, and (...) they make up a diverse group of peoples related by very idiosyncratic ethnic and historical connections. I believe that, given some appropriate criteria, the existing corpus of works by Latin American thinkers constitutes a distinctive philosophy. (shrink)
This paper argues for two theses: (a) that degrees of belief are context sensitive; (b) that outright belief is belief to degree 1. The latter thesis is rejected quickly in most discussions of the relationship between credence and belief, but the former thesis undermines the usual reasons for doing so. Furthermore, identifying belief with credence 1 allows nice solutions to a number of problems for the most widely-held view of the relationship between credence and belief, the threshold view. I (...) provide a sketch of a formal framework on which both theses are true. This is a modified Bayesian framework; I argue that despite making credences context-sensitive, the framework lets Bayesians hold on to their signature explanatory successes. The sort of context-sensitivity claimed for credences here mirrors the sort of context-sensitivity I have elsewhere claimed for outright belief: one's credences depend, in part, on the space of alternative possibilities one takes seriously in a context. (shrink)
A contextualist account of modal assertions is sketched that makes their truth sensitive to the presuppositions of the conversation. Support for the account is mustered by considering its application to the context-sensitivity of assertions of subjunctive conditional sentences, explanation sentences, and knowledge sentences.
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)
Much recent work in the philosophy of language has focused on the extent to which what linguistic expressions express depends upon context. It is (relatively) uncontroversial that some expressions are context-sensitive, for instance, indexicals like ‘I’, and demonstratives like ‘this’. But there is little agreement beyond this point. On some views (the Minimalist views), there is little context-sensitivity in the language that goes beyond these uncontroversially context-dependent expressions. On other views (the Radical Contextualist views), (...) class='Hi'>context-sensitivity is everywhere in our language. And on yet other views (the Moderate Contextualist views), the truth lies somewhere in between these extremes. (I shall offer more precise renderings of these views in what follows.). (shrink)