Pluralpronouns create the possibility of overlapping reference, which does not not fit naturally into the classical GB theory of anaphora, where each NP has a single integer as its referential index. Thus, one must either complicate the indexing system used in syntax or complicate the semantic interpretation of indices. This paper argues for the former approach based on the properties of a particular comitative-like construction found in Mohawk and certain other languages. This construction is analyzed as a (...) type of Left Dislocation where the dislocated NP forms a syntactic chain with a pronoun that it overlaps in reference with. Several unusual characteristics of such chains can be accounted for if pluralpronouns have sets of integers as their indices—characteristics involving bound anaphora, ellipsis interpretation, and connectivity effects. Certain implications for the theory of chains are also discussed. (shrink)
For the resolution of pluralpronouns referring to singularly introduced reference persons the plural antecedent has to be built up by the cognitive system itself (installing a plural complex, e. g. ‘John wanted to have a picnic with Mary. They had…’). For singular pronouns the antecedent is usually mentioned in the text explicitly. This contribution examined which aspects of the prepronominal sentence structure determine the installation of a plural antecedent and at which point of (...) time this process is initiated. Using the German pronoun ‘sie, which is ambiguous in respect to number, it was shown in a first experiment that subjects have a preference to continue a text by referring to both singularly introduced persons, if they are combined by the conjunctions ‘and’, ‘as well as’ or neither/nor‘, or by the preposition ‘with’, if the female person is in the verb phrase. Subjects prefer to refer to the female person only after the prepositions ‘without’ and 'instead of, and after ‘with’ if the female person is in the noun phrase. The reaction time data of the second experiment indicated that at least these conjunctions and ‘with’ initiate a plural reference complex before a pronoun is read. This pre-pronominal installation of a complex serves to facilitate plural reference operations executed at a later point in processing. In our view, pronominal resolution is more than a mere recursive search-and-match procedure initiated by reading the pronoun; the cognitive system is better prepared for processing further referential relations. This view is discussed in the context of a ‘pronominal occupation’ hypothesis. (shrink)
Gareth Evans'' proposal, as amended by Steven Neale –that a definite pronoun with a quantifiedantecedent that does not bind it has the sense ofa definite description – has been challenged inthe singular case by appeal to counter-examplesinvolving failure of the uniqueness condition forthe legitimacy of a singular description. Thischallenge is here extended to the plural.Counter-examples are provided by cases in which aplural description `the Fs'' does not denote,despite the propriety of the use of `they'' or`them'' it is to replace, (...) because of failure ofcumulativeness. A noncumulative predicate isnot distributive, and conditions for thelegitimacy of `the Fs'' designed to accommodatenondistributive `Fs'' are given in the context ofa two sorted theory with generalized quantifiers.Failure of cumulativeness is not to be confusedwith failure of maximality as Neale and othersdefine it. If not all Fs are Gs, `The Fs are Gs''is false; but it does not follow that `the Fs'' isillegitimate; and if `Fs'' is distributive. it isso only if there are no Fs. These differencesgranted, I give a partial defense of theEvans–Neale proposal from deficiencies in analternative based on the views of P. T.Geach. (shrink)
Margaret Gilbert's plural subject theory defines social collectives in terms of common knowledge of expressed willingness to participate in some joint action. The author critically examines Gilbert's application of this theory to linguistic phenomena involving "we," arguing that recent work in linguistics provides the tools to develop a superior account. The author indicates that, apart from its own relevance, one should care about this critique because Gilbert's claims about the first person plural pronoun play a role in the (...) argument in favor of her recent theory of political obligation. Key Words: collective agent • Gilbert • plural subject • semantics • we. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: This paper discusses ancient versions of paradoxes today classified as paradoxes of presupposition and how their ancient solutions compare with contemporary ones. Sections 1-4 air ancient evidence for the Fallacy of Complex Question and suggested solutions, introduce the Horn Paradox, consider its authorship and contemporary solutions. Section 5 reconstructs the Stoic solution, suggesting the Stoics produced a Russellian-type solution based on a hidden scope ambiguity of negation. The difference to Russell’s explanation of definite descriptions is that in the Horn (...) Paradox the Stoics uncovered a hidden conjunction rather than a hidden existential sentence. Sections 6 and 7 investigate hidden ambiguities in “to have” and “to lose” (including inalienable and alienable possession) and ambiguities of quantification based on substitution of indefinite plural expressions for indefinite or anaphoric pronouns, and Stoic awareness of these. Section 8 considers metaphorical readings and allusions that add further spice to the paradox. (shrink)
Within natural language semantics, pronouns are often thought to correspond to variables whose values are contributed by contextual assignment functions. This paper concerns the application of this idea to cases where the antecedent of a pronoun is a plural quantifiers. The paper discusses the modelling of accessibility patterns of quantifier antecedents in a dynamic theory of interpretation. The goal is to reach a semantics of quantificational dependency which yields a fully semantic notion of pronominal accessibility. I argue that (...) certain dependency phenomena that arise in quantificationally created contexts require a representation of context wherein the labelling of antecedents is not rigid but rather dynamic itself. I propose a stack-based alternative to classic assignment functions, along the lines of Vermeulen (1993) and van Eijck (2001), and give a dynamic semantics of quantification which correctly accommodates the problematic anaphoric phenomena. (shrink)
The meaning of ‘we’ is usually seen as ‘I + others’. Russian, along with many other languages, has a construction that allows an overt specification of ‘others’, the so-called Plural Pronoun Construction (PPC), which involves a plural pronoun and a comitative phrase. The syntactic behavior of this comitative phrase differs from that of other with-phrases such as VP-adjuncts, NP-adjuncts, and comitative conjuncts. We will argue that the syntactic behavior of the PPC-comitative follows from its syntactic status as a (...) complement of the plural pronoun D°. We will also suggest a formal semantic analysis of PPC, where the comitative phrase is argued to supply the unsaturated element in the interpretation of the plural pronoun. (shrink)
Roman Jakobson, who had left Russia in 1920 and in 1941 took refuge in the USA from the Nazis, was one of the main figures in post war linguistics and structuralism. Two aspects of his work are examined in this article. Firstly, Jakobson purifies his linguistic theory of pragmatic references. Secondly, he develops his own diplomatic mission of mediating between East and West. In this article, I argue that these two aspects did not develop independently from one another. Instead I (...) claim that his theory is designed to slip through the Iron Curtain, while at the same time providing the means to analyse ways of acting politically by using language. This argument is unfolded in two steps, each consisting of two parts. First, I compare the theory of pronominal expressions as developed by Emil Benveniste to Jakobson’s theory of shifters. While Benveniste focuses on the relation of language and its subject using language, Jakobson introduces a model of communication to allow maximal formalisation of language. According to this even the category of person can be freed from its reference to a subject which would be understood as having a place in space and time. Then, Jakobson’s theory of shifters is studied in relation to his analyses of poetry. For this, two examples are chosen: Jakobson’s text on two poems by Russian poet Alexandr Blok, and his text on a poem by Bertold Brecht. In both texts, the theory of shifters—and the alleged purification from pragmatic aspects of language use ensuing from this theory—is challenged by the simple fact that they focus on the pronoun of the first person plural. According to Jakobson, the category of number does not belong to the shifters. Rather, number quantifies participants of the related event. The pronoun ‘we’ is at the same time a shifter and a non-shifter, as it refers to the speech event and the related event. Thus the pronoun ‘we’ opens up the possibility to include or exclude the participants of a communicative situation, and thereby enables the speaker to act socially or even politically by using language. The article concludes by coming back to the historical situation in which Jakobson developed his analyses of poetry. Analysing poetry seems to have been a passe-partout for him, a seemingly harmless subject that allowed him to get a foot in the door of remote and secluded lecture halls. (shrink)
This paper defends 'plural reference', the view that definite plurals refer to several individuals at once, and it explores how the view can account for a range of phenomena that have been discussed in the linguistic literature.
Within much contemporary social ontology there is a particular methodology at work. This methodology takes as a starting point two or more asocial or atomic individuals. These individuals are taken to be perfectly functional agents, though outside of all social relations. Following this, combinations of these individuals are considered, to deduce what constitutes a social group. Here I will argue that theories which rely on this methodology are always circular, so long as they purport to describe the formation of all (...) social groups, as they must always presuppose a pre-existing collectivity. Such methodology also produces various distortions in our theories, such as voluntarism. I focus on the workings of Plural Subject Theory as laid out by Margaret Gilbert in On Social Facts (1989). I show that the formation of a plural subject always requires communication, and that communication always requires a pre-existing collectivity. i examine the elements within Plural Subject Theory which protect gilbert from these accusations of circularity, and argue against them. I finalise by suggesting that what Plural Subject Theory, and social ontology in general, requires as a theoretical starting point is not atomic individuals and their combinations, but rather combinations of already socialised or embedded individuals. (shrink)
Ordinary English contains different forms of quantification over objects. In addition to the usual singular quantification, as in 'There is an apple on the table', there is plural quantification, as in 'There are some apples on the table'. Ever since Frege, formal logic has favored the two singular quantifiers ∀x and ∃x over their plural counterparts ∀xx and ∃xx (to be read as for any things xx and there are some things xx). But in recent decades it has (...) been argued that we have good reason to admit among our primitive logical notions also the plural quantifiers ∀xx and ∃xx. More controversially, it has been argued that the resulting formal system with plural as well as singular quantification qualifies as ‘pure logic’; in particular, that it is universally applicable, ontologically innocent, and perfectly well understood. In addition to being interesting in its own right, this thesis will, if correct, make plural quantification available as an innocent but extremely powerful tool in metaphysics, philosophy of mathematics, and philosophical logic. For instance, George Boolos has used plural quantification to interpret monadic second-order logic and has argued on this basis that monadic second-order logic qualifies as “pure logic.” Plural quantification has also been used in attempts to defend logicist ideas, to account for set theory, and to eliminate ontological commitments to mathematical objects and complex objects. (shrink)
Modal sentences of the form "every F might be G" and "some F must be G" have a threefold ambiguity. in addition to the familiar readings "de dicto" and "de re", there is a third reading on which they are examples of the "plural de re": they attribute a modal property to the F's plurally in a way that cannot in general be reduced to an attribution of modal properties to the individual F's. The plural "de re" readings (...) of modal sentences cannot be captured within standard quantified modal logic. I consider various strategies for extending standard quantified modal logic so as to provide analyses of the readings in question. I argue that the ambiguity in question is associated with the scope of the general term 'F'; and that plural quantifiers can be introduced for purposes of representing the scope of a general term. Moreover, plural quantifiers provide the only fully adequate solution that keeps within the framework of quantified modal logic. (shrink)
Andrea Westlund's account of love involves lovers becoming a Plural Subject mirroring Margaret Gilbert's Plural Subject Theory. However, while for Gilbert the creation of a plural will involves individuals jointly committing to pool their wills and the plural will directly normatively constraining those individuals, Westlund, in contrast, sees the creation of a plural will as a continual process thus rejecting the possibility of such direct normative constraint. This rejection appears to be required to explain the (...) flexibility that allows for a central place for reciprocity in loving relationships. However, this paper argues against the existence of such flexibility and presents instead the case that variance in the normative pain of rebelling against the collective will can be accommodated by replacing Gilbert's notion of all-or-nothing pooling of wills with an account that see wills as becoming entangled through levels of identification with the plural subject. (shrink)
In “Mathematics is megethology,” Lewis reconstructs set theory using mereology and plural quantification (MPQ). In his recontruction he assumes from the beginning that there is an infinite plurality of atoms, whose size is equivalent to that of the set theoretical universe. Since this assumption is far beyond the basic axioms of mereology, it might seem that MPQ do not play any role in order to guarantee the existence of a large infinity of objects. However, we intend to demonstrate that (...) mereology and plural quantification are, in some ways, particularly relevant to a certain conception of the infinite. More precisely, though the principles of mereology and plural quantification do not guarantee the existence of an infinite number of objects, nevertheless, once the existence of any infinite object is admitted, they are able to assure the existence of an uncountable infinity of objects. So, if—as Lewis maintains—MPQ were parts of logic, the implausible consequence would follow that, given a countable infinity of individuals, logic would be able to guarantee an uncountable infinity of objects. (shrink)
PG ( Plural Grundgesetze ) is a predicative monadic second-order system which exploits the notion of plural quantification and a few Fregean devices, among which a formulation of the infamous Basic Law V. It is shown that second-order Peano arithmetic can be derived in PG. I also investigate the philosophical issue of predicativism connected to PG. In particular, as predicativism about concepts seems rather un-Fregean, I analyse whether there is a way to make predicativism compatible with Frege’s logicism.
In this essay, we propose that Peirce’s Existential Graphs can derive the desired uniqueness implication (or in a weaker claim, the definite description readings) of donkey pronouns in conjunctive discourse (A man walks in the park. He whistles), without postulating a separate category of E-type pronouns.
The state of affairs of some things falling under a predicate is supposedly a single entity that collects these things as its constituents. But whether we think of a state of affairs as a fact, a proposition or a possibility, problems will arise if we adopt a plural logic. For plural logic says that any plurality include themselves, so whenever there are some things, the state of affairs of their plural self-inclusion should be a single thing that (...) collects them all. This leads to paradoxes analogous to those that afflict naïve set theory. Here I suggest that they are the very same paradoxes, because sets can be reduced to states of affairs. However, to obtain a consistent theoretical reduction we must restrict the usual axiom scheme of Comprehension for plural logic to ‘stratified’ formulas, to avoid viciously circular definitions. I prove that with this modification to the background plural logic, the theory of states of affairs is consistent; moreover, it yields the axioms of the familiar set theory NFU. (shrink)
PG (Plural Grundgesetze) is a predicative monadic second-order system which is aimed to derive second-order Peano arithmetic. It exploits the notion of plural quantification and a few Fregean devices, among which the infamous Basic Law V. In this paper, a model-theoretical consistency proof for the system PG is provided.
One of the standard views on plural quantification is that its use commits one to the existence of abstract objects–sets. On this view claims like ‘some logicians admire only each other’ involve ineliminable quantification over subsets of a salient domain. The main motivation for this view is that plural quantification has to be given some sort of semantics, and among the two main candidates—substitutional and set-theoretic—only the latter can provide the language of plurals with the desired expressive power (...) (given that the nominalist seems committed to the assumption that there can be at most countably many names). To counter this approach I develop a modal-substitutional semantics of plural quantification (on which plural variables, roughly speaking, range over ways names could be) and argue for its nominalistic acceptability. (shrink)
In this paper I provide a decompositional analysis of three kinds of plural indefinites in two related languages, European Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. The three indefinites studied are bare plurals, the unos (Spanish)/uns (Portuguese) type, and the algunos (Spanish)/alguns (Portuguese) type. The paper concentrates on four properties: semantic plurality, positive polarity, partitivity, and event distribution. The logic underlying the analysis is that of compositionality, applied at the subword level: as items become bigger in form (with the addition of morphemes), (...) they also acquire more semantic properties. The paper proposes the “indefinite hierarchy", which establishes a set of components for languages to build their indefinites with, in a particular order. (shrink)
An experiment is reported which investigates the impact of two variables on the likelihood of obtaining plural pronoun anaphors in a continuation task. The first variable is syntactic: the use of and versus with as a means of relating two singular characters. Use of and enhances the likelihood of obtaining a plural anaphor in continuations, but the incidence of plural is never as high as 60%. The second variable is description type: whether the characters are introduced through (...) proper names (e. g. Harry), or through a simple definition noun phrase (e. g. the doctor). When two descriptions are of the same type, plural reference is enhanced, regardless of syntactic condition, and regardless of whether the two descriptions are names or noun phrases. This effect is traced in part to the special status afforded to characters which are introduced through proper names. A discussion is presented within the framework of an account of plural anaphora based on singular individuals mapping into common role-slots in background knowledge (scenario). (shrink)
Collective entities and collective relations play an important role in natural language. In order to capture the full meaning of sentences like The Beatles sing Yesterday, a knowledge representation language should be able to express and reason about plural entities — like the Beatles — and their relationships — like sing — with any possible reading (cumulative, distributive or collective).In this paper a way of including collections and collective relations within a concept language, chosen as the formalism for representing (...) the semantics of sentences, is presented. A twofold extension of theA–C concept language is investigated: (1) special relations introduce collective entities either out of their components or out of other collective entities, (2) plural quantifiers on collective relations specify their possible reading. The formal syntax and semantics of the concept language is given, together with a sound and complete algorithm to compute satisfiability and subsumption of concepts, and to compute recognition of individuals. (shrink)
We report two experiments that investigated the widely held assumption that speakers use the addressee’s discourse model when choosing referring expressions (e.g., Ariel, 1990; Chafe, 1994; Givón, 1983; Prince, 1985), by manipulating whether the addressee could hear the immediately preceding linguistic context. Experiment 1 showed that speakers increased pronoun use (and decreased noun phrase use) when the referent was mentioned in the immediately preceding sentence compared to when it was not, even though the addressee did not hear the preceding sentence, (...) indicating that speakers used their own, privileged discourse model when choosing referring expressions. The same pattern of results was found in Experiment 2. Speakers produced more pronouns when the immediately preceding sentence mentioned the referent than when it mentioned a referential competitor, regardless of whether the sentence was shared with their addressee. Thus, we conclude that choice of referring expression is determined by the referent’s accessibility in the speaker’s own discourse model rather than the addressee’s. (shrink)
In our present-day shrinking world of abundant and irrevocable cultural diversity our cultural divides may be bridged – yet not adulterated – if people everywhere in the world embrace human rights. In this paper I shall defend the view that we need, to this end, elaborate a plurality of differing but culturally well-grounded endorsements of universally applicable human rights; or briefly, we should embrace plural justification of human rights.
Necessitism is the view that necessarily everything is necessarily something; contingentism is the negation of necessitism. The dispute between them is reminiscent of, but clearer than, the more familiar one between possibilism and actualism. A mapping often used to ‘translate’ actualist discourse into possibilist discourse is adapted to map every sentence of a first-order modal language to a sentence the contingentist (but not the necessitist) may regard as equivalent to it but which is neutral in the dispute. This mapping enables (...) the necessitist to extract a ‘cash value’ from what the contingentist says. Similarly, a mapping often used to ‘translate’ possibilist discourse into actualist discourse is adapted to map every sentence of the language to a sentence the necessitist (but not the contingentist) may regard as equivalent to it but which is neutral in the dispute. This mapping enables the contingentist to extract a ‘cash value’ from what the necessitist says. Neither mapping is a translation in the usual sense, since necessitists and contingentists use the same language with the same meanings. The former mapping is extended to a second-order modal language under a plural interpretation of the second-order variables. It is proved that the latter mapping cannot be. Thus although the necessitist can extract a ‘cash value’ from what the contingentist says in the second-order language, the contingentist cannot extract a ‘cash value’ from some of what the necessitist says, even when it raises significant questions. This poses contingentism a serious challenge. (shrink)
It is argued that the English bare plural (an NP with plural head that lacks a determiner), in spite of its apparently diverse possibilities of interpretation, is optimally represented in the grammar as a unified phenomenon. The chief distinction to be dealt with is that between the generic use of the bare plural (as in Dogs bark) and its existential or indefinite plural use (as in He threw oranges at Alice). The difference between these uses is (...) not to be accounted for by an ambiguity in the NP itself, but rather by explicating how the context of the sentence acts on the bare plural to give rise to this distinction. A brief analysis is sketched in which bare plurals are treated in all instances as proper names of kinds of things. A subsidiary argument is that the null determiner is not to be regarded as the plural of the indefinite article a. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that we need to take irreducibly plural logic more seriously in metaphysical debates due to the fact that the verdict of many metaphysical debates hangs on it. I give two examples. The main example I focus on is the debate recently revived by Jonathan Schaffer over the fundamental cardinality of the world. I show how the three main arguments provided by Schaffer are unsound in virtue of an employment of plural logic. The second (...) example I give is a more general issue about the possibility of emergent properties of mereological wholes. Employing plural logic there is a new way to understand such cases. The upshot is that plural logic greatly matters to metaphysics and hence can no longer be ignored the way it has in this area. (shrink)
I first show that most authors who developed Plural Quantification Logic (PQL) argued it could capture various features of natural language better than can other logic systems. I then show that it fails to do so: it radically departs from natural language in two of its essential features; namely, in distinguishing plural from singular quantification and in its use of an relation. Next, I sketch a different approach that is more adequate than PQL for capturing plural aspects (...) of natural language semantics and logic. I conclude with a criticism of the claim that PQL should replace natural language for specific philosophical or scientific purposes. (shrink)
Genuine agents are able to engage in activity because they find it worth pursuing—because they care about it. In this respect, they differ from what might be called “mere intentional systems”: systems like chess-playing computers that exhibit merely goal-directed behavior mediated by instrumental rationality, without caring. A parallel distinction can be made in the domain of social activity: plural agents must be distinguished from plural intentional systems in that plural agents have cares and engage in activity because (...) of those cares. In this paper, I sketch an account of what it is for an individual to care about things in terms of her exhibiting a certain pattern of emotions. After extending this account to make sense of an individual's caring about other agents, I then show how a certain sort of emotional connectedness among a group of people can make intelligible the group's having cares and thereby constitute that group as a plural agent. Alternative accounts of social action, by ignoring the difference between mere intentional systems and genuine agents, and so by leaving out these emotional entanglements from their accounts of social action, thereby fail to capture a whole range of social phenomena involving plural agents. (shrink)
When viewed as the most comprehensive theory of collections, set theory leaves no room for classes. But the vocabulary of classes, it is argued, provides us with compact and, sometimes, irreplaceable formulations of largecardinal hypotheses that are prominent in much very important and very interesting work in set theory. Fortunately, George Boolos has persuasively argued that plural quantification over the universe of all sets need not commit us to classes. This paper suggests that we retain the vocabulary of classes, (...) but explain that what appears to be singular reference to classes is, in fact, covert plural reference to sets. (shrink)
John Burgess in a 2004 paper combined plural logic and a new version of the idea of limitation of size to give an elegant motivation of the axioms of ZFC set theory. His proposal is meant to improve on earlier work by Paul Bernays in two ways. I argue that both attempted improvements fail. I am grateful to Philip Welch, two anonymous referees, and especially Ignacio Jané for written comments on earlier versions of this paper, which have led to (...) substantial improvements. Thanks also to the participants in a discussion group at the University of Bristol, where an earlier version was presented. (shrink)
A new axiomatization of set theory, to be called Bernays-Boolos set theory, is introduced. Its background logic is the plural logic of Boolos, and its only positive set-theoretic existence axiom is a reflection principle of Bernays. It is a very simple system of axioms sufficient to obtain the usual axioms of ZFC, plus some large cardinals, and to reduce every question of plural logic to a question of set theory.
Contemporary accounts of logic and language cannot give proper treatments of plural constructions of natural languages. They assume that plural constructions are redundant devices used to abbreviate singular constructions. This paper and its sequel, "The logic and meaning of plurals, II", aim to develop an account of logic and language that acknowledges limitations of singular constructions and recognizes plural constructions as their peers. To do so, the papers present natural accounts of the logic and meaning of (...) class='Hi'>plural constructions that result from the view that plural constructions are, by and large, devices for talking about many things (as such). The account of logic presented in the papers surpasses contemporary Fregean accounts in its scope. This extension of the scope of logic results from extending the range of languages that logic can directly relate to. Underlying the view of language that makes room for this is a perspective on reality that locates in the world what plural constructions can relate to. The papers suggest that reflections on plural constructions point to a broader framework for understanding logic, language, and reality that can replace the contemporary Fregean framework as this has replaced its Aristotelian ancestor. (shrink)
We present a plural logic that is as expressively strong as it can be without sacrificing axiomatisability, axiomatise it, and use it to chart the expressive limits set by axiomatisability. To the standard apparatus of quantification using singular variables our object-language adds plural variables, a predicate expressing inclusion (is/are/is one of/are among), and a plural definite description operator. Axiomatisability demands that plural variables only occur free, but they have a surprisingly important role. Plural description is (...) not eliminable in favour of quantification; on the contrary, quantification is definable in terms of it. Predicates and functors (function signs) can take plural as well as singular terms as arguments, and both many-valued and single-valued functions are expressible. The system accommodates collective as well as distributive predicates, and the condition for a predicate to be distributive is definable within it; similarly for functors. An essential part of the project is to demonstrate the soundness and completeness of the calculus with respect to a semantics that does without set-theoretic domains and in which the use of settheoretic extensions of predicates and functors is replaced by the sui generis relations and functions for which the extensions were at best artificial surrogates. Our metalanguage is designed to solve the difficulties involved in talking plurally about individuals and about the semantic values of plural items. (shrink)
In this paper, I distinguish three claims, which I label individual intentional autonomy, individual intentional autarky, and intentional individualism. The autonomy claim is that under normal circumstances, each individual's behavior has to be interpreted as his or her own action. The autarky claim is that the intentional interpretation of an individual's behavior has to bottom out in that individual's own volitions, or pro-attitudes. The individualism claim is weaker, arguing that any interpretation of an individual's behavior has to be given in (...) terms of individual intentional states. I argue that individual intentional autonomy implies neither individual intentional autarky, nor intentional individualism, with which it is usually lumped together. I further argue that this insight is the key to an adequate view of an important class of actions, i.e., plural actions. Key Words: joint action shared intentions methodological individualism intentional interpretation collective agents influence autonomy. (shrink)
Plural and conflicting values are often held to be conceptually problematic, threatening the very possibility of ethics, or at least rational ethics. Rejecting this view, Stocker first demonstrates why it is so important to understand the issues raised by plural and conflicting values, focusing on Aristotle's treatment of them. He then shows that plurality and conflict are commonplace and generally unproblematic features of our everyday choice and action, and that they do allow for a sound and rational ethics.
Plural predication is a pervasive part of ordinary language. We can say that some people are fifty in number, are surrounding a building, come from many countries, and are classmates. These predicates can be true of some people without being true of any one of them; they are non-distributive predications. However, the apparatus of modern logic does not allow a place for them. Thomas McKay here explores the enrichment of logic with non-distributive plural predication and quantification. His book (...) will be of great interest to philosophers of language, linguists, metaphysicians, and logicians. (shrink)
Until recently it was standard to think that all demonstratives are directly referential. This assumption has played important roles in work on perception, reference, mental content, and the nature of propositions. But Jeff King claims that demonstratives with a nominal complement (like ‘that dog’) are quantifiers, largely because there are cases in which the semantic value of such a “complex demonstrative” is not simply an object (2001). Although I agree with King that such cases preclude a directly referential, Kaplanian semantics (...) for complex demonstratives, I will argue that without contentious further assumptions they do not vindicate King’s claim that they are quantifiers. This is because familiar pronouns act like King’s examples of complex demonstratives. Indeed, pronouns and complex demonstratives share behavior that even King overlooks. None of this pronoun behavior shows that pronouns are quantifiers, and similarly none of the analogous demonstrative behavior shows that complex demonstratives are quantifiers. (shrink)
In this sequel to "The logic and meaning of plurals. Part I", I continue to present an account of logic and language that acknowledges limitations of singular constructions of natural languages and recognizes plural constructions as their peers. To this end, I present a non-reductive account of plural constructions that results from the conception of plurals as devices for talking about the many. In this paper, I give an informal semantics of plurals, formulate a formal characterization of truth (...) for the regimented languages that results from augmenting elementary languages with refinements of basic plural constructions of natural languages, and account for the logic of plural constructions by characterizing the logic of those regimented languages. (shrink)
Unbound anaphoric pronouns or ‘E-type pronouns’ have presented notorious problems for semantic theory, leading to the development of dynamic semantics, where the primary function of a sentence is not considered that of expressing a proposition that may act as the object of propositional attitudes, but rather that of changing the current information state. The older, ‘E-type’ account of unbound anaphora leaves the traditional notion of proposition intact and takes the unbound anaphor to be replaced by a full NP (...) whose semantics is assumed to be known (e.g. a definite description). In this paper, I argue that there are serious problems with any version of the E-type account as well as the (original form of the) dynamic account. I will explore a new account based on structured propositions, which can be considered a conservative extension of a traditional proposition-based semantics, but which at the same time incorporates some crucial insights of the dynamic account. (shrink)
Plato was the first philosopher to discover the metaphysical phenomenon of plural-subjects and plural-predication; e.g. you and I are two, but neither you, nor I are two. I argue that Plato devised an ontology for plural-predication through his Theory of Forms, namely, plural-partaking in a Form. Furthermore, I argue that Plato used plural-partaking to offer an ontology of related individuals without reifying relations. My contention is that Plato’s theory of plural-relatives has evaded detection in (...) the exegetical literature because his account of plural-subjects through the Theory of Forms had not been recognised for what it is. I further submit that Plato’s handling of related individuals through plural-predication is not only a “first” in philosophy, but also an “only”, having remained a unique account in the metaphysics of relations. I hope that Plato’s account will introduce a fresh approach to contemporary debates on the subject. (shrink)
It has been claimed in the literature that collective intentionality and group attitudes presuppose some “sense of ‘us’” among the participants (other labels sometimes used are “sense of community,” “communal awareness,” “shared point of view,” or “we-perspective”). While this seems plausible enough on an intuitive level, little attention has been paid so far to the question of what the nature and role of this mysterious “sense of ‘us’” might be. This paper states (and argues for) the following five claims: (1) (...) it is neither the case that the sense in question has the community (or “us”) in its content or as its object nor does the attitude in question presuppose a preexistent community (or “us”) as its subject. (2) The “sense of ‘us’” is plural pre-reflective self-awareness. (3) Plural pre-reflective self-awareness plays the same role in the constitution of a common mind that singular pre-reflective self-awareness plays in the individual mind. (4) The most important conceptions of plural subjects, collective persons, or group agents in the current literature fail to recognize the nature and role of plural self-awareness, and therefore fall short in important respects. (5) In spite of the striking similarities between the plural and the singular mind, there are important differences to consider. The authority of the singular first person point of view has no equivalent in the plural case. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to explore the proper content of a formal semantic theory in two respects: first, clarifying which uses of expressions a formal theory should seek to accommodate, and, second, how much information the theory should contain. I explore these two questions with respect to occurrences of demonstratives and pronouns – the so- called ‘deferred’ uses – which are often classified as non-standard or figurative. I argue that, contrary to initial impressions, they must be treated (...) as semantically identical to ordinary, perceptual uses of these expression-types, and that this finding has important repercussions for our view of the scope and limits of a semantic theory. (shrink)
The issue of knowing what it means for a group to have collective beliefs is being discussed more and more in contemporary philosophy of the social sciences and philosophy of mind. Margaret Gilberts reconsideration of Durkheims viewpoint in the framework of the plural subjects account is one of the most famous. This has implications in the history and the sociology of scienceas well asin the history and sociology of philosophyalthough Gilbert only outlined them in the former fields and said (...) nothing about the latter. Symmetrically but independently, a historian of science, Mara Beller, has recently challenged Kuhns conception of the role of consensus in sciences in a brilliant analysis by carefully studying the history of Copenhagen School of Quantum Mechanics. Not only does she show the role of disagreement and controversies (doubting whether there was any collective belief characteristic in this group of physicists), but she even shakes up the very idea of individual beliefs. Each scientist (Heisenberg, Bohr, etc.) could be seen as divided into several selves. This paper contends that these two conceptions open important new horizons in several domains, especially if they are linked together. The paper assesses this claim in the light of empirical examples like the Vienna Circle, Copenhagen School, and, eventually, Cartesian philosophy. Key Words: plural subject polyphony collective briefs Cartesian argumentation. (shrink)
The view that plural reference is reference to a set is examined in light of George Boolos's treatment of second-order quantification as plural quantification in English. I argue that monadic second-order logic does not, in Boolos's treatment, reflect the behavior of plural quantifiers under negation and claim that any sentence that properly translates a second-order formula, in accordance with his treatment, has a first-order formulation. Support for this turns on the use of certain partitive constructions to assign (...) values to variables in a way that makes Boolos's reading of second-order variables available for a first-order language and, with it, the possibility of interpreting quantification in an unrestricted domain.A first-order theory, T(D), is developed on the basis of Boolos's treatment of simple plural definite descriptions extended to Richard Sharvy's general theory of definite plural and mass descriptions. I introduce a primitive predicate, o, for the relation of the referent of a singular description to that of its plural. If o is simply added to T(D), is definable in T(D), and the result is inconsistent. If o is added to a theory with axioms for the fragment of T(D) I call D-mereology, the result is a natural basis for the development of a pluralized Zermelo set theory. This theory, however, is inconsistent in an unrestricted domain, unless it is recast as a second-order theory of sets interpreted in Boolos's way. (shrink)
A dilemma put forward by Schein (1993, Plurals and events. Cambridge: MIT Press) and Rayo (2002, Nous, 36, 436-464) suggests that, in order to characterize the semantics of plurals, we should not use predicate logic, but plural logic, a formal language whose terms may refer to several things at once. We show that a similar dilemma applies to mass nouns. If we use predicate logic and sets when characterizing their semantics, we arrive at a Russellian paradox. And if we (...) use predicate logic and mereological sums, the semantics turns out to be too weak. We then develop an account where mass nouns are treated as non-singular terms. This semantics is faithful to the intuition that, if there are eight pieces of silverware on a table, the speaker refers to eight things at once when he says: The silverware that is on the table comes from Italy. We show that this account provides a satisfactory semantics for a wide range of sentences. (shrink)