This book analyzes--in terms of branching--the pervasive reorganization of Latin syntactic and morphological structures: in the development from Latin to French, a shift can be observed from the archaic, left-branching structures (which Latin inherited from Proto-Indo-European) to modern right-branching equivalents. Brigitte Bauer presents a detailed analysis of this development based on the theoretical discussion and definition of "branching" and "head." Subsequently she relates the diachronic shift to psycholinguistic evidence, arguing that the difficuly of LB complex structures as reflected in their (...) painstaking and delayed acquisition accounts for the extensive typological shift from left to right branching that took place in Latin/French and the other Indo-European languages. (shrink)
This book argues that correspondence theories of truth fail because the relation that holds between a true thought and a fact is that of identity, not correspondence. Facts are not complexes of worldly entities which make thoughts true they are merely true thoughts. According to Julian Dodd, the resulting modest identity theory , while not defining truth, correctly diagnoses the failure of correspondence theories, and thereby prepares the ground for a defensible deflation of the concept of truth.
The material elements of writing have long been undervalued, and have been dismissed by recent historicising trends of criticism; but analysis of these elements - sound, signature, letters - can transform our understanding of literary texts. In this book Tom Cohen shows how, in an era of representational criticism and cultural studies, the role of close reading has been overlooked. Arguing that much recent criticism has been caught in potentially regressive models of representation, Professor Cohen undertakes to counter this by (...) rethinking the 'materiality' of the text itself. Through a series of revealing new readings of the work of writers including Plato, Bakhtin, Poe, Whitman and Conrad, Professor Cohen exposes the limitations of new historicism and neo-pragmatism, and demonstrates how 'the materiality of language' operates to undo the representational models of meaning imposed by the literary canon. (shrink)
Language Turned on Itself examines what happens when language becomes self-reflexive; when language is used to talk about language. Those who think, talk, and write about language are habitual users of various metalinguistic devices, but reliance on these devices begins early: kids are told, 'That's called a "rabbit"'. It's not implausible that a primitive capacity for the meta-linguistic kicks in at the beginning stages of language acquisition. But no matter when or how frequently these devices are invoked, one thing is (...) clear: they present theorists of language with a complex data pattern. Herman Cappelen and Ernest Lepore show that the study of these devices and patterns not only represents an interesting and neglected project in the philosophy of language, but also carries important consequences for other parts of philosophy. -/- Part I is devoted to presenting data about various aspects of our metalinguistic practices. In Part II, the authors examine and reject the four leading metalinguistic theories, and offer a new account of our use of quotation in a variety of different contexts. But the primary goal of this book is not to promote one theory over another. Rather, it is to present a deeply puzzling set of problems and explain their significance. (shrink)
This book by one of the world's foremost philosophers in the fields of epistemology and logic offers an account of suppositional reasoning relevant to practical deliberation, explanation, prediction and hypothesis testing. Suppositions made 'for the sake of argument' sometimes conflict with our beliefs, and when they do, some beliefs are rejected and others retained. Thanks to such belief contravention, adding content to a supposition can undermine conclusions reached without it. Subversion can also arise because suppositional reasoning is ampliative. These two (...) types of nonmonotonic logic are the focus of this book. A detailed comparison of nonmonotonicity appropriate to both belief contravening and ampliative suppositional reasoning reveals important differences that have been overlooked. (shrink)
Theoretical and Applied Issues Edited by Andrew Ortony Jon Slack Oliviero Stock NATO ASI Series Series F: Computer and Systems Sciences, Vol. 100 Communication from an Artificial Intelligence Perspective NATO ASI Series Advanced ...
Drawing on ten years of research on the unpublished Wittgenstein papers, Stern investigates what motivated Wittgenstein's philosophical writing and casts new light on the Tractatus and Philosophical Investigations. The book is an exposition of Wittgenstein's early conception of the nature of representation and how his later revision and criticism of that work led to a radically different way of looking at mind and language. It also explains how the unpublished manuscripts and typescripts were put together and why they often provide (...) better evidence of the development of his ideas than can be found in his published writing. In doing so, the book traces the development of a number of central themes in Wittgenstein's philosophy, including his conception of philosophical method, the picture theory of meaning, the limits of language, the application of language to experience, his treatment of private language, and what he called the "flow of life." Arguing that Wittgenstein's views are often much more simple (and more radical) than we have been led to believe, Wittgenstein on Mind and Language provides an overview of the development of Wittgenstein's philosophy and brings to light aspects of his philosophy that have been almost universally neglected. (shrink)
The ability to produce and understand referring expressions is basic to human language use and human cognition. Reference comprises the ability to think of and represent objects (both real and imagined/fictional), to indicate to others which of these objects we are talking about, and to determine what others are talking about when they use a nominal expression. The articles in this volume are concerned with some of the central themes and challenges in research on reference within the cognitive sciences - (...) philosophy (including philosophy of language and mind, logic, and formal semantics), theoretical and computational linguistics, and cognitive psychology. The papers address four basic questions: What is reference? What is the appropriate analysis of different referring forms, such as definite descriptions? How is reference resolved? and How do speaker/writers select appropriate referring forms, such as pronouns vs. full noun phrases, demonstrative vs. personal pronouns, and overt vs. null/zero pronominal forms? Some of the papers assume and build on existing theories, such as Centering Theory and the Givenness Hierarchy framework; others propose their own models of reference understanding or production. The essays examine reference from a number of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, informed by different research traditions and employing different methodologies. While the contributors to the volume were primarily trained in one of the four represented disciplines-computer science, linguistics, philosophy and psychology, and use methodologies typical of that discipline, each of them bridges more than one discipline in their methodology and/or their approach. (shrink)
Meaning seems to shift from context to context; how do we know when someone says "grab a chair" that an ottoman or orange crate will do, but when someone says "let's buy a chair," they won't? In Plastic Glasses and Church Fathers, Kronenfeld offers a theory that explains both the usefulness of language's variability of reference and the mechanisms which enable us to understand each other in spite of the variability. Kronenfeld's theory, rooted in the tradition of ethnoscience (or cognitive (...) anthropology), accomplishes three things. First, it distinguishes prototypic referents from extended referents. Second, it describes the various bases of semantic extensions. Finally it details how we use the situational context of usage, the linguistic context of opposition and inclusion, and the conceptual context of knowledge about the world to interpret communicative events. (shrink)
Linguistic Semantics: An Introduction is the successor to Sir John Lyons's important textbook Language, Meaning and Context (1981).While preserving the general structure of the earlier book, the author has substantially expanded its scope to introduce several topics that were not previously discussed, and to take account of new developments in linguistic semantics over the past decade. The resulting work is an invaluable guide to the subject, offering clarifications of its specialised terms and explaining its relationship to formal and philosophical semantics (...) and to contemporary pragmatics. With its clear and accessible style it will appeal to a wide student readership. Sir John Lyons is one of the most important and internationally renowned contributors to the study of linguistics. His many publications include Introduction to Theoretical Linguistics (1968) and Semantics (1977). (shrink)
This collection of previously unpublished essays presents a new approach to the history of analytic philosophy--one that does not assume at the outset a general characterization of the distinguishing elements of the analytic tradition. Drawing together a venerable group of contributors, including John Rawls and Hilary Putnam, this volume explores the historical contexts in which analytic philosophers have worked, revealing multiple discontinuities and misunderstandings as well as a complex interaction between science and philosophical reflection.
Identity, existence, predication, necessity, and truth are vital concepts at the center of philosophy. Yet Colin McGinn believes that orthodox views of these topics are misguided in important ways. Philosophers and logicians have often distorted the nature of these concepts in an attempt to define them according to preconceived ideas. Logical Properties aims to respect the ordinary ways we talk and think when we employ these concepts, while at the same time showing that they are far more interesting and peculiar (...) than some have assumed; these notions correspond to real properties--logical properties--that challenge naturalistic metaphysical views. Written with a minimum of formal terminology, this book deals with logico-linguistic issues as well as ontological ones. The focus is on trying to get to the essence of the concept concerned, not merely finding some established notation for providing formal interpretations. (shrink)
Michael Devitt is a distinguished philosopher of language. In this new book he takes up one of the most important difficulties that must be faced by philosophical semantics: namely, the threat posed by holism. Three important questions lie at the core of this book: what are the main objectives of semantics; why are they worthwhile; how should we accomplish them? Devitt answers these 'methodological' questions naturalistically and explores what semantic programme arises from the answers. The approach is anti-Cartesian, rejecting the (...) idea that linguistic or conceptual competence yields any privileged access to meanings. This new methodology is used first against holism. Devitt argues for a truth-referential localism, and in the process rejects direct-reference, two-factor, and verificationist theories. The book concludes by arguing against revisionism, eliminativism, and the idea that we should ascribe narrow meanings to explain behaviour. (shrink)
Is native speaker variation in understanding complex sentences due to individual differences in working memory capacity or in syntactic competence? The answer to this question has very important consequences for both theoretical and applied concerns in linguistics and education. This book is distinctive in giving an historical and interdisciplinary perspective on the rule- based and experience-based debate and in supporting an integrated account. In the study reported here, variation was found to be due to differences in syntactic competence and the (...) author argues that sentence comprehension is a learned skill, displaying many of the general characteristics of cognitive skills. The book will be stimulating reading for psycholinguists, theoretical linguists, applied linguists and educators. (shrink)
Split constructions are widespread in natural languages. The separation of the semantic restriction of a quantifier from that quantifier is a typical example of such a construction. This study addresses the problem that such discontinuous strings exhibit--namely, a number of locality constraints, including intervention effects. These are shown to follow from the interaction of a minimalist syntax with a semantics that directly assigns a model-theoretic interpretation to syntactic logical forms. The approach is shown to have wide empirical coverage and a (...) conceptual simplicity. The book will be of interest to scholars and advanced students of syntax and semantics. (shrink)
A comprehensive introduction to the ways in which meaning is conveyed in language. Alan Cruse covers semantic matters, but also deals with topics that are usually considered to fall under pragmatics. A major aim is to highlight the richness and subtlety of meaning phenomena, rather than to expound any particular theory. Rich in examples and exercises, Meaning in Language provides an invaluable descriptive approach to this area of linguistics for undergraduates and postgraduates alike.
McCarthy develops a theory of radical interpretation--the project of characterizing from scratch the language and attitudes of an agent or population--and applies it to the problems of indeterminacy of interpretation first described by Quine. The major theme in McCarthy's study is that a relatively modest set of interpretive principles, properly applied, can serve to resolve the major indeterminacies of interpretation.
Ambiguity, vagueness and metaphor are pervasive features of language, deserving of systematic study in their own right. Yet they have frequently been considered mere deviations from ideal language or obstacles to be avoided in the construction of scientific systems. First published in 1979, Beyond the Letter offers a consecutive study of these features from a philosphical point of view, providing analyses of each and treating their relations to one another. Addressed to the fundamental task of logical and semantic explanation, the (...) book employs an inscriptional methodology in the attempt to avoid prevalent forms of question-begging, and, further, in the conviction that sparseness of assumption often reveals points of theoretical interest irrespective of methodolgical preference. The author distinguishes and analyses several varieties of ambiguity, developing new semantic notions in the process; recasts the philosophical treatment of vagueness in the light of recent criticisms of analyticity; discusses the bearing of vagueness on logic; and provides a systematic critique of major recent interpretations of metaphor, developing a revised version of contextualism. (shrink)
The subject of semantics has been appropriated by various disciplines including linguistic philosophy, logic, cognitive psychology, anthropological linguistics, and computer technology. As a result, it is difficult to define the study of semantics as an actual discipline without discovering what each field using a semantic approach to its subject matter has contributed to the understanding of what words mean. This volume is a result of those discoveries. Primarily an introductory work, this volume outlines the approaches that various disciplines have taken (...) to the subject, attempts to show their relationships and their limitations, and presents the more important aspects of each approach -- from psychosemantics to artificial intelligence -- using pertinent source material from psychology, philosophy, logic, linguistics, and sociology. For individuals coming to the study of semantics for the first time, or those who are interested in what the overall study may offer beyond their specialization, this volume will provide a helpful overview of the subject. (shrink)
The distinguished philosopher of language, Francois Recanati, has proposed a wide-ranging truth-conditional model of pragmatics. In this collection, various aspects of his theories are addressed by distinguished contributors, and are then commented on or answered by Recanati himself. This allows the reader to be drawn into the central debate within philosophy of language and cognitive science as to what kind of pragmatics system is needed.
A generic statement is a type of generalization that is made by asserting that a "kind" has a certain property. For example we might hear that marshmallows are sweet. Here, we are talking about the "kind" marshmallow and assert that individual instances of this kind have the property of being sweet. Almost all of our common sense knowledge about the everyday world is put in terms of generic statements. What can make these generic sentences be true even when there are (...) exceptions? A mass term is one that does not "divide its reference;" the word water is a mass term; the word dog is a count term. In a certain vicinity, one can count and identity how many dogs there are, but it doesn't make sense to do that for water--there just is water present. The philosophical literature is rife with examples concerning how a thing can be composed of a mass, such as a statue being composed of clay. Both generic statements and mass terms have led philosophers, linguists, semanticists, and logicians to search for theories to accommodate these phenomena and relationships. The contributors to this interdisciplinary volume study the nature and use of generics and mass terms. Noted researchers in the psychology of language use material from the investigation of human performance and child-language learning to broaden the range of options open for formal semanticists in the construction of their theories, and to give credence to some of their earlier postulations--for instance, concerning different types of predications that are available for true generics and for the role of object recognitions in the development of count vs. mass terms. Relevant data also is described by investigating the ways children learn these sorts of linguistic items: children can learn how to sue generic statements correctly at an early age, and children are adept at individuating objects and distinguishing them from the stuff of which they are made also at an early age. (shrink)
Semantic Analysis is a lively and clearly written introduction to the study of meaning in language and to the language-culture connection. Goddard covers traditional and contemporary issues and approaches with the relationship between semantics, conceptualization, and culture as a key theme. He also details a number of case studies that draw on a wide range of material from non-Indo-European languages, particularly Australian Aboriginal languages and Malay, on which the author is an authority.
There is an important family of semantic notions that are applied to thoughts and to the conceptual constituents of thoughts--as when one says that the thought that the Universe is expanding is true. Christopher Hill presents a theory of the content of such notions. That theory is largely deflationary in spirit. It represents a broad range of semantic notions free from substantive metaphysical and empirical presuppositions. He also explains the relationship of mirroring or semantic correspondence linking thoughts to reality.