A one-stop resource on the current developments in word order research, this comprehensive survey provides an up-to-date, critical overview of this widely debated topic, exploring and evaluating research carried out in four major ...
One of the major arenas for debate within generative grammar is the nature of paradigmatic relations among words. Intervening in key debates at the interface between syntax and semantics, this book examines the relation between structure and meaning, and analyses how it affects the internal properties of words and corresponding syntactic manifestations. Adapting notions from the Evo-Devo project in biology (the idea of 'co-linearity' between structural units and behavioural manifestations) Juan Uriagereka addresses a major puzzle: how words can be both (...) decomposable so as to be acquired by children, and atomic, so that they do not manifest themselves as modular to adults. (shrink)
This introduction to modern work in analytic philosophy uses the example of the proper name to give a clear explanation of the logical theories of Gottlob Frege, and explain the application of his ideas to ordinary language. McCulloch then shows how meaning is rooted in the philosophy of mind and the question of intentionality, and looks at the ways in which thought can be "about" individual material objects.
Do we think in natural language? Or is language only for communication? Much recent work in philosophy and cognitive science assumes the latter. In contrast, Peter Carruthers argues that much of human conscious thinking is conducted in the medium of natural language sentences. However, this does not commit him to any sort of Whorfian linguistic relativism, and the view is developed within a framework that is broadly nativist and modularist. His study will be essential reading for all those interested in (...) the nature and significance of natural language, whether they come from philosophy, psychology or linguistics. (shrink)
This book considers how language can be appropriately theorized as both a natural and cultural phenomenon. In reaching his conclusion, Pateman draws on a wide range of work in linguistics, philosophy, and social theory, and argues in defense of Chomsky and against Wittgenstein, all within the framework of a realist philosophy of science and contemporary social theory.
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)
The Extent of the Literal develops a strikingly new approach to metaphor and polysemy in their relation to the conceptual structure. In a straightforward narrative style, the author argues for a reconsideration of standard assumptions concerning the notion of literal meaning and its relation to conceptual structure. She draws on neurophysiological and psychological experimental data in support of a view in which polysemy belongs to the level of words but not to the level of concepts, and thus challenges some seminal (...) work on metaphor and polysemy within cognitive linguistics, lexical semantics and analytical philosophy. (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)
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.
Are propositions of law true or false? If so, what does it mean to say that propositions of law are true and false? This book takes up these questions in the context of the wider philosophical debate over realism and anti-realism. Despite surface differences, Patterson argues that the leading contemporary jurisprudential theories all embrace a flawed conception of the nature of truth in law. Instead of locating that in virtue of which propositions of law are true, Patterson argues that lawyers (...) use forms of argument to show the truth of propositions of law. Additionally, Patterson argues that the realism/anti-realism debate in jurisprudence is part of a larger argument over the role of postmodernism in jurisprudence. For this, Patterson offers an analytic account of postmodernism and charts its implications for legal theory. This book will be of interest to those in legal theory, philosophy, social and political theory, and ethics. (shrink)
This book looks at the ways in which conditionals, an integral part of philosophy and logic, can be of practical use in computer programming. It analyzes the different types of conditionals, including their applications and potential problems. Other topics include defeasible logics, the Ramsey test, and a unified view of consequence relation and belief revision. Its implications will be of interest to researchers in logic, philosophy, and computer science, particularly artificial intelligence.
This major collection of essays stands at the border of aesthetics and ethics and deals with charged issues of practical import: art and morality, the ethics of taste, and censorship. As such its potential interest is by no means confined to professional philosophers; it should also appeal to art historians and critics, literary theorists, and students of film. Prominent philosophers in both aesthetics and ethics tackle a wide array of issues. Some of the questions explored in the volume include: Can (...) art be morally enlightening and, if so, how? If a work of art is morally better does that make it better as art? Is morally deficient art to be shunned, or even censored? Do subjects of artworks have rights as to how they are represented? Do artists have duties as artists and duties as human beings, and if so, to whom? How much tension is there between the demands of art and the demands of life? (shrink)
Reference is a central topic in philosophy of language, and has been the main focus of discussion about how language relates to the world. R. M. Sainsbury sets out a new approach to the concept, which promises to bring to an end some long-standing debates in semantic theory. Lucid and accessible, and written with a minimum of technicality, Sainsbury's book also includes a useful historical survey. It will be of interest to those working in logic, mind, and metaphysics as well (...) as essential reading for philosophers of language. (shrink)
Argues that rebuilding ethical communities will require a cultural reorientation from visually dominated to oral/aural experience and develops a speech-based conception of moral place that can set limits on the actions of individuals and communities.
Exponents and critics of semantic presupposition have almost invariably based their discussion on the ('Standard') definition of presupposition implied by Frege and Strawson. In this study Noel Burton-Roberts argues convincingly against this definition, that leads it to a three-valued semantics. He presents a very simple semantic definition which is weaker, more general and leads to a semantics more easily interpreted as two-valued with gaps. The author shows that a wide range of intuitive facts that eluded the Standard definition follow directly (...) from this ('Revised') definition itself: facts about the presuppositions of compound sentences and modal sentences, about presuppositional conflict and about differences in the logical status of simple sentences suffering from presupposition failure. The book includes a detailed argument that an ambiguity of natural language negation, generally assumed to be necessary to the defence of semantic presupposition, is neither possible nor necessary in a presuppositional semantics. Noel Burton-Roberts has made an authoritative contribution to a debate which has involved philosophers and linguists for many years. His command of the issues, his clarity of exposition and his theoretical insight may well serve to change the boundaries of that debate. (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)
This volume contains twelve chapters on the derivation of and the correlates to verb initial word order. The studies in this volume cover such widely divergent languages as Irish, Welsh, Scots Gaelic, Old Irish, Biblical Hebrew, Jakaltek, Mam, Lummi (Straits Salish), Niuean, Malagasy, Palauan, K'echi', and Zapotec, from a wide variety of theoretical perspectives, including Minimalism, information structure, and sentence processing. The first book to take a crosslinguistic comparative approach to verb initial syntax, this volume provides new data to some (...) old problems anddebates and explores some innovative approaches to the derivation of verb initial order. (shrink)