About this topic

Experimental philosophy is an exciting and controversial approach to philosophy, calling on empirical methods to cast light on philosophical issues. Empirical methods have been brought to bear on a wide range of topics in philosophy, including a number of topics in philosophy of language. Most central amongst these is work considering theories of reference.  

Key works The central work in experimental philosophy of reference is Machery et al 2004. See also their follow-up in Mallon et al 2009, and a number of important responses (including Deutsch 2009, Devitt 2011, Sytsma & Livengood 2011). Important work has been done on other topics in philosophy of language as well, including the work by Pietroski et al 2009, Phelan 2010, Leslie et al 2011, and Genone & Lombrozo 2012, amongst others.
Introductions Genone 2012; see also the chapters by Machery and Martí in Machery & O'Neill 2014.
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  1. Linguistic Experiments and Ordinary Language Philosophy.Nat Hansen & Emmanuel Chemla - unknown
    J.L. Austin is regarded as having an especially acute ear for fine distinctions of meaning overlooked by other philosophers. Austin employs an informal experimental approach to gathering evidence in support of these fine distinctions in meaning, an approach that has become a standard technique for investigating meaning in both philosophy and linguistics. In this paper, we subject Austin's methods to formal experimental investigation. His methods produce mixed results: We find support for his most famous distinction, drawn on the basis of (...)
  2. Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Language.Jussi Haukioja (ed.) - 2015 - Bloomsbury Academic.
  3. Semantic Intuitions, Conceptual Analysis, and Cross-Cultural Variation.Henry Jackman - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 146 (2):159 - 177.
    While philosophers of language have traditionally relied upon their intuitions about cases when developing theories of reference, this methodology has recently been attacked on the grounds that intuitions about reference, far from being universal, show significant cultural variation, thus undermining their relevance for semantic theory. I’ll attempt to demonstrate that (1) such criticisms do not, in fact, undermine the traditional philosophical methodology, and (2) our underlying intuitions about the nature of reference may be more universal than the authors suppose.
  4. Distinguishing the Said From the Implicated Using a Novel Experimental Paradigm.Meredith Larson, Ryan Doran, Yaron McNabb, Rachel Baker, Matthew Berends, Alex Djalali & Gregory Ward - 2009 - In Uli Sauerland & Kazuko Yatsushiro (eds.), Semantics and Pragmatics: From Experiment to Theory. Palgrave-Macmillan.
  5. Genericity is Easy? Formal and Experimental Perspectives.Dimitra Lazaridou‐Chatzigoga, Napoleon Katsos & Linnaea Stockall - 2015 - Ratio 28 (4):470-494.
    In this paper, we compare the formal semantics approach to genericity, within which genericity is viewed as a species of quantification, and a growing body of experimental and developmental work on the topic, mainly by psychologists rather than linguists, proposing that genericity is categorically different from quantification. We argue that this generics-as-default hypothesis is much less well supported by evidence than its supporters contend, and that a research program combining theoretical and experimental research methods and considerations in the same studies (...)
  6. Semantics, Cross-Cultural Style.Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols & Stephen Stich - 2004 - O Gnition 92:B1--B12.
    Theories of reference have been central to analytic philosophy, and two views, the descriptivist view of reference and the causal-historical view of reference, have dominated the field. In this research tradition, theories of reference are assessed by consulting one's intuitions about the reference of terms in hypothetical situations. However, recent work in cultural psychology has shown systematic differences between East Asians and Westerners, and some work indicates that this extends to intuitions about philosophical cases. In light of these findings on (...)
  7. The Elements of Experimental Phonetics.Max Meyer - 1903 - Psychological Review 10 (2):188-193.
  8. Intuitions and the Theory of Reference.Jennifer Nado & Michael Johnson - unknown
    In this paper, we will examine the role that intuitions and responses to thought experiments play in confirming or disconfirming theories of reference, using insights from both debates as our starting point. Our view is that experimental evidence of the type elicited by MMNS does play a central role in the construction of theories of reference. This, however, is not because such theory construction is accurately characterized by "the method of cases." First, experimental philosophy does not directly collect data about (...)
  9. Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Language.Mark Pinder - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (265):879-882.
Experimental Philosophy: Reference
  1. Intuitions, Disagreement and Referential Pluralism.James Andow - 2014 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (2):223-239.
    Mallon, Machery, Nichols and Stich (Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79: 332–356, 2009) argue that the use of intuitions in the philosophy of reference is problematic as recent studies show intuitions about reference vary both within and between cultures. I use some ideas from the recent literature on disagreement and truth relativism to shed light on the debate concerning the appropriate reaction to these studies. Mallon et al. argue that variation is problematic because if one tries to use intuitions which vary (...)
  2. Moral Valence and Semantic Intuitions.James R. Beebe & Ryan J. Undercoffer - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (2):445-466.
    Despite the swirling tide of controversy surrounding the work of Machery et al. , the cross-cultural differences they observed in semantic intuitions about the reference of proper names have proven to be robust. In the present article, we report cross-cultural and individual differences in semantic intuitions obtained using new experimental materials. In light of the pervasiveness of the Knobe effect and the fact that Machery et al.’s original materials incorporated elements of wrongdoing but did not control for their influence, we (...)
  3. Intuitions in Philosophical Semantics.Daniel Cohnitz & Jussi Haukioja - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (3):617-641.
    We argue that the term “intuition”, as it is used in metaphilosophy, is ambiguous between at least four different senses. In philosophy of language, the relevant “intuitions” are either the outputs of our competence to interpret and produce linguistic expressions, or the speakers’ or hearers’ own reports of these outputs. The semantic facts that philosophers of language are interested in are determined by the outputs of our competence. Hence, philosophers of language should be interested in investigating these, and they do (...)
  4. Meta-Externalism Vs Meta-Internalism in the Study of Reference.Daniel Cohnitz & Jussi Haukioja - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3):475-500.
    We distinguish and discuss two different accounts of the subject matter of theories of reference, meta-externalism and meta-internalism. We argue that a form of the meta- internalist view, “moderate meta-internalism”, is the most plausible account of the subject matter of theories of reference. In the second part of the paper we explain how this account also helps to answer the questions of what kind of concept reference is, and what role intuitions have in the study of the reference relation.
  5. Experimental Philosophy and the Theory of Reference.Max Deutsch - 2009 - Mind and Language 24 (4):445-466.
    It is argued on a variety of grounds that recent results in 'experimental philosophy of language', which appear to show that there are significant cross-cultural differences in intuitions about the reference of proper names, do not pose a threat to a more traditional mode of philosophizing about reference. Some of these same grounds justify a complaint about experimental philosophy as a whole.
  6. Semantic Epistemology: Response to Machery.Michael Devitt - 2012 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 27 (2):229-233.
    Machery argues: (1) that “philosophers’ intuitions about reference are not more reliable than lay people’s —if anything, they are probably worse”; (2) that “intuitions about the reference of proper names and uses of proper names provide equally good evidence for theories of reference”. (1) lacks theoretical and empirical support. (2) cannot be right because usage provides the evidence that intuitions are reliable.
  7. Whither Experimental Semantics?Michael Devitt - 2012 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 27 (1):5-36.
    The main goal of the paper is to propose a methodology for the theory of reference in which experiments feature prominently. These experiments should primarily test linguistic usage rather than the folk’s referential intuitions. The proposed methodology urges the use of: (A) philosophers’ referential intuitions, both informally and, occasionally, scientifically gathered; (B) the corpus, both informally and scientifically gathered; (C) elicited production; and, occasionally, (D) folk’s referential intuitions. The most novel part of this is (C) and that is where most (...)
  8. Experimental Semantics.Michael Devitt - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (2):418 - 435.
    In their delightfully provocative paper, “Semantics, Cross-Cultural Style,” Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols, and Stephen Stich (2004),[1] make several striking claims about theories of reference. First, they claim: (I) Philosophical views about reference “are assessed by consulting one’s intuitions about the reference of terms in hypothetical situations” (p. B1). This claim is prompted by their observations of the role of intuitions in Saul Kripke’s refutation of the descriptivist view of proper names in favor of a causal-historical view (1980). The (...)
  9. Rereading the Kripkean Intuition on Reference.Brian Flanagan - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (1):87-95.
    Saul Kripke's thought experiments on the reference of proper names target the theory that the properties which identify a term's referent are the subject of an implicit agreement. Recently, survey versions of the experiments have been thought to show that intuitions about reference are culturally contingent. Proposing a revisionary interpretation, this article argues, first, that Kripke's Cicero/Feynman experiment reveals that every name user knows enough to be capable of identifying the same individual as the name's most informed users. Second, the (...)
  10. Theories of Reference and Experimental Philosophy.James Genone - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (2):152-163.
    In recent years, experimental philosophers have questioned the reliance of philosophical arguments on intuitions elicited by thought experiments. These challenges seek to undermine the use of this methodology for a particular domain of theorizing, and in some cases to raise doubts about the viability of philosophical work in the domain in question. The topic of semantic reference has been an important area for discussion of these issues, one in which critics of the reliance on intuitions have made particularly strong claims (...)
  11. Concept Possession, Experimental Semantics, and Hybrid Theories of Reference.James Genone & Tania Lombrozo - 2012 - Philosophical Psychology 25 (5):1-26.
    Contemporary debates about the nature of semantic reference have tended to focus on two competing approaches: theories which emphasize the importance of descriptive information associated with a referring term, and those which emphasize causal facts about the conditions under which the use of the term originated and was passed on. Recent empirical work by Machery and colleagues suggests that both causal and descriptive information can play a role in judgments about the reference of proper names, with findings of cross-cultural variation (...)
  12. Attitudes Towards Reference and Replaceability.Christopher Grau & Cynthia Pury - 2014 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (2):155-168.
    Robert Kraut has proposed an analogy between valuing a loved one as irreplaceable and the sort of “rigid” attachment that (according to Saul Kripke’s account) occurs with the reference of proper names. We wanted to see if individuals with Kripkean intuitions were indeed more likely to value loved ones (and other persons and things) as irreplaceable. In this empirical study, 162 participants completed an online questionnaire asking them to consider how appropriate it would be to feel the same way about (...)
  13. Experimental Philosophy of Language.Nathaniel Hansen - 2015 - Oxford Handbooks Online.
    Experimental philosophy of language uses experimental methods developed in the cognitive sciences to investigate topics of interest to philosophers of language. This article describes the methodological background for the development of experimental approaches to topics in philosophy of language, distinguishes negative and positive projects in experimental philosophy of language, and evaluates experimental work on the reference of proper names and natural kind terms. The reliability of expert judgments vs. the judgments of ordinary speakers, the role that ambiguity plays in influencing (...)
  14. In Defense of a Kripkean Dogma.Jonathan Ichikawa, Ishani Maitra & Brian Weatherson - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (1):56-68.
    In “Against Arguments from Reference” (Mallon et al., 2009), Ron Mallon, Edouard Machery, Shaun Nichols, and Stephen Stich (hereafter, MMNS) argue that recent experiments concerning reference undermine various philosophical arguments that presuppose the correctness of the causal-historical theory of reference. We will argue three things in reply. First, the experiments in question—concerning Kripke’s Gödel/Schmidt example—don’t really speak to the dispute between descriptivism and the causal-historical theory; though the two theories are empirically testable, we need to look at quite different data (...)
  15. Psychological Essentialism and Semantic Externalism: Evidence for Externalism in Lay Speakers' Language Use.Jussi Jylkk - 2009 - Philosophical Psychology 22 (1):37 – 60.
    Some experimental studies have recently claimed to undermine semantic externalism about natural kind terms. However, it is unclear how philosophical accounts of reference can be experimentally tested. We present two externalistic adaptations of psychological placeholder essentialism, a strict externalist and a hybrid externalist view, which are experimentally testable. We examine Braisby, Franks, and Hampton's (1996) study which claims to undermine externalism, and argue that the study fails in its aims. We conducted two experiments, the results of which undermine internalism and (...)
  16. Are Cantonese Speakers Really Descriptivists? Revisiting Cross-Cultural Semantics.Barry Lam - 2010 - Cognition 115 (2):320–32.
    In an article in Cognition, Machery, Mallon, Nichols, and Stich [Machery et al., 2004] present data which purports to show that “East Asian” native Cantonese speakers tend to have descriptivist intuitions about the referents of proper names, while “Western” native English speakers tend to have causal-historical intuitions about proper names. Machery et al take this finding to support the view that some intuitions, the universality of which they claim is central to philosophical theories, vary according to cultural background. Machery et (...)
  17. Expertise and Intuitions About Reference.Edouard Machery - 2012 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 27 (1):37-54.
    Many philosophers hold that experts’ semantic intuitions are more reliable and provide better evidence than lay people’s intuitions—a thesis commonly called “the Expertise Defense.” Focusing on the intuitions about the reference of proper names, this article critically assesses the Expertise Defense.
  18. Semantic Epistemology: A Brief Response to Devitt.Edouard Machery - 2012 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 27 (2):223-227.
    In this article, I argue that philosophers’ intuitions about reference are not more reliable than lay people’s and that intuitions about the reference of proper names and uses of proper names provide equally good evidence for theories of reference.
  19. Semantic Intuitions: Reply to Lam.Edouard Machery, Max Deutsch, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols, Justin Sytsma & Stephen Stich - 2010 - Cognition 117 (3):363-366.
  20. Semantics, Cross-Cultural Style.Edouard Machery, Ron Mallon, Shaun Nichols & Stephen P. Stich - 2004 - Cognition 92 (3):1-12.
    Theories of reference have been central to analytic philosophy, and two views, the descriptivist view of reference and the causal-historical view of reference, have dominated the field. In this research tradition, theories of reference are assessed by consulting one’s intuitions about the reference of terms in hypothetical situations. However, recent work in cultural psychology (e.g., Nisbett et al. 2001) has shown systematic cognitive differences between East Asians and Westerners, and some work indicates that this extends to intuitions about philosophical cases (...)
  21. Linguistic and Metalinguistic Intuitions in the Philosophy of Language.Edouard Machery, Christopher Y. Olivola & Molly de Blanc - 2009 - Analysis 69 (4):689 - 694.
    Machery et al. reported some preliminary evidence that intuitions about reference vary within and across cultures, and they argued that if real, such variation would have significant philosophical implications . In a recent article, Genoveva Martí argues that the type of intuitions examined by Machery and colleagues is evidentially irrelevant for identifying the correct theory of reference, and she concludes that the variation in the relevant intuitions about reference within and across cultures has not been established.To substantiate this criticism, Martí (...)
  22. Linguistic and Metalinguistic Intuitions in the Philosophy of Language.Edouard Machery, Christopher Y. Olivola & Molly De Blanc - 2009 - Analysis 69 (4):689-694.
    Machery et al. (2004) reported some preliminary evidence that intuitions about reference vary within and across cultures, and they argued that if real, such variation would have significant philosophical implications (see also Mallon et al. 2009). In a recent article, Genoveva Martı´ (2009) argues that the type of intuitions examined by Machery and colleagues (‘metalin- 10 guistic intuitions’) is evidentially irrelevant for identifying the correct theory of reference, and she concludes that the variation in the relevant intuitions about reference within (...)
  23. Against Arguments From Reference.Ron Mallon, Edouard Machery, Shaun Nichols & Stephen Stich - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (2):332 - 356.
    It is common in various quarters of philosophy to derive philosophically significant conclusions from theories of reference. In this paper, we argue that philosophers should give up on such 'arguments from reference.' Intuitions play a central role in establishing theories of reference, and recent cross-cultural work suggests that intuitions about reference vary across cultures and between individuals within a culture (Machery et al. 2004). We argue that accommodating this variation within a theory of reference undermines arguments from reference.
  24. General Terms, Hybrid Theories and Ambiguitiy. A Discussion of Some Experimental Results.Genoveva Marti - 2015 - In Jussi Haukioja (ed.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Language. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 157-172.
    I examine two sets of experimental results about the semantics of general terms, by Genone and Lombrozo (2012) and by Nichols, Pinillos and Mallon (forthcoming) that allegedly reveal significant variations in semantic intuitions as regards the correct application of general terms. The two sets of authors propose two entirely different semantic treatments: Genone and Lombrozo espouse a hybrid semantics whereas Nichols, Pinillos and Mallon are inclined towards an appeal to ambiguity. I cast some doubts on the coherence of a hybrid (...)
  25. Reference and Experimental Semantics.Genoveva Marti - 2014 - In Edouard Machery & Elizabeth O’Neill (eds.), Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 17-26.
    Experimental semanticists have concluded that there is wide variation in referential intuitions among speakers, for it appears that some speakers display referential intuitions that are in line with descriptivism, whereas other speakers’ intuitions are in line with the predictions of the causal-historical picture. In this chapter, I first situate the debate by comparing descriptivist and non-descriptivist approaches to reference. After examining some of the experimental results, I argue that the tests conducted do not elicit data that are relevant for semantic (...)
  26. Empirical Data and the Theory of Reference.Genoveva Marti - 2012 - In William P. Kabasenche, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Reference and Referring. Topics in Contemporary Philosophy. MIT Press. pp. 63-82.
    This paper is an extended response to Machery, Olivola and De Blanc (2009). I argue that the concerns I raised about Machery, Mallon, Nichols and Stich (2004) in Marti (2009) still stand.
  27. Against Semantic Multi-Culturalism.Genoveva Marti - 2009 - Analysis 69 (1):42-48.
    E. Machery, R. Mallon, S. Nichols and S. Stich, have argued that there is empirical evidence against Kripke’s claim that names are not descriptive. Their argument is based on an experiment that compares the intuitions about proper name use of a group of English speakers in Hong Kong with those of a group of non-Chinese American students. The results of the experiment suggest that in some cultures speakers use names descriptively. I argue that such a conclusion is incorrect, for the (...)
  28. Interpreting Intuition: Experimental Philosophy of Language.Jeffrey Maynes - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (2):260-278.
    The role of intuition in Kripke's arguments for the causal-historical theory of reference has been a topic of recent debate, particularly in light of empirical work on these intuitions. In this paper, I develop three interpretations of the role intuition might play in Kripke's arguments. The first aim of this exercise is to help clarify the options available to interpreters of Kripke, and the consequences for the experimental investigation of Kripkean intuitions. The second aim is to show that understanding the (...)
  29. Linguistic Intuitions.Jeffrey Maynes & Steven Gross - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (8):714-730.
    Linguists often advert to what are sometimes called linguistic intuitions. These intuitions and the uses to which they are put give rise to a variety of philosophically interesting questions: What are linguistic intuitions – for example, what kind of attitude or mental state is involved? Why do they have evidential force and how might this force be underwritten by their causal etiology? What light might their causal etiology shed on questions of cognitive architecture – for example, as a case study (...)
  30. Einführung in die experimentelle Philosophie.Nikil Mukerji - 2016 - Wilhelm Fink.
    Wie kann ein Experiment zur Beantwortung philosophischer Fragestellungen beitragen? Etwa: Was ist Wissen? Was bedeuten sprachliche Ausdrücke? Haben wir einen freien Willen? Kann man etwas absichtlich tun, ohne es zu beabsichtigen? Vertreter einer jungen philosophischen Bewegung wollen den Fragen ihres Fachs mithilfe empirisch-psychologischer Methoden auf den Grund gehen. Anstatt den Lehnstuhl (»armchair«) aufzusuchen, um sich philosophischen Problemen zu widmen, begeben sich experimentelle Philosophen ins Labor, um mithilfe empirischer Informationen aus Psychologie, Neurowissenschaft und Kognitionswissenschaft philosophische Schlussfolgerungen zu stützen. Die Einführung gibt (...)
  31. The 'Gödel' Effect.Gary Ostertag - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (1):65-82.
    In their widely discussed paper, “Semantics, Cross-Cultural Style”, Machery et al. argue that Kripke’s Gödel–Schmidt case, generally thought to undermine the description theory of names, rests on culturally variable intuitions: while Western subjects’ intuitions conflict with the description theory of names, those of East Asian subjects do not. Machery et al. attempt to explain this discrepancy by appealing to differences between Western and East Asian modes of categorization, as identified in an influential study by Nisbett et al. I claim that (...)
  32. The Explication Defence of Arguments From Reference.Mark Pinder - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (6):1253-1276.
    In a number of influential papers, Machery, Mallon, Nichols and Stich have presented a powerful critique of so-called arguments from reference, arguments that assume that a particular theory of reference is correct in order to establish a substantive conclusion. The critique is that, due to cross-cultural variation in semantic intuitions supposedly undermining the standard methodology for theorising about reference, the assumption that a theory of reference is correct is unjustified. I argue that the many extant responses to Machery et al.’s (...)
  33. A New Perspective Concerning Experiments on Semantic Intuitions.Justin Sytsma & Jonathan Livengood - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (2):315-332.
    Machery, Mallon, Nichols, and Stich [2004; forthcoming] use experimental methods to raise a spectre of doubt about reliance on intuitions in developing theories of reference which are then deployed in philosophical arguments outside the philosophy of language. Machery et al. ran a cross-cultural survey asking Western and East Asian participants about a famous case from the philosophical literature on reference (Kripke's G del example). They interpret their results as indicating that there is significant variation in participants' intuitions about semantic reference (...)
  34. Reference in the Land of the Rising Sun: A Cross-Cultural Study on the Reference of Proper Names.Justin Sytsma, Jonathan Livengood, Ryoji Sato & Mineki Oguchi - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (2):213-230.
    A standard methodology in philosophy of language is to use intuitions as evidence. Machery, Mallon, Nichols, and Stich challenged this methodology with respect to theories of reference by presenting empirical evidence that intuitions about one prominent example from the literature on the reference of proper names vary between Westerners and East Asians. In response, Sytsma and Livengood conducted experiments to show that the questions Machery and colleagues asked participants in their study were ambiguous, and that this ambiguity affected the responses (...)
Experimental Philosophy: Semantics
  1. Natural Language Processing and Semantic Network Visualization for Philosophers.Mark Alfano & Andrew Higgins - forthcoming - In Eugen Fischer & Mark Curtis (eds.), Methodological Advances in Experimental Philosophy. Bloomsbury.
    Progress in philosophy is difficult to achieve because our methods are evidentially and rhetorically weak. In the last two decades, experimental philosophers have begun to employ the methods of the social sciences to address philosophical questions. However, the adequacy of these methods has been called into question by repeated failures of replication. Experimental philosophers need to incorporate more robust methods to achieve a multi-modal perspective. In this chapter, we describe and showcase cutting-edge methods for data-mining and visualization. Big data is (...)
  2. Thinking About the Liar, Fast and Slow.Robert Barnard, Joseph Ulatowski & Jonathan Weinberg - 2017 - In Bradley Armour-Garb (ed.), Reflections on the Liar. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 39-70.
    The liar paradox is widely conceived as a problem for logic and semantics. On the basis of empirical studies presented here, we suggest that there is an underappreciated psychological dimension to the liar paradox and related problems, conceived as a problem for human thinkers. Specific findings suggest that how one interprets the liar sentence and similar paradoxes can vary in relation to one’s capacity for logical and reflective thought, acceptance of certain logical principles, and degree of philosophical training, but also (...)
  3. Empirical Methods of Linguistics in Philosophy.Roland Bluhm - 2014 - The Reasoner 8 (4):41.
    Report on the workshop "Empirical Methods of Linguistics in Philosophy", which took place at TU Dortmund University, Germany, on March 13–14, 2014.
  4. Do Lions Have Manes? For Children, Generics Are About Kinds, Not Quantities.Amanda Brandone, Andrei Cimpian, Sarah-Jane Leslie & Susan Gelman - 2012 - Child Development 83:423-433.
  5. David Lewis in the Lab: Experimental Results on the Emergence of Meaning.Justin Bruner, Cailin O’Connor, Hannah Rubin & Simon M. Huttegger - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):603-621.
    In this paper we use an experimental approach to investigate how linguistic conventions can emerge in a society without explicit agreement. As a starting point we consider the signaling game introduced by Lewis. We find that in experimental settings, small groups can quickly develop conventions of signal meaning in these games. We also investigate versions of the game where the theoretical literature indicates that meaning will be less likely to arise—when there are more than two states for actors to transfer (...)
  6. Can We Agree About Agree?Emmanuel Chemla & B. R. George - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (1):243-264.
    This squib attempts to constrain semantic theories of agree wh constructions by broadening the data set and collecting naive speakers’ intuitions. Overall, our data suggest relatively permissive truth-conditions for these constructions. They also suggest a previously undiscussed presupposition for agree wh and also indicate that agree wh is not straightforwardly reducible to agree that. Although some accounts suggest differences in truth conditions among different asymmetrical agree with constructions and symmetrical agree constructions, we do not find any indication of such truth-conditional (...)
  7. Modularity and Intuitions in Formal Semantics: The Case of Polarity Items.Emmanuel Chemla, Vincent Homer & Daniel Rothschild - 2011 - Linguistics and Philosophy 34 (6):537-570.
    Linguists often sharply distinguish the different modules that support linguistics competence, e.g., syntax, semantics, pragmatics. However, recent work has identified phenomena in syntax (polarity sensitivity) and pragmatics (implicatures), which seem to rely on semantic properties (monotonicity). We propose to investigate these phenomena and their connections as a window into the modularity of our linguistic knowledge. We conducted a series of experiments to gather the relevant syntactic, semantic and pragmatic judgments within a single paradigm. The comparison between these quantitative data leads (...)
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