Generics

Edited by Miguel Hoeltje (Universität Duisburg-Essen)
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  1. Dispositions and Modals: A Short History.Alex Anthony - manuscript
    http://alexanthony.org/dispositions%20and%20modality.pdf.
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  2. Experience, Evaluation and Faultless Disagreement.Alex Anthony - 2016 - Inquiry 59 (6):686-722.
    In the last decade there has been a torrent of work at the intersection of philosophy and linguistics on predicates of personal taste, subjective expressions like fun and tasty that are used to express opinions rather than matters of fact. In each section of this paper I discuss a phenomenon that has been largely overlooked in the literature on PPTs. In Section 1, I identify a neglected experiential reading of these adjectives. All other theories of expressions like fun take them (...)
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  3. Generics and Defaults.Francis Jeffry Pelletier Nicholas Asher - unknown
    1: Linguistic and Epistemological Background 1 . 1 : Generic Reference vs. Generic Predication 1 . 2 : Why are there any Generic Sentences at all? 1 . 3 : Generics and Exceptions, Two Bad Attitudes 1 . 4 : Exceptions and Generics, Some Other Attitudes 1 . 5 : Generics and Intensionality 1 . 6 : Goals of an Analysis of Generic Sentences 1 . 7 : A Little Notation 1 . 8 : Generics vs. Explicit Statements of Regularities..
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  4. Do Generic Descriptions Denote?John Bacon - 1973 - Mind 82 (327):331-347.
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  5. The Epistemology of Prejudice.Endre Begby - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):90-99.
    According to a common view, prejudice always involves some form of epistemic culpability, i.e., a failure to respond to evidence in the appropriate way. I argue that the common view wrongfully assumes that prejudices always involve universal generalizations. After motivating the more plausible thesis that prejudices typically involve a species of generic judgment, I show that standard examples provide no grounds for positing a strong connection between prejudice and epistemic culpability. More generally, the common view fails to recognize the extent (...)
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  6. Developmental Changes in the Understanding of Generics.Paul Bloom - 2007 - Cognition 105 (1):166-183.
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  7. Differences in Preschoolers’ and Adults’ Use of Generics About Novel Animals and Artifacts: A Window Onto a Conceptual Divide.Amanda C. Brandone & Susan A. Gelman - 2009 - Cognition 110 (1):1-22.
    Children and adults commonly produce more generic noun phrases (e.g., birds fly) about animals than artifacts. This may reflect differences in participants’ generic knowledge about specific animals/artifacts (e.g., dogs/chairs), or it may reflect a more general distinction. To test this, the current experiments asked adults and preschoolers to generate properties about novel animals and artifacts (Experiment 1: real animals/artifacts; Experiments 2 and 3: matched pairs of maximally similar, novel animals/artifacts). Data demonstrate that even without prior knowledge about these items, the (...)
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  8. Children's Developing Intuitions About the Truth Conditions and Implications of Novel Generics Versus Quantified Statements.Amanda C. Brandone, Susan A. Gelman & Jenna Hedglen - 2015 - Cognitive Science 39 (4):711-738.
    Generic statements express generalizations about categories and present a unique semantic profile that is distinct from quantified statements. This paper reports two studies examining the development of children's intuitions about the semantics of generics and how they differ from statements quantified by all, most, and some. Results reveal that, like adults, preschoolers recognize that generics have flexible truth conditions and are capable of representing a wide range of prevalence levels; and interpret novel generics as having near-universal prevalence implications. Results further (...)
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  9. 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.
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  10. Generic Terms and Generic Sentences.Greg N. Carlson - 1982 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 11 (2):145 - 181.
    Whether or not the particular view of generic sentences articulated above is correct, it is quite clear that the study of generic terms and the truth-conditions of generic sentences touches on the representation of other parts of the grammar, as well as on how the world around us is reflected in language. I would hope that the problems mentioned above will highlight the relevance of semantic analysis to other apparently distinct questions, and focus attention on the relevance of linguistic problems (...)
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  11. Generics and Atemporal When.Greg N. Carlson - 1979 - Linguistics and Philosophy 3 (1):49 - 98.
    Beginning with analyses of English generic sentences and English plural indefinite noun phrases (e.g.dogs), we proceed to apply mechanisms there motivated to a characterization of atemporalwhen, a sense ofwhen which does not appear to involve time. Dealt with are such examples as Dogs are intelligent when they have blue eyes, and their relationships to examples like Dogs that have blue eyes are intelligent. The proposed treatment of atemporalwhen helps motivate the existence of a generic verb phrase operator in English, as (...)
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  12. A Unified Analysis of the English Bare Plural.Greg N. Carlson - 1977 - Linguistics and Philosophy 1 (3):413 - 456.
    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 (...)
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  13. Generic Passages.Greg N. Carlson & Beverly Spejewski - 1997 - Natural Language Semantics 5 (2):101-165.
    This paper examines a type of discourse structure we here call ‘generic passages’. We argue that generic passages should be analyzed as sequences of generic sentences, each sentence containing its own GEN operator (Krifka et al. 1995). The GEN operators produce tripartite matrix/restrictor structures; the main discourse connection among the sentences is that the restrictor produced by each sentence in the sequence has as its contents the information in the matrix produced by the previous sentence in the discourse. We also (...)
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  14. Generics, Habituals and Iteratives.Gregory N. Carlson - 2005 - In Alex Barber (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Elsevier.
    Generics, habituals, and iteratives all have something to do with the notion of event repetition. However, iteratives expressly state repetition of events, whereas generics and habituals designate generalizations over repeated events. Though not adhered to uniformly, a ‘habitual’ sentence makes a generalization over repeated events with subject noun phrases denoting individuals or groups of individuals, whereas a ‘generic’ sentence has a subject that denotes a type of thing. Generics and habituals are distinguished from iteratives in several ways, among them that (...)
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  15. A New Look at the Problem of Rule-Following: A Generic Perspective.Kai-Yuan Cheng - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (1):1 - 21.
    The purpose of this paper is to look at the problem of rule-following—notably discussed by Kripke (Wittgenstein on rules and private language, 1982) and Wittgenstein (Philosophical investigations, 1953)—from the perspective of the study of generics. Generics are sentences that express generalizations that tolerate exceptions. I first suggest that meaning ascriptions be viewed as habitual sentences, which are a sub-set of generics. I then seek a proper semantic analysis for habitually construed meaning sentences. The quantificational approach is rejected, due to its (...)
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  16. Generic Statements Require Little Evidence for Acceptance but Have Powerful Implications.Andrei Cimpian, Amanda C. Brandone & Susan A. Gelman - 2010 - Cognitive Science 34 (8):1452-1482.
    Generic statements (e.g., “Birds lay eggs”) express generalizations about categories. In this paper, we hypothesized that there is a paradoxical asymmetry at the core of generic meaning, such that these sentences have extremely strong implications but require little evidence to be judged true. Four experiments confirmed the hypothesized asymmetry: Participants interpreted novel generics such as “Lorches have purple feathers” as referring to nearly all lorches, but they judged the same novel generics to be true given a wide range of prevalence (...)
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  17. More Than Bare Existence: An Implicature of Existential Bare Plurals.A. Cohen - 2005 - Journal of Semantics 22 (4):389-400.
    Existential bare plurals (e.g. dogs) have the same semantics as explicit existentials (e.g. a dog or some dogs) but different pragmatics. In addition to entailing the existence of a set of individuals, existential bare plurals implicate that this set is suitable for some purpose. The suitability implicature is a form of what has been variously called informativeness-based or R-based implicature. Condoravdi (1992, 1994) and others have claimed that bare plurals have a third reading (in addition to the generic and the (...)
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  18. Existential Generics.Ariel Cohen - 2004 - Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (2):137-168.
    While opinions on the semantic analysis of generics vary widely, most scholars agree that generics have a quasi-universal flavor. However, there are cases where generics receive what appears to be an existentialinterpretation. For example, B's response is true, even though only theplatypus and the echidna lay eggs: (1) A: Birds lay eggs. B: Mammals lay eggs too. In this paper I propose a uniform account of the semantics of generics,which accounts for their quasi-existential readings as well as for their more (...)
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  19. Generics and Mental Representations.Ariel Cohen - 2004 - Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (5):529-556.
    It is widely agreed that generics tolerate exceptions. It turns out, however, that exceptions are tolerated only so long as they do not violate homogeneity: when the exceptions are not concentrated in a salient “chunk” of the domain of the generic. The criterion for salience of a chunk is cognitive: it is dependent on the way in which the domain is mentally represented. Findings of psychological experiments about the ways in which different domains are represented, and the actors affecting such (...)
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  20. On the Generic Use of Indefinite Singulars.Ariel Cohen - 2001 - Journal of Semantics 18 (3):183-209.
    The distribution of indefinite singular generics is much more restricted than that of bare plural generics. The former, unlike the latter, seem to require that the property predicated of their subject be, in some sense, ‘definitional’. Moreover, the two constructions exhibit different scopal behaviour, and differ in their felicity in conjunctions, questions, and expressions describing the speaker's confidence. I propose that the reason is that the two expressions, in fact, have rather different meanings. Carlson (1995) makes a distinction between inductivist (...)
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  21. Relative Readings of Many, Often, and Generics.Ariel Cohen - 2001 - Natural Language Semantics 9 (1):41-67.
    In addition to the familiar cardinal and proportional readings of many and few, there is yet another interpretation, the relative proportional reading. This reading, unlike the ordinary absolute proportional reading, is not conservative. Under the relative reading, 'Many ψs are φs' is true just in case the proportion of φs among ψs is greater than the proportion of φs among members of contextually given alternatives to ψ. I provide a definition of proportional readings that reduces the differences between absolute and (...)
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  22. Generics, Frequency Adverbs, and Probability.Ariel Cohen - 1999 - Linguistics and Philosophy 22 (3):221-253.
    Generics and frequency statements are puzzling phenomena: they are lawlike, yet contingent. They may be true even in the absence of any supporting instances, and extending the size of their domain does not change their truth conditions. Generics and frequency statements are parametric on time, but not on possible worlds; they cannot be applied to temporary generalizations, and yet are contingent. These constructions require a regular distribution of events along the time axis. Truth judgments of generics vary considerably across speakers, (...)
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  23. Think Generic! The Meaning and Use of Generic Sentences.Ariel Cohen - 1999 - Stanford: CSLI.
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  24. Topic, Focus, and the Interpretation of Bare Plurals.Ariel Cohen & Nomi Erteschik-Shir - 2002 - Natural Language Semantics 10 (2):125-165.
    In this paper we show that focus structure determines the interpretation of bare plurals in English: topic bare plurals are interpreted generically, focused bare plurals are interpreted existentially. When bare plurals are topics they must be specific, i.e. they refer to kinds. After type-shifting they introduce variables which can be bound by the generic quantifier, yielding characterizing generics. Existentially interpreted bare plurals are not variables, but denote properties that are incorporated into the predicate.The type of predicate determines the interpretation of (...)
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  25. Genericity as a Unitary Psychological Phenomenon: An Argument From Linguistic Diversity.John Collins - 2015 - Ratio 28 (4):369-394.
    So-called ‘generics’ are members of a diverse class of constructions that express generalisations that do not directly involve any precise cardinality of individuals, but rather the kinds or ‘typical’ or ‘normal’ members of the kinds contributed by arguments of the predicate. The paper argues that genericity as a unitary phenomenon of human thought has a psychological, rather than linguistic, basis. This claim is argued for by way of a survey of the linguistic diversity of the forms of genericity, and the (...)
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  26. Bare Nominals: Non-Specific and Contrastive Readings Under Scrambling.Veneeta Dayal - 2003 - In Simin Karimi (ed.), Word Order and Scrambling. Blackwell. pp. 67--90.
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  27. Some Aspects of the Semantics of Group Expressions.Johannes Dölling - 1993 - In Werner Stelzner (ed.), Philosophie Und Logik: Frege-Kolloquien 1989 Und 1991. De Gruyter. pp. 398-406.
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  28. Generic Causation.Antony Eagle - unknown
    A generic quantification, like dogs have tails, has a distinctive semantics; it is certainly not synonymous with the universal quantification all dogs have tails. A generic causal claim, like smoking causes cancer, is similarly not synonymous with all smoking causes cancer. Many philosophers of science have taken this difference in meaning to demand radical treatments of causal generics, invoking such exotica as causation between properties or causation at ‘different levels’. A more sober treatment is possible, making use of a..
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  29. Quantificational Variability Effects with Plural Definites: Quantification Over Individuals or Situations?Cornelia Ebert & Stefan Hinterwimmer - 2010 - Journal of Semantics 27 (2):139-176.
    In this paper, we discuss the fact that not only adverbially quantified sentences with singular indefinites or bare plurals but also ones containing plural definites show Quantificational Variability Effects, that is, they receive readings according to which the quantificational force of the respective DP seems to depend on the quantificational force of the Q-adverb. We show that if the Q-adverb is a frequency adverb like usually, there is strong evidence that QVEs come about as indirect effects of a quantification over (...)
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  30. You Just Can't Tell: An Analysis of the Non-Specific Use of Indexicals.Stefano Pred Elli - 2001 - Nordic Journal of Philosophical Logic 6 (2):103-118.
    In this paper I provide a semantic analysis of non-specific uses of indexical expressions, such as "you" in typical utterances of "you just can't tell". My treatment employs independently motivated conceptual tools, such as the treatment of generics within Discourse Representation Theory, and the distinction between context of utterance and context of interpretation.
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  31. Varieties of Indefinites.Donka F. Farkas - 2002 - SALT (Semantics and Linguistic Theory) 12:59-83.
    Languages that have determiners often have a rich inventory of them. In English, indefinite determiners include a(n), some, a certain, this, one, another, cardinals, partitives, the zero determiner of bare plurals (in some analyses), and, according to Horn 1999 and Giannakidou 2001, any. Despite the attention indefinites have received in the literature, characterizing what is common to all of them and what is specific to each is still an elusive task. This paper investigates the first three determiners in this list, (...)
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  32. Review of Francis Jeffrey Pelletier (Ed.), Kinds, Things, and Stuff: Mass Terms and Generics[REVIEW]Robert Fiengo - 2010 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (4).
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  33. Economy and Scope.Danny Fox - 1995 - Natural Language Semantics 3 (3):283-341.
    This paper argues in favor of two claims: (a) that Scope Shifting Operations (Quantifier Raising and Quantifier Lowering) are restricted by economy considerations, and (b) that the relevant economy considerations compare syntactic derivations that end up interpretively identical. These ideas are shown to solve several puzzles having to do with the interaction of scope with VP ellipsis, coordination, and the interpretation of bare plurals. Further, the paper suggests a way of dealing with the otherwise puzzling clause-boundedness of Quantifier Raising.
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  34. A Cross-Linguistic Comparison of Generic Noun Phrases in English and Mandarin.Susan A. Gelman & Twila Tardif - 1998 - Cognition 66 (3):215-248.
    Generic noun phrases (e.g. 'bats live in caves') provide a window onto human concepts. They refer to categories as 'kinds rather than as sets of individuals. Although kind concepts are often assumed to be universal, generic expression varies considerably across languages. For example, marking of generics is less obligatory and overt in Mandarin than in English. How do universal conceptual biases interact with language-specific differences in how generics are conveyed? In three studies, we examined adults' generics in English and Mandarin (...)
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  35. Generics.Bart Geurts - 1985 - Journal of Semantics 4 (3):247-255.
    There is a fairly general tendency to analyse generic statements as referring to the entities that are commonly identified as “kinds”. Apart from the fact that, thus far, none of these analyses have proven to be satisfactory, there always remains the problem of explaining what a kind is. I propose, instead, to do away with kinds altogether, and to regard generics as expressing stereotypical assumptions. Although, at the moment, I have just the broad outlines of a theory to offer, this (...)
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  36. Bare Plurals as Plural Indefinite Noun Phrases.Brendan S. Gillon - 1990 - In Kyburg Henry E., Loui Ronald P. & Carlson Greg N. (eds.), Knowledge Representation and Defeasible Reasoning. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 119--166.
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  37. Aspectual Be–Type Constructions and Coercion in African American English.Lisa Green - 2000 - Natural Language Semantics 8 (1):1-25.
    This paper examines aspectual be–type constructions in African American English. These constructions receive a habitual interpretation, but they are distinguished from simple tense generics in that they are not ambiguous between generic/habitual and capacity readings. The analysis proposed to account for these constructions is one in which aspectual be neutralizes the distinction between stage- and individual-level predicates. Following Kratzer (1995), I assume that stage-level predicates have a separate event argument associated with them, but individual-level predicates do not. Aspectual be forces (...)
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  38. Exceptions to Generics: Where Vagueness, Context Dependence and Modality Interact.Yael Greenberg - 2007 - Journal of Semantics 24 (2):131-167.
    This paper deals with the exceptions-tolerance property of generic sentences with indefinite singular and bare plural subjects (IS and BP generics, respectively) and with the way this property is connected to some well-known observations about felicity differences between the two types of generics (e.g. Lawler's 1973, Madrigals are popular vs. #A madrigal is popular). I show that whereas both IS and BP generics tolerate exceptional and contextually irrelevant individuals and situations in a strikingly similar way, which indicates the existence of (...)
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  39. Ideology, Generics, and Common Ground.Sally Haslanger - 2011 - In Charlotte Witt (ed.), Feminist Metaphysics. Springer Verlag. pp. 179--207.
    Are sagging pants cool? Are cows food? Are women more submissive than men? Are blacks more criminal than whites? Taking the social world at face value, many people would be tempted to answer these questions in the affirmative. And if challenged, they can point to facts that support their answers. But there is something wrong about the affirmative answers. In this chapter, I draw on recent ideas in the philosophy of language and metaphysics to show how the assertion of a (...)
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  40. Generic Generalisations, Discourse Representation Structures, and Knowledge Representation.Gerhard Heyer - 1988 - In Jakob Hoepelman (ed.), Representation and Reasoning: Proceedings of the Stuttgart Conference Workshop on Discourse Representation, Dialogue Tableaux, and Logic Programming. M. Niemeyer Verlag.
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  41. Generics and Ways of Being Normal.Miguel Hoeltje - 2017 - Linguistics and Philosophy 40 (2):101-118.
    This paper is concerned with the semantics of bare plural I-generics such as ‘Tigers are striped’, ‘Chickens lay eggs’, and ‘Kangaroos live in Australia’. In a series of recent papers, Bernhard Nickel has developed a comprehensive view of a certain class of bare plural I-generics, which he calls characterizing sentences :629–648, 2009. doi:10.1007/s10988-008-9049-7; Linguist Philos 33:479–512, 2010a. doi:10.1007/s10988-011-9087-4; Philos Impr 10:1–25, 2010b). Nickel’s ambitious proposal includes a detailed account of their truth-conditions, an account of certain pragmatic phenomena that they give (...)
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  42. Modeling Legal Rules.Richard Holton - 2011 - In Andrei Marmor & Scott Soames (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of Language in the Law. Oxford University Press.
    Building on earlier work, this paper develops a model of legal rules that admit of exceptions but are nonetheless governed by classical logic. The account is defended against alternative accounts that construe legal rules as generics, or as default rules.
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  43. Kinds, Things and Stuff: Mass Terms and Generics.Francis Jeffry Pelletier (ed.) - 2009 - Oxford University Press USA.
    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 (...)
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  44. Concepts, Analysis, Generics and the Canberra Plan.Mark Johnston & Sarah-Jane Leslie - 2012 - Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1):113-171.
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  45. What Are Referring Expressions? How Do We Recognize Them?S. W. Jorgensen - 1998 - Pragmatics and Cognition 6 (1):99-120.
    The term 'referring expression' is often used without definition, and models of referring usually ignore the question of how NP's are recognized as referring expressions in discourse. In this paper, I review some relevant distinctions from the research in generics and, on that basis, provide a definition of referring expressions as specific and non-kind-referring noun phrases. I discuss some complications to the definition. Using Kronfeld's model of referring as my framework, I discuss the interaction of the recognition of referring expressions (...)
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  46. The Proper Treatment of Singular Terms in Ordinary English.M. B. Kac - 1997 - Mind 106 (424):661-696.
    A free logical analysis of singular terms couched in terms of the semantic theory of Keenan and Faltz is shown to avoid problems with both Frege's and Russell's treatments. At its heart is the proposal of Keenan and Faltz to reverse the usual mode-theoretic conception of individuals and properties, taking the latter as primitive and the former as derived therefrom. A simple extension of the notion 'property' is then shown to enable a parallel treatment of definite generics.
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  47. Situation Economy.Ezra Keshet - 2010 - Natural Language Semantics 18 (4):385-434.
    Researchers often assume that possible worlds and times are represented in the syntax of natural languages. However, it has been noted that such a system can overgenerate. This paper proposes a constraint on systems where worlds and times are represented as situation pronouns. The Intersective Predicate Generalization, based on and extending work by R. Musan, states that two items composed via Predicate Modification, such as a noun and an intersective modifier, must be evaluated in the same world and time. To (...)
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  48. Inferences About Members of Kinds: The Generics Hypothesis.Sangeet Khemlani, Sarah-Jane Leslie & Sam Glucksberg - 2012 - Language and Cognitive Processes 27:887-900.
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  49. Generics, Prevalence, and Default Inferences.Sangeet Khemlani, Sarah-Jane Leslie & Sam Glucksberg - 2009 - Proceedings of the Cognitive Science Society:443--8.
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  50. Do Ducks Lay Eggs? How People Interpret Generic Assertions.Sangeet Khemlani, Sarah-Jane Leslie, Sam Glucksberg & Paula Rubio-Fernandez - 2007 - Proceedings of the Cognitive Science Society.
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