Philosophy of Language

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  1. Finding the force: How children discern possibility and necessity modals.Anouk Dieuleveut, Annemarie van Dooren, Ailís Cournane & Valentine Hacquard - forthcoming - Natural Language Semantics:1-42.
    This paper investigates when and how children figure out the force of modals: that possibility modals express possibility, and necessity modals express necessity. Modals raise a classic subset problem: given that necessity entails possibility, what prevents learners from hypothesizing possibility meanings for necessity modals? Three solutions to such subset problems can be found in the literature: the first is for learners to rely on downward-entailing environments :185–215, 2009); the second is a bias for strong meanings; the third is for learners (...)
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  2. Faultless disagreement without contradiction: expressive-relativism and predicates of personal taste.Justina Berškytė & Graham Stevens - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-34.
    In this paper we motivate and develop a new approach to predicates of personal taste within the framework of semantic relativism. Our primary goal is to explain faultless disagreement—the phenomenon where two parties disagree, yet both have uttered something true—which is often thought to arise from the use of predicates of personal taste. We combine semantic relativism with an expressivist semantics to yield a novel hybrid theory which we call Expressive-Relativism. We motivate the theory by rehearsing a famous objection to (...)
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  3. Additive free choice items.Anamaria Fălăuş & Andreea C. Nicolae - 2022 - Natural Language Semantics 30 (2):185-214.
    In this paper, we aim to account for the distribution and interpretation of a novel class of free choice items in Romanian, which we refer to as additive free choice items. We show that the internal composition of ADD-FCIs, as well as their distribution, differs from that attested for other free choice paradigms discussed in the literature. Morphologically, ADD-FCIs are a more complex variant of regular universal FCIs, by virtue of an additional morpheme. This morpheme plays an additive role when (...)
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  4. Enough clauses, (non)finiteness, and modality.Thomas Grano - 2022 - Natural Language Semantics 30 (2):115-153.
    Infinitives are known to encode covert modality in certain environments including infinitival relatives and questions. Beyond these environments, however, the precise distribution and interpretation of infinitival modality remains poorly understood. In that light, this paper investigates infinitive-embedding enough/too sentences like Pat is tall enough to be the thief or Lee is too old to drive. These sentences have a modal semantics whose compositional source is contested: on one approach, the infinitive encodes the modality, and on another approach, the enough/too morpheme (...)
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  5. Time and evidence in the graded tense system of Mvskoke.Kimberly Johnson - 2022 - Natural Language Semantics 30 (2):155-183.
    In recent years, much attention has been given to the puzzling relationship between tense and evidence type found in languages where a single morpheme appears to encode both reference to time and to the evidential source for the assertion. In natural language, tense has long been understood as serving to locate the time at which the proposition expressed by the sentence holds. The two main theories of evidentials both agree that these morphemes serve to identify the type of evidence the (...)
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  6. Zero N: Number features and ⊥.Luisa Martí - 2022 - Natural Language Semantics 30 (2):215-237.
    In this paper I demonstrate that there is an explanation of the number marking we see on nouns when they combine with the numeral zero which combines Martí’s account of the morphosyntax and semantics of the numeral-noun construction with Bylinina and Nouwen’s :98, 2018) semantics for zero and which does not need to appeal to any further principles.
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  7. How to theorize about subjective language: a lesson from ‘de re’.Pranav Anand & Natasha Korotkova - 2022 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (3):619-681.
    Subjective language has attracted substantial attention in the recent literature in formal semantics and philosophy of language Subjective meaning: alternatives to relativism, De Gruyter, Berlin, pp 1–19, 2016; Lasersohn in Subjectivity and perspective in truth-theoretic semantics, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2017; Vardomskaya in Sources of subjectivity, Ph.D. thesis, University of Chicago, IL, 2018; Zakkou in Faultless disagreement: a defense of contextualism in the realm of personal taste, Vittorio Klostermann, Frankfurt a. M., 2019b). Most current theories argue that Subjective Predicates, which (...)
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  8. Descriptions, pronouns, and uniqueness.Karen S. Lewis - 2022 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (3):559-617.
    Both definite descriptions and pronouns are often anaphoric; that is, part of their interpretation in context depends on prior linguistic material in the discourse. For example: A student walked in. The student sat down. A student walked in. She sat down. One popular view of anaphoric pronouns, the d-type view, is that pronouns like ‘she’ go proxy for definite descriptions like ‘the student who walked in’, which are in turn treated in a classical Russellian or Fregean fashion. I argue for (...)
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  9. Ignorance implicatures of modified numerals.Alexandre Cremers, Liz Coppock, Jakub Dotlačil & Floris Roelofsen - 2022 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (3):683-740.
    Modified numerals, such as at least three and more than five, are known to sometimes give rise to ignorance inferences. However, there is disagreement in the literature regarding the nature of these inferences, their context dependence, and differences between at least and more than. We present a series of experiments which sheds new light on these issues. Our results show that the ignorance inferences of at least are more robust than those of more than, the presence and strength of the (...)
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  10. Dependent plurals and three levels of multiplicity.Serge Minor - 2022 - Linguistics and Philosophy 45 (3):431-509.
    The paper focuses on the semantics of distributivity, grammatical number, and cardinality predicates. I argue that constructions involving so-called ‘dependent plurals’, i.e. plurals lacking cardinality predicates occurring in the scope of certain quantificational items such as all and most, pose a challenge to familiar semantic frameworks that distinguish between two sources of multiplicity: mereological plurality and distributive quantification. I argue that dependent plural readings should be analysed as distinct both from cumulative readings and distributive readings, in the classical sense. I (...)
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  11. Which Method(s) for Conceptual Engineering?Manuel Gustavo Isaac, Belleri Delia, Brun Georg, Decock Lieven, Koch Steffen, Pollock Joey & Reuter Kevin - forthcoming - In Hanne Andersen, Benedikt Löwe, Hasok Chang & Tomas Marvan (eds.), Proceedings of the Congress for Logic, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science and Technology 2019. London: College Publications.
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  12. Astronomy, Geometry, and Logic, Rev. 1c: An Ontological Proof of the Natural Principles That Enable and Sustain Reality and Mathematics.Michael Lucas Monterey & Michael Lucas-Monterey - manuscript
    The latest draft (posted 05/14/22) of this short, concise work of proof, theory, and metatheory provides summary meta-proofs and verification of the work and results presented in the Theory and Metatheory of Atemporal Primacy and Riemann, Metatheory, and Proof. In this version, several new and revised definitions of terms were added to subsection SS.1; and many corrected equations, theorems, metatheorems, proofs, and explanations are included in the main text. The body of the text is approximately 18 pages, with 3 sections; (...)
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  13. Indirectly direct: An account of demonstratives and pointing.Dorothy Ahn - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-49.
    There has been a long debate on whether demonstratives are directly referential as Kaplan originally argued, or indirectly referential like a definite description. I propose a new analysis of demonstratives that combines intuitions from both direct and indirect approaches. The demonstrative is analyzed as an indirectly referential expression with a binary maximality operator that takes two arguments, where the second argument can be a deictic pointing, an anaphoric index, or a relative clause. Direct reference is encoded not in the meaning (...)
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  14. Familiarity inferences, subjective attitudes and counterstance contingency: towards a pragmatic theory of subjective meaning.Christopher Kennedy & Malte Willer - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-51.
    Subjective predicates have two interpretive and distributional characteristics that have resisted a comprehensive analysis. First, the use of a subjective predicate to describe an object is in general felicitous only when the speaker has a particular kind of familiarity with relevant features of the object; characterizing an object as tasty, for example, implies that the speaker has experience of its taste. Second, subjective predicates differ from objective predicates in their distribution under certain types of propositional attitude verbs. The goal of (...)
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  15. Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Extension in Science.Sandy C. Boucher - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    I argue that the Conceptual Ethics and Conceptual Engineering framework, in its pragmatist version as recently defended by Thomasson, provides a means of articulating and defending the conventionalist interpretation of projects of conceptual extension (e.g. the extended mind, the extended phenotype) in biology and psychology. This promises to be illuminating in both directions: it helps to make sense of, and provides an explicit methodology for, pragmatic conceptual extension in science, while offering further evidence for the value and fruitfulness of the (...)
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  16. A Computational Approach to Linguistic Knowledge.Ian Gold & Sandy C. Boucher - 2002 - Language and Communication 1 (22):211-229.
    The rejection of behaviorism in the 1950s and 1960s led to the view, due mainly to Noam Chomsky, that language must be studied by looking at the mind and not just at behavior. It is an understatement to say that Chomskyan linguistics dominates the field. Despite being the overwhelming majority view, it has not gone unchallenged, and the challenges have focused on different aspects of the theory. What is almost universally accepted, however, is Chomsky’s view that understanding language demands a (...)
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  17. Polymorphic distributivity.Dylan Bumford - forthcoming - Natural Language Semantics:1-30.
    This article describes a novel pattern of interpretations associated with universal determiners like ‘each’ and ‘every’. It is demonstrated that these canonically distributive quantifiers can give rise to surprising collective readings when they quantify into sub-clausal constituents, especially other Determiner Phrases. For instance, ‘two cards from each player’ can be understood to pick out a single assorted deck of cards, one whose contents co-vary with the players. Yet this deck as a whole may be said to participate in a range (...)
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  18. Groups, sets, and paradox.Eric Snyder & Stewart Shapiro - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-37.
    Perhaps the most pressing challenge for singularism—the predominant view that definite plurals like ‘the students’ singularly refer to a collective entity, such as a mereological sum or set—is that it threatens paradox. Indeed, this serves as a primary motivation for pluralism—the opposing view that definite plurals refer to multiple individuals simultaneously through the primitive relation of plural reference. Groups represent one domain in which this threat is immediate. After all, groups resemble sets in having a kind of membership-relation and iterating: (...)
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  19. Challenges for independence-driven and context-repair responses to the proviso problem.Alex Silk - forthcoming - Natural Language Semantics:1-15.
    This note presents challenge cases for prominent pragmatic responses to the proviso problem. I offer examples of uses of conditionals if \ that seem to commit the speaker unconditionally to the presupposition P of the consequent clause ϕ, even though the sentence’s predicted semantic presupposition ψ⊃P is antecedently satisfied, and independence between ψ and P isn’t antecedently assumed. The examples provided avoid problems with other examples from the literature used against pragmatic accounts. I leave the matter as an unresolved challenge (...)
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  20. The Occamization of 'Meaning': Ryle and Brentano.Arnaud Dewalque - 2021 - Logique & Analyse 256:511-532.
    To Occamize a nominal expression N is to show that, despite grammatical appearances, N does not name, or denote, an entity. This article argues that the Occamization of ‘meaning,’ which was central to Gilbert Ryle’s meta-philosophy, had already been advanced by Franz Brentano. The core thesis of the article is that Brentano’s notion of ‘content,’ albeit different from that of linguistic rules, does a similar job of eliminating expendable entities. If the meaning of a linguistic expression is not an entity (...)
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  21. La nozione di “mente estesa” tra scienze cognitive, semiotica e pragmatismo. Alcune riflessioni a partire dal tema del linguaggio.Marta Caravà - 2015 - Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio 2 (Special Issue):139-151.
    In this paper, I will investigate the notion of mind within the “Extended Mind” theory, as it is defended by Andy Clark. The aim is to provide an explanation of its key ideas and to highlight some of its consequences. In the first part I will briefly explain the main features of Clark's theory. In the second part, I will discuss his account of the nature of language and its relationship to cognition, and I will relate it with the arguments (...)
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  22. A note on the gifted mathematician that you claim to be.Alexander Grosu & Manfred Krifka - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-7.
    The paper is a reply to Bassi and Rasin on the treatment of sentences like [The gifted mathematician that you claim to be] should have solved this task without problems by Grosu and Krifka, which was published in Linguistics and Philosophy. Grosu and Krifka provide an analysis of the de dicto interpretation in which the bracketed expression refers to an individual concept. Bassi and Rasin question this because equivalent expressions in Hebrew, in which the gap is rendered by a resumptive (...)
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  23. Una clarificación conceptual de la teoría de las descripciones definidas de Bertrand Russell.Alejandro Villamor-Iglesias - 2022 - Revista de Filosofía 39.
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  24. Domain restriction: the problem of the variable location revisited.Diego Feinmann - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-30.
    Two theories of implicit domain restriction have gained considerable prominence over the last two decades. According to von Fintel, quantifiers come with covert restrictors and, as a result of this, induce domain restriction; according to Stanley [in Gerhard and Peter Logical form and language, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2002; Stanley and Szabó :2192–2161, 2000)], by contrast, nouns, as opposed to quantifiers, come with covert restrictors. In this article, I do three things. First, I assess the arguments that have been given for (...)
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  25. Is a Spectrum of a Non-Disintegrated Flat Strongly Minimal Model Complete Theory in a Language with Finite Signature.Uri Andrews & Omer Mermelstein - 2021 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 86 (4):1632-1656.
    We build a new spectrum of recursive models (SRM(T)) of a strongly minimal theory. This theory is non-disintegrated, flat, model complete, and in a language with a finite structure.
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  26. Factive islands and questions about propositions.Matías Verdecchia - 2022 - Natural Language Semantics 30 (1):101-113.
    In this squib, I evaluate the contradiction analysis :257–321, 2011, in Weak island semantics, 2014) and the necessary infelicity analysis, New frontiers in artificial intelligence, 2007; Schwarz and Simonenko in Natural Language Semantics 26:253–279, 2018b) of factive islands in light of a pattern that has not been previously discussed in the literature: questions about propositions. I argue that while the necessary infelicity approach can straightforwardly explain the acceptability of this kind of question, the contradiction account undergenerates, since it wrongly predicts (...)
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  27. Number in NPI licensing.Luka Crnič - 2022 - Natural Language Semantics 30 (1):1-46.
    The acceptability of any-DPs in existential modal sentences presents a challenge for theories of NPI licensing: existential modal sentences appear to differ substantially from other environments in which any-DPs are acceptable. One approach to this challenge has been to, first, take any-DPs to be subject to an environment-based downward-entailingness condition—they have to occur in an environment that is Strawson downward-entailing with respect to their domain —and, second, to derive such an environment in existential modal sentences by means of exhaustification. This (...)
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  28. Scope splitting in Syrian Arabic.Peter Hallman - 2022 - Natural Language Semantics 30 (1):47-76.
    Sentences like Mary needs to make the fewest mistakes on the upcoming test have a ‘split scope’ reading roughly paraphrasable as ‘Mary exceeds all others in terms of how many mistakes she must not make’; that is, her situation is the most precarious. The structural approach to this phenomenon attributes to such sentences a logical form resembling this paraphrase, in which the superlative component of the meaning of fewest scopes above the modal need to and the negative component scopes below (...)
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  29. Back to the Golden Age: Saul Kripke's Naming and Necessity and Twenty‐First Century Philosophy.Andrea Bianchi - 2022 - Theoria 88 (2):278-295.
    In this paper, I try to outline what I take to be Naming and Necessity’s fundamental legacy to my generation and those that follow, and the new perspectives it has opened up for twenty-first century philosophy. The discussion is subdivided into three sections, concerning respectively philosophy of language, metaphysics, and metaphilosophy. The general unifying theme is that Naming and Necessity is helping philosophy to recover a Golden Age, by freeing it from the strictures coming from the empiricist and Kantian traditions (...)
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  30. Transparent quantification into hyperpropositional attitudes de dicto.Bjørn Jespersen & Marie Duží - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-46.
    We prove how to validly quantify into hyperpropositional contexts de dicto in Transparent Intensional Logic. Hyperpropositions are sentential meanings and attitude complements individuated more finely than up to logical equivalence. A hyperpropositional context de dicto is a context in which only co-hyperintensional propositions can be validly substituted. A de dicto attitude ascription is one that preserves the attributee’s perspective when one complement is substituted for another. Being an extensional logic of hyperintensions, Transparent Intensional Logic validates all the rules of extensional (...)
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  31. Thought Experiments, Semantic Intuitions and the Overlooked Interpretative Procedure.Krzysztof Sękowski - forthcoming - Episteme:1-18.
    In the paper I introduce and discuss the interpretative procedure; a stage of thought experiments’ investigation in which it is determined which states of affairs are genuine realizations of the described story. I show how incorporating the interpretative procedure to the reconstruction a certain kind of thought experiments, i.e. the method of cases, provides a solution to the so-called problem of deviant realizations. According to this problem it is hard to formulate the logical structure of the method of cases that (...)
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  32. Bilgi Kirliliği ve Bireysel Sorumluluk: Salgın Deneyimimiz.Alper Yavuz - 2020 - MSGSÜ Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi 2 (22):203-217.
    Özet: Bilgi kirliliği eski bir sorun olsa da sosyal medya ve Internet tabanlı mesajlaşma uygulamalarının yaygınlaşmasıyla daha sık gündeme gelmeye başladı. Salgın hastalık gibi kriz dönemlerinde kirli bilginin etkinliğinin tehlikeli olabilecek boyutta arttığı görüldü. Bu yazıda bilgi kirliliği sorununu felsefi açıdan inceleyeceğim. Bilgi kirliliğinin ne olduğu sorusunu tartıştıktan sonra bilgi kirliliğinin üç türü arasındaki ayrımları ele alacağım. Son olarak bilgi kaynağı ve bilgi aktarıcısı olarak bir öznenin sorumluluklarının neler olduğu konusunu inceleyeceğim. Tartışmanın pratik sonuçlarını salgın hastalık konusuyla bağlantılı örnekler seçerek (...)
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    Phil of Linguistics
     Syntax
     Semantics
     Other Areas of Linguistics
     Methodology of Linguistics
     Phil of Linguistics, Miscellaneous
    Language Production and Comprehension
     Knowledge of Language
     Language Acquisition
     Language Understanding
     Linguistic Perception
     Language Production
     Natural Language Processing
     Psycholinguistics
     Speech and Language Disorders
     Language Production and Comprehension, Misc
    Languages
     Linguistic Convention
     Idiolects
     Knowledge of Language
     Languages, Misc
     Linguistic Universals
     Private Language
     Public Language
     Sign Language
     Words
    Language and Society
     Freedom of Speech
     Law and Language
     Propaganda
     Slurs
     Sociolinguistics
     Language and Society, Misc
    Meaning
     The Basis of Meaning
     Aspects of Meaning
     Analyticity
     Interpretation
     Propositions
     Translation
     Semantic Phenomena
     Fregean Theories of Meaning
     Russellian and Direct Reference Theories of Meaning
     Semantic Theories
     Intentionality
     Meaning, Misc
    Reference
     Theories of Reference
     Aspects of Reference
     Reference, Misc
    Phil of Language, Miscellaneous
     Evolution of Language
     Feminist Phil of Language
     Law and Language
     The Role of Language in Thought
     Use and Mention
     Phil of Language, General Works
     Phil of Language, Misc
    Pragmatics
     Assertion