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  1. added 2020-05-17
    Against Conventional Wisdom.Alexander W. Kocurek, Ethan Jerzak & Rachel Etta Rudolph - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    Conventional wisdom has it that truth is always evaluated using our actual linguistic conventions, even when considering counterfactual scenarios in which different conventions are adopted. This principle has been invoked in a number of philosophical arguments, including Kripke’s defense of the necessity of identity and Lewy’s objection to modal conventionalism. But it is false. It fails in the presence of what Einheuser (2006) calls c-monsters, or convention-shifting expressions (on analogy with Kaplan’s monsters, or context-shifting expressions). We show that c-monsters naturally (...)
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  2. added 2020-04-14
    Common Nouns as Modally Non-Rigid Restricted Variables.Peter Lasersohn - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-62.
    I argue that common nouns should be analyzed as variables, rather than as predicates which take variables as arguments. This necessitates several unusual features to the analysis, such as allowing variables to be modally non-rigid, and assigning their values compositionally. However, treating common nouns as variables offers a variety of theoretical and empirical advantages over a more traditional analysis: It predicts the conservativity of nominal quantification, simplifies the analysis of articleless languages, derives the weak reading of sentences with donkey anaphora, (...)
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  3. added 2019-08-23
    Semantic Pluralism.Emanuel Viebahn - 2019 - Frankfurt, Germany: Klostermann.
    What is the content of a sentence in context? A proposition, says the standard propositional view accepted in much of semantics. A set of propositions, says the hitherto little-explored view of Semantic Pluralism. The aim of this book is to motivate, develop and defend Semantic Pluralism. To achieve this aim, the book puts forward two arguments against Contextualism, the most popular propositional theory. It spells out two versions of Semantic Pluralism: Flexible Pluralism, which takes many expressions to be context-sensitive, and (...)
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  4. added 2019-08-12
    Binding, Compositionality, and Semantic Values.Michael Glanzberg & Jeffrey C. King - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20.
    In this paper, we defend a traditional approach to semantics, that holds that the outputs of compositional semantics are propositional, i.e. truth conditions. Though traditional, this view has been challenged on a number of fronts over the years. Since classic work of Lewis, arguments have been offered which purport to show that semantic composition requires values that are relativized, e.g. to times, or other parameters that render them no longer propositional. Focusing in recent variants of these arguments involving quantification and (...)
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  5. added 2019-07-16
    Non-Relational Intentionality.Justin D'Ambrosio - 2017 - Dissertation, Yale University
    This dissertation lays the foundation for a new theory of non-relational intentionality. The thesis is divided into an introduction and three main chapters, each of which serves as an essential part of an overarching argument. The argument yields, as its conclusion, a new account of how language and thought can exhibit intentionality intrinsically, so that representation can occur in the absence of some thing that is represented. The overarching argument has two components: first, that intentionality can be profi tably studied (...)
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  6. added 2019-04-13
    No Context, No Content, No Problem.Ethan Nowak - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Recently, philosophers have offered compelling reasons to think that demonstratives are best represented as variables, sensitive not to the context of utterance, but to a variable assignment. Variablists typically explain familiar intuitions about demonstratives—intuitions that suggest that what is said by way of a demonstrative sentence varies systematically over contexts—by claiming that contexts initialize a particular assignment of values to variables. I argue that we do not need to link context and the assignment parameter in this way, and that we (...)
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  7. added 2019-04-11
    Learnability and Semantic Universals.Shane Steinert-Threlkeld & Jakub Szymanik - forthcoming - Semantics and Pragmatics.
    One of the great successes of the application of generalized quantifiers to natural language has been the ability to formulate robust semantic universals. When such a universal is attested, the question arises as to the source of the universal. In this paper, we explore the hypothesis that many semantic universals arise because expressions satisfying the universal are easier to learn than those that do not. While the idea that learnability explains universals is not new, explicit accounts of learning that can (...)
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  8. added 2019-01-31
    Stalnaker’s Assertoric Contents.Cem Şişkolar - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-20.
    I compare Stalnaker’s early take on assertoric content with the one expressed in his recent book (2014). I discern in the latter some striking implications about the semantics of proper names and assertoric content’s relation to semantics.
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  9. added 2018-10-03
    Common Nouns as Variables: Evidence From Conservativity and the Temperature Paradox.Peter Nathan Lasersohn - 2018 - In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 21. pp. 731-746.
    Common nouns and noun phrases have usually been analyzed semantically as predicates. In quantified sentences, these predicates take variables as arguments. This paper develops and defends an analysis in which common nouns and noun phrases themselves are treated as variables, rather than as predicates taking variables as arguments. Several apparent challenges for this view will be addressed, including the modal non-rigidity of common nouns. Two major advantages to treating common nouns as variables will be presented: Such an analysis predicts that (...)
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  10. added 2018-09-06
    On Context Shifters and Compositionality in Natural Languages.Adrian Briciu - 2018 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 25 (1):2-20.
    My modest aim in this paper is to prove certain relations between some type of hyper-intensional operators, namely context shifting operators, and compositionality in natural languages. Various authors (e.g. von Fintel & Matthewson 2008; Stalnaker 2014) have argued that context-shifting operators are incompatible with compositionality. In fact, some of them understand Kaplan’s (1989) famous ban on context-shifting operators as a constraint on compositionality. Others, (e.g. Rabern 2013) take contextshifting operators to be compatible with compositionality but, unfortunately, do not provide a (...)
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  11. added 2018-08-26
    Context Update for Lambdas and Vectors.Reinhard Muskens & Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh - 2016 - In Maxime Amblard, Philippe de Groote, Sylvain Pogodalla & Christian Retoré (eds.), Logical Aspects of Computational Linguistics. Celebrating 20 Years of LACL (1996--2016). Berlin Heidelberg: Springer. pp. 247--254.
    Vector models of language are based on the contextual aspects of words and how they co-occur in text. Truth conditional models focus on the logical aspects of language, the denotations of phrases, and their compositional properties. In the latter approach the denotation of a sentence determines its truth conditions and can be taken to be a truth value, a set of possible worlds, a context change potential, or similar. In this short paper, we develop a vector semantics for language based (...)
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  12. added 2018-08-12
    Operator Arguments Revisited.Juhani Yli-Vakkuri, John Hawthorne & Peter Fritz - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (11):2933-2959.
    Certain passages in Kaplan’s ‘Demonstratives’ are often taken to show that non-vacuous sentential operators associated with a certain parameter of sentential truth require a corresponding relativism concerning assertoric contents: namely, their truth values also must vary with that parameter. Thus, for example, the non-vacuity of a temporal sentential operator ‘always’ would require some of its operands to have contents that have different truth values at different times. While making no claims about Kaplan’s intentions, we provide several reconstructions of how such (...)
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  13. added 2018-06-24
    Two Ways to Want?Ethan Jerzak - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy 116 (2):65-98.
    I present unexplored and unaccounted for uses of 'wants'. I call them advisory uses, on which information inaccessible to the desirer herself helps determine what she wants. I show that extant theories by Stalnaker, Heim, and Levinson fail to predict these uses. They also fail to predict true indicative conditionals with 'wants' in the consequent. These problems are related: intuitively valid reasoning with modus ponens on the basis of the conditionals in question results in unembedded advisory uses. I consider two (...)
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  14. added 2018-04-24
    The Science of Meaning: Essays on the Metatheory of Natural Language Semantics.Derek Ball & Brian Rabern (eds.) - 2018 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    By creating certain marks on paper, or by making certain sounds-breathing past a moving tongue-or by articulation of hands and bodies, language users can give expression to their mental lives. With language we command, assert, query, emote, insult, and inspire. Language has meaning. This fact can be quite mystifying, yet a science of linguistic meaning-semantics-has emerged at the intersection of a variety of disciplines: philosophy, linguistics, computer science, and psychology. Semantics is the study of meaning. But what exactly is "meaning"? (...)
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  15. added 2018-03-16
    The Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Language.Ernest Lepore & Barry C. Smith (eds.) - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
    The Oxford Handbooks series is a major new initiative in academic publishing. Each volume offers an authoritative and up-to-date survey of original research in a particular subject area. Specially commissioned essays from leading figures in the discipline give critical examinations of the progress and direction of debates. Oxford Handbooks provide scholars and graduate students with compelling new perspectives upon a wide range of subjects in the humanities and social sciences. Ernie Lepore and Barry Smith present the definitive reference work for (...)
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  16. added 2018-02-17
    Under Carnap’s Lamp: Flat Pre-Semantics.Nuel Belnap - 2005 - Studia Logica 80 (1):1-28.
    "Flat pre-semantics" lets each parameter of truth be considered separately and equally, and without worrying about grammatical complications. This allows one to become a little clearer on a variety of philosophical-logical points, such as the usefulness of Carnapian tolerance and the deep relativity of truth. A more definite result of thinking in terms of flat pre-semantics lies in the articulation of some instructive ways of categorizing operations on meanings in purely logical terms in relation to various parameters of truth ; (...)
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  17. added 2017-11-29
    Truth-Assessment Methodology and the Case Against the Relativist Case 1 a Gainst Contextualism About Deontic Modals.J. L. Dowell - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (3):325-357.
    Recent challenges to Kratzer’s canonical contextualist semantics for modal expressions are united by a shared methodological practice: Each requires the assessment of the truth or warrant of a sentence in a scenario. The default evidential status accorded these judgments is a constraining one: It is assumed that, to be plausible, a semantic hypothesis must vindicate the reported judgments. Fully assessing the extent to which these cases do generate data that puts pressure on the canonical semantics, then, requires an understanding of (...)
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  18. added 2017-06-12
    Disagreement and Attitudinal Relativism.Jack Spencer - 2016 - Mind 125 (498):511-539.
    Jacob Ross and Mark Schroeder argue that invariantist accounts of disagreement are incompatible with the phenomenon of reversibility. In this essay I develop a non-standard theory of propositional attitudes, which I call attitudinal relativism. Using the resources of attitudinal relativism, I articulate an invariantist account of disagreement that is compatible with reversibility.
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  19. added 2017-06-02
    Reviving the Parameter Revolution in Semantics.Bryan Pickel, Brian Rabern & Josh Dever - 2018 - In Derek Ball & Brian Rabern (eds.), The Science of Meaning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 138-171.
    Montague and Kaplan began a revolution in semantics, which promised to explain how a univocal expression could make distinct truth-conditional contributions in its various occurrences. The idea was to treat context as a parameter at which a sentence is semantically evaluated. But the revolution has stalled. One salient problem comes from recurring demonstratives: "He is tall and he is not tall". For the sentence to be true at a context, each occurrence of the demonstrative must make a different truth-conditional contribution. (...)
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  20. added 2017-04-07
    Monsters and the Theoretical Role of Context.Brian Rabern & Derek Ball - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (2):392-416.
    Kaplan (1989) famously claimed that monsters--operators that shift the context--do not exist in English and "could not be added to it". Several recent theorists have pointed out a range of data that seem to refute Kaplan's claim, but others (most explicitly Stalnaker 2014) have offered a principled argument that monsters are impossible. This paper interprets and resolves the dispute. Contra appearances, this is no dry, technical matter: it cuts to the heart of a deep disagreement about the fundamental structure of (...)
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  21. added 2017-03-28
    Impossibility and Impossible Worlds.Daniel Nolan - forthcoming - In Otavio Bueno & Scott Shalkowski (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Modality. New York, USA: Routledge Press.
  22. added 2017-03-24
    Counterfactual Attitudes and the Relational Analysis.Kyle Blumberg - 2018 - Mind 127 (506):521-546.
    In this paper, I raise a problem for standard precisifications of the Relational Analysis of attitude reports. The problem I raise involves counterfactual attitude verbs. such as ‘wish’. In short, the trouble is this: there are true attitude reports ‘ S wishes that P ’ but there is no suitable referent for the term ‘that P ’. The problematic reports illustrate that the content of a subject’s wish is intimately related to the content of their beliefs. I capture this fact (...)
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  23. added 2017-03-19
    Content and Composition. An Essay on Tense, Content and Semantic Value.Sara Packalén - 2016 - Dissertation, Stockholm University
    A remarkable thing about natural language is that we can use it to share our beliefs and thoughts about the world with other speakers of our language. In cases of successful communication, beliefs seem to be transferred from speakers to hearers by means of the hearer recovering the contents of the speaker’s utterances. This is so natural to us that we take it for granted in our everyday life, and rarely stop to think about how it's is possible. Nevertheless, it's (...)
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  24. added 2016-10-12
    Index, Context, and the Content of Knowledge.Brian Rabern - 2017 - In Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Contextualism. Routledge. pp. 465-479.
    The verb 'knows' is often taken to be context-sensitive in an interesting way. What 'knows' means seems to be sensitive to the epistemic features of the context, e.g. the epistemic standard in play, the set of relevant alternatives, etc. There are standard model-theoretic semantic frameworks which deal with both intensional operators and context-sensitive expressions. In this chapter, we provide a brief overview of the various moving parts of these frameworks, the roles of context and index, the need for double indexing, (...)
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  25. added 2016-09-30
    The Antinomy of the Variable: A Tarskian Resolution.Bryan Pickel & Brian Rabern - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy 113 (3):137-170.
    Kit Fine has reawakened a puzzle about variables with a long history in analytic philosophy, labeling it “the antinomy of the variable”. Fine suggests that the antinomy demands a reconceptualization of the role of variables in mathematics, natural language semantics, and first-order logic. The difficulty arises because: (i) the variables ‘x’ and ‘y’ cannot be synonymous, since they make different contributions when they jointly occur within a sentence, but (ii) there is a strong temptation to say that distinct variables ‘x’ (...)
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  26. added 2016-01-22
    Prototypes as Compositional Components of Concepts.Guillermo Del Pinal - 2016 - Synthese 193 (9):2899–2927.
    The aim of this paper is to reconcile two claims that have long been thought to be incompatible: that we compositionally determine the meaning of complex expressions from the meaning of their parts, and that prototypes are components of the meaning of lexical terms such as fish, red, and gun. Hypotheses and are independently plausible, but most researchers think that reconciling them is a difficult, if not hopeless task. In particular, most linguists and philosophers agree that is not negotiable; so (...)
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  27. added 2015-10-02
    Expereincer Phrases, Predicates of Personal Taste and Relativism: On Cappelen and Hawthorne's Critique of the Operator Argument.Dan Zeman - 2013 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy (39):375-398.
    In the debate between relativism and contextualism about various expressions, the Operator Argument, initially proposed by Kaplan , has been taken to support relativism. However, one widespread reaction against the argument has taken the form of arguing against one assumption made by Kaplan: namely, that certain natural language expressions are best treated as sentential operators. Focusing on the only extant version of the Operator Argument proposed in connection to predicates of personal taste such as “tasty” and experiencer phrases such as (...)
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  28. added 2015-09-28
    Relativism and Bound Predicates of Personal Taste: An Answer to Schaffer's Argument From Binding.Dan Zeman - 2015 - Dialectica 69 (2):155-183.
    In this paper I put forward and substantiate a possible defensive move on behalf of the relativist about predicates of personal taste that can be used to block a recent contextualist argument raised against the view: the ‘argument from binding’ proposed in Schaffer (). The move consists in adopting Recanati's “variadic functions” apparatus and applying it to predicates of personal taste like ‘tasty’ and experiencer phrases like ‘for John’. I substantiate the account in a basic relativistic framework and reply to (...)
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  29. added 2015-09-13
    Obligation and Aspect.Benj Hellie - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (4):398-449.
    ‘Fred must open the door’ concerns Fred’s obligations. This obligative meaning is turned off by adding aspect: ‘Fred must have opened/be opening/have been opening the door’ are one and all epistemic. Why? In a nutshell: obligative ’must’ operates on procedural contents of imperative sentences, epistemic ‘must’ on propositional contents of declarative sentences; and adding aspect converts procedural into propositional content.
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  30. added 2015-08-26
    Quantifier Particles and Compositionality.Anna Szabolcsi - 2013 - Proceedings of the 19th Amsterdam Colloquium.
    In many languages, the same particles build quantifier words and serve as connectives, additive and scalar particles, question markers, existential verbs, and so on. Do the roles of each particle form a natural class with a stable semantics? Are the particles aided by additional elements, overt or covert, in fulfilling their varied roles? I propose a unified analysis, according to which the particles impose partial ordering requirements (glb and lub) on the interpretations of their hosts and the immediate larger contexts, (...)
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  31. added 2015-08-18
    The History of the Use of ⟦.⟧-Notation in Natural Language Semantics.Brian Rabern - 2016 - Semantics and Pragmatics 9 (12).
    In contemporary natural languages semantics one will often see the use of special brackets to enclose a linguistic expression, e.g. ⟦carrot⟧. These brackets---so-called denotation brackets or semantic evaluation brackets---stand for a function that maps a linguistic expression to its "denotation" or semantic value (perhaps relative to a model or other parameters). Even though this notation has been used in one form or another since the early development of natural language semantics in the 1960s and 1970s, Montague himself didn't make use (...)
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  32. added 2015-03-23
    Frege's Contribution to Philosophy of Language.Richard Heck & Robert May - 2006 - In Barry C. Smith & Ernest Lepore (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press. pp. 3-39.
    An investigation of Frege’s various contributions to the study of language, focusing on three of his most famous doctrines: that concepts are unsaturated, that sentences refer to truth-values, and that sense must be distinguished from reference.
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  33. added 2014-05-09
    The Green Leaves and the Expert: Polysemy and Truth-Conditional Variability.Agustin Vicente - 2015 - Lingua 157:54-65.
    Polysemy seems to be a relatively neglected phenomenon within philosophy of language as well as in many quarters in linguistic semantics. Not all variations in a word’s contribution to truth-conditional contents are to be thought as expressions of the phenomenon of polysemy, but it can be argued that many are. Polysemous terms are said to contribute senses or aspects to truth-conditional contents. In this paper, I will make use of the notion of aspect to argue that some apparently wild variations (...)
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  34. added 2014-04-30
    The Semantics of Contextual Shifting and Sensitivity.Brian Rabern - 2012 - Dissertation, The Australian National University
    This thesis argues for two main points concerning the philosophy of natural language semantics. Firstly, that the objects of assertion are distinct from the entities appealed to in the compositional rules of natural language semantics. Secondly, natural languages contain context-shifting operators known as "monsters". In fact, it will be shown that these theses are simply two sides of the same coin.
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  35. added 2014-04-02
    Conditionals, Indeterminacy, and Triviality.Justin Khoo - 2013 - Philosophical Perspectives 27 (1):260-287.
    This paper discusses and relates two puzzles for indicative conditionals: a puzzle about indeterminacy and a puzzle about triviality. Both puzzles arise because of Ramsey's Observation, which states that the probability of a conditional is equal to the conditional probability of its consequent given its antecedent. The puzzle of indeterminacy is the problem of reconciling this fact about conditionals with the fact that they seem to lack truth values at worlds where their antecedents are false. The puzzle of triviality is (...)
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  36. added 2014-04-02
    Open Transcendentalism and the Normative Character of Methodology.H. G. Callaway - 1993 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 43:1-24.
    This paper examines normative elements in Henri Lauener’s “open transcendentalism,” with an eye to evaluate distinctive theses. After setting out some of Lauener’s basic positions in this area, in comparison with related views in Quine’s work, I argue that the views surveyed converge on a normative and contextualist cognitivism in Lauener’s methodological and epistemological perspective. Though he resists similar conclusion in the name of anti-naturalism, I argue that his “open transcendentalism” is plausibly construed as a non reductive naturalism.
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  37. added 2014-03-17
    Propositional Skeletons and Disquotational Reports.Herman Cappelen - 2007 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 107 (1pt2):207-227.
    One of the three central issues in Lloyd Humberstone's ‘Sufficiency and Excess’ is what he calls ‘the Complete Thought Issue’ (CTI, for short). This is the question of whether some declarative sentences have proposition radicals, rather than full-blown propositions, as their semantic values. My focus in this reply is exclusively on Humberstone's comments about CTI and on CTI more generally. The goal of Humberstone's discussion of CTI is to defend ‘[Kent] Bach's claim against Cappelen and Lepore's attacks’ (Humberstone, 2006, p. (...)
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  38. added 2013-11-17
    A Closer Look at Manifest Consequence.Max Weiss - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (2-3):471-498.
    Fine (2007) argues that Frege’s puzzle and its relatives demonstrate a need for a basic reorientation of the field of semantics. According to this reorientation, the domain of semantic facts would be closed not under the classical consequence relation but only under a stronger relation Fine calls “manifest consequence.” I examine Fine’s informally sketched analyses of manifest consequence, showing that each can be amended to determine a class of strong consequence relations. A best candidate relation emerges from each of the (...)
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  39. added 2013-03-26
    Sentences, Names and Semantic Values.Ian Rumfitt - 1996 - Philosophical Quarterly 46 (182):66-72.
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  40. added 2013-03-26
    Must or Might.Josh Dever - unknown
    Sententialism: An adequate semantic theory for a language assigns semantic values to complex expressions (typically on the basis of the semantic values of the syntactic parts of those complex expressions), with the assignment process culminating in the assignment of appropriate semantic values (typically propositions or truth conditions) to entire sentences. Sententialism is so-called because it takes the task of semantic theory proper to be exhausted once semantic values have been assigned to full sentences. Beyond the sentence may lay further linguistic (...)
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  41. added 2012-08-29
    A Constructive Type-Theoretical Formalism for the Interpretation of Subatomically Sensitive Natural Language Constructions.Bartosz Więckowski - 2012 - Studia Logica 100 (4):815-853.
    The analysis of atomic sentences and their subatomic components poses a special problem for proof-theoretic approaches to natural language semantics, as it is far from clear how their semantics could be explained by means of proofs rather than denotations. The paper develops a proof-theoretic semantics for a fragment of English within a type-theoretical formalism that combines subatomic systems for natural deduction [20] with constructive (or Martin-Löf) type theory [8, 9] by stating rules for the formation, introduction, elimination and equality of (...)
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  42. added 2012-03-20
    Propositions and Multiple Indexing.Brian Rabern - 2012 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (2):116-124.
    It is argued that propositions cannot be the compositional semantic values of sentences (in context) simply due to issues stemming from the compositional semantics of modal operators (or modal quantifiers). In particular, the fact that the arguments for double indexing generalize to multiple indexing exposes a fundamental tension in the default philosophical conception of semantic theory. This provides further motivation for making a distinction between two sentential semantic contents—what (Dummett 1973) called “ingredient sense” and “assertoric content”.
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  43. added 2011-02-20
    On What There Is.W. V. Quine - 1953 - In From a Logical Point of View. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. pp. 1-19.
  44. added 2010-10-24
    Fregean Connection: Bedeutung, Value and Truth-Value.Gottfried Gabriel - 1984 - Philosophical Quarterly 34 (136):372-376.
    It is shown how frege's problematic connection between truth-Value and "bedeutung" (of a sentence) becomes more plausible when set against the background of german language and philosophy, Especially by comparing frege's position with the value-Theoretical school of neo-Kantianism (w windelband).
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