|Summary||Philosophers and linguists reflect in a variety of ways on the natures of words. One range of issues here concern the metaphysics of words: are words concrete items in the world, kinds of items, or elements of some other category? What are the principles for counting words? Are there ambiguous words, or are there, for example, a variety of words each spelled "bank"? Are words basic, or are they built from more basic elements, like morphemes, features, or letters? Connected with the last question, philosophers and linguists have discussed issues about the internal semantic structure of words, a version of the question whether words are definable. Sometimes this issue is pursued via the question, are there building blocks for words that can only be combined in a limited range of ways and thus make it impossible for there to be certain words, at least in normal human languages?|
|Key works||Kaplan 1990 David Kaplan's important early discussion of the metaphysics of words. Kaplan 2011 Further, more recent discussion by Kaplan, responding to the following two pieces. Hawthorne & Lepore 2011 Important recent discussion of the metaphysics of words. Bromberger 2011 Another useful discussion of the metaphysics of words. Wetzel 2002 Useful discussion of the metaphysics of words and types more generally. Pinker manuscript Useful overview of work on the nature of words within theoretical linguistics.|
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David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
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Darrell P. Rowbottom
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