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Focus: A case study on the semantics–pragmatics boundary

In Zoltan Gendler Szabo (ed.), Semantics Versus Pragmatics. Oxford University Press. pp. 72--110 (2005)

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  1. Information Centrism and the Nature of Contexts.Torfinn Thomesen Huvenes & Andreas Stokke - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (2):301-314.
    Information Centrism is the view that contexts consist of information that can be characterized in terms of the propositional attitudes of the conversational participants. Furthermore, it claims that this notion of context is the only one needed for linguistic theorizing about context-sensitive languages. We argue that Information Centrism is false, since it cannot account correctly for facts about truth and reference in certain cases involving indexicals and demonstratives. Consequently, contexts cannot be construed simply as collections of shared information.
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  • Embedding Epistemic Modals.Cian Dorr & John Hawthorne - 2013 - Mind 122 (488):867-914.
    Seth Yalcin has pointed out some puzzling facts about the behaviour of epistemic modals in certain embedded contexts. For example, conditionals that begin ‘If it is raining and it might not be raining, … ’ sound unacceptable, unlike conditionals that begin ‘If it is raining and I don’t know it, … ’. These facts pose a prima facie problem for an orthodox treatment of epistemic modals as expressing propositions about the knowledge of some contextually specified individual or group. This paper (...)
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  • A Defense of Causal Invariantism.Martin Montminy & Andrew Russo - 2015 - Analytic Philosophy (4):1-27.
    Causal contextualism holds that sentences of the form ‘c causes e’ have context-sensitive truth-conditions. We consider four arguments invoked by Jonathan Schaffer in favor of this view. First, he argues that his brand of contextualism helps solve puzzles about transitivity. Second, he contends that how one describes the relata of the causal relation sometimes affects the truth of one’s claim. Third, Schaffer invokes the phenomenon of contrastive focus to conclude that causal statements implicitly designate salient alternatives to the cause and (...)
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  • Frege’s Recognition Criterion for Thoughts and its Problems.Mark Textor - 2018 - Synthese 195 (6):2677-2696.
    According to Frege, we need a criterion for recognising when different sentences express the same thought to make progress in logic. He himself hedged his own equipollence criterion with a number of provisos. In the literature on Frege, little attention has been paid to the problems these provisos raise. In this paper, I will argue that Fregeans have ignored these provisos at their peril. For without these provisos, Frege’s criterion yields wrong results; but with the provisos in place, it is (...)
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  • Context, Content, and Relativism.Michael Glanzberg - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (1):1--29.
    This paper argues against relativism, focusing on relativism based on the semantics of predicates of personal taste. It presents and defends a contextualist semantics for these predicates, derived from current work on gradable adjectives. It then considers metasemantic questions about the kinds of contextual parameters this semantics requires. It argues they are not metasemantically different from those in other gradable adjectives, and that contextual parameters of this sort are widespread in natural language. Furthermore, this paper shows that if such parameters (...)
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  • Simple Generics.David Liebesman - 2011 - Noûs 45 (3):409-442.
    Consensus has it that generic sentences such as “Dogs bark” and “Birds fly” contain, at the level of logical form, an unpronounced generic operator: Gen. On this view, generics have a tripartite structure similar to overtly quantified sentences such as “Most dogs bark” and “Typically, birds fly”. I argue that Gen doesn’t exist and that generics have a simple bipartite structure on par with ordinary atomic sentences such as “Homer is drinking”. On my view, the subject terms of generics are (...)
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  • ‘Thereby We Have Broken with the Old Logical Dualism’ – Reinach on Negative Judgement and Negation.Mark Textor - 2013 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (3):570 - 590.
    Does (affirmative) judgement have a logical dual, negative judgement? Whether there is such a logical dualism was hotly debated at the beginning of the twentieth century. Frege argued in ?Negation? (1918/9) that logic can dispense with negative judgement. Frege's arguments shaped the views of later generations of analytic philosophers, but they will not have convinced such opponents as Brentano or Windelband. These philosophers believed in negative judgement for psychological, not logical, reasons. Reinach's ?On the Theory of Negative Judgement? (1911) spoke (...)
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