A pluralistic theory of wordhood

Mind and Language 36 (4):592-609 (2020)
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What are words and how should we individuate them? There are two main answers on the philosophical market. For some, words are bundles of structural-functional features defining a unique performance profile. For others, words are non-eternal continuants individuated by their causal-historical ancestry. These conceptions offer competing views of the nature of words, and it seems natural to assume that at most one of them can capture the essence of wordhood. This paper makes a case for pluralism about wordhood: the view that there is a plurality of acceptable conceptions of the nature of words, none of which is uniquely entitled to inform us as to what wordhood consists in.

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Luca Gasparri
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

Citations of this work

Word meaning.Luca Gasparri & Diego Marconi - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Languages and language use.Jessica Keiser - 2023 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 107 (2):357-376.
What it takes to make a word.Wade Munroe - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-30.

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