David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Mind 118 (471):583 - 646 (2009)
This article investigates the semantics of sentences that express numerical averages, focusing initially on cases such as 'The average American has 2.3 children'. Such sentences have been used both by linguists and philosophers to argue for a disjuncture between semantics and ontology. For example, Noam Chomsky and Norbert Hornstein have used them to provide evidence against the hypothesis that natural language semantics includes a reference relation holding between words and objects in the world, whereas metaphysicians such as Joseph Melia and Stephen Yablo have used them to provide evidence that apparent singular reference need not be taken as ontologically committing. We develop a fully general and independently justified compositional semantics in which such constructions are assigned truth conditions that are not ontologically problematic, and show that our analysis is superior to all extant rivals. Our analysis provides evidence that a good semantics yields a sensible ontology. It also reveals that natural language contains genuine singular terms that refer to numbers
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Jon Barwise & Robin Cooper (1981). Generalized Quantifiers and Natural Language. Linguistics and Philosophy 4 (2):159--219.
Edward L. Keenan & Jonathan Stavi (1986). A Semantic Characterization of Natural Language Determiners. Linguistics and Philosophy 9 (3):253 - 326.
Jason Stanley (2001). Hermeneutic Fictionalism. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 25 (1):36–71.
Thomas Hofweber (2005). Number Determiners, Numbers, and Arithmetic. Philosophical Review 114 (2):179-225.
Chris Barker (2007). Parasitic Scope. Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (4):407-444.
Citations of this work BETA
Alex Barber (2013). Understanding as Knowledge of Meaning. Philosophy Compass 8 (10):964-977.
Peter Alrenga & Christopher Kennedy (2014). No More Shall We Part: Quantifiers in English Comparatives. Natural Language Semantics 22 (1):1-53.
Chris Barker (2013). Scopability and Sluicing. Linguistics and Philosophy 36 (3):187-223.
B. Nickel (2010). Generic Comparisons. Journal of Semantics 27 (2):207-242.
Gurpreet Rattan (2015). Truth Incorporated. Noûs 50 (1):n/a-n/a.
Similar books and articles
John C. Bigelow (1978). Believing in Semantics. Linguistics and Philosophy 2 (1):101--144.
William J. Greenberg (1996). The Paradox of Identity. Epistemologia 2:207-226.
Friederike Moltmann (2013). Tropes, Bare Demonstratives, and Apparent Statements of Identity. Noûs 47 (2):346-370.
Peter Pagin (2012). Communication And The Complexity of Semantics. In Markus Werning, Wolfram Hinzen & Edouard Machery (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Compositionality. OUP Oxford
Added to index2009-03-12
Total downloads211 ( #16,346 of 1,902,963 )
Recent downloads (6 months)25 ( #20,173 of 1,902,963 )
How can I increase my downloads?