Polar opposition and the ontology of 'degrees'

Linguistics and Philosophy 24 (1):33-70 (2001)

This paper uses the distribution and interpretation of antonymous adjectives in comparative constructions as an empirical basis to argue that abstract representations of measurement, or ‘degrees’, must be modeled as intervals on a scale, rather than as points, as commonly assumed. I begin by demonstrating that the facts in this domain must be accounted for in terms of the interaction of the semantics of adjectival polarity and the semantics of the comparative, rather than principles governing the (overt) expression of particular types of adjectives in comparatives. I then show that a principled account of the full range of data under consideration can be constructed within a model in which degrees are formalized as intervals on a scale and adjectival polarity is characterized in terms of two structurally distinct and complementary sorts of `positive' and `negative' degrees
Keywords antonymy  comparatives  degrees  gradable  adjectives  polarity
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1005668525906
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References found in this work BETA

On Denoting.Bertrand Russell - 1905 - Mind 14 (56):479-493.
A Semantics for Positive and Comparative Adjectives.Ewan Klein - 1980 - Linguistics and Philosophy 4 (1):1--45.
Implicit Comparison Classes.Peter Ludlow - 1989 - Linguistics and Philosophy 12 (4):519 - 533.
Scope and Comparatives.Richard K. Larson - 1988 - Linguistics and Philosophy 11 (1):1 - 26.

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The Universal Density of Measurement.Danny Fox & Martin Hackl - 2006 - Linguistics and Philosophy 29 (5):537 - 586.

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