On generics

Abstract

In this paper I argue against previous approaches to the semantics of generics which involved the notions of prototype, stereotype and relevant quantification. I assume that the logical form of generics includes a generic operator which, as Heim (1992) has suggested, can be construed as the modal operator of necessity. After demonstrating that the presence of the generic operator in a semantic representation, as well as its domain of quantification, are pragmatically supplied, I go on to show how the various interpretations generics may receive can be successfully accounted for within a relevance-theoretic framework.

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References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Fact, Fiction, and Forecast.Nelson Goodman - 1973 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
The meaning of 'meaning'.Hilary Putnam - 1975 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7:131-193.
Situations and attitudes.Jon Barwise & John Perry - 1981 - Journal of Philosophy 78 (11):668-691.

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