Predication and cartographic representation

Synthese 169 (1):175 - 200 (2009)
I argue that maps do not feature predication, as analyzed by Frege and Tarski. I take as my foil (Casati and Varzi, Parts and places, 1999), which attributes predication to maps. I argue that the details of Casati and Varzi’s own semantics militate against this attribution. Casati and Varzi emphasize what I call the Absence Intuition: if a marker representing some property (such as mountainous terrain) appears on a map, then absence of that marker from a map coordinate signifies absence of the corresponding property from the corresponding location. Predication elicits nothing like the Absence Intuition. “F(a)” does not, in general, signify that objects other than a lack property F. On the basis of this asymmetry, I argue that attaching a marker to map coordinates is a different mode of semantic composition than attaching a predicate to a singular term.
Keywords Predication  Maps  Compositional semantics  Unity of the proposition
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Ben Blumson (2012). Mental Maps. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2):413-434.
Jacob Beck (2013). Why We Can't Say What Animals Think. Philosophical Psychology 26 (4):520–546.
Ben Blumson (2010). Maps and Meaning. Journal of Philosophical Research 35:123-128.

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