Erkenntnis:1-20 (forthcoming)

Eric Snyder
Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München
Stewart Shapiro
Ohio State University
The primary argument against mereological singularism—the view that definite plural noun phrases like ‘the students’ refer to “set-like entities”—is that it is ultimately incoherent. The most forceful form of this charge is due to Barry Schein, who argues that singularists must accept a certain comprehension principle which entails the existence of things having the contradictory property of being both atomic and non-atomic. The purpose of this paper is to defuse Schein’s argument, by noting three necessary and independently motivated restrictions on the metalinguistic predicates ‘atom’ and ‘non-atom’: both are sort, property, and context-relative. With these restrictions in place, Schein’s problematic assumption becomes evident: his presumed singularist analysis of ‘non-atom’ conflates the metalanguage with the meta-metalanguage, i.e. the language used to talk about the metalanguage.
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DOI 10.1007/s10670-020-00347-9
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References found in this work BETA

Frege: Philosophy of Language.Michael Dummett - 1973 - Philosophy 49 (190):438-442.
An Investigation of the Lumps of Thought.Angelika Kratzer - 1989 - Linguistics and Philosophy 12 (5):607 - 653.

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Citations of this work BETA

Group Nouns and Pseudo‐Singularity.Eric Snyder & Stewart Shapiro - 2021 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (1):66-77.

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