Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (1):83-117 (2020)

Authors
Abstract
Cimpian et al. observed that we accept generic statements of the form ‘Gs are f’ on relatively weak evidence, but that if we are unfamiliar with group G and we learn a generic statement about it, we still treat it inferentially in a much stronger way: all Gs are f. This paper makes use of notions like ‘representativeness’, ‘contingency’ and ‘relative difference’ from psychology to provide a uniform semantics of generics that explains why people accept generics based on weak evidence. The spirit of the approach has much in common with Leslie’s cognition-based ideas about generics, but the semantics will be grounded on a strengthening of Cohen’s relative readings of generic sentences. In contrast to Leslie and Cohen, we propose a uniform semantic analysis of generics. The basic intuition is that a generic of the form ‘Gs are f’ is true because f is typical for G, which means that f is valuably associated with G. We will make use of Kahneman and Tversky’s Heuristics and Biases approach, according to which people tend to confuse questions about probability with questions about representativeness, to explain pragmatically why people treat many generic statements inferentially in a much stronger way.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s10988-019-09265-8
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,436
External links

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

Thinking, Fast and Slow.Daniel Kahneman - 2011 - New York: New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.
Naming and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - Philosophy 56 (217):431-433.

View all 50 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

A Causal Semantics of IS Generics.Robert van Rooij & Katrin Schulz - 2020 - Journal of Semantics 37 (2):269-295.
Genericity.Ariel Cohen - 2022 - In Mark Aronoff (ed.), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 1-35.
Markets Within the Limit of Feasibility.Kenneth Silver - forthcoming - Journal of Business Ethics:1-15.
Genericity generalized.Alnica Visser - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-21.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Generics, Frequency Adverbs, and Probability.Ariel Cohen - 1999 - Linguistics and Philosophy 22 (3):221-253.
Simple Generics.David Liebesman - 2011 - Noûs 45 (3):409-442.
On the Generic Use of Indefinite Singulars.Ariel Cohen - 2001 - Journal of Semantics 18 (3):183-209.
Generics.Bart Geurts - 1985 - Journal of Semantics 4 (3):247-255.
Existential Generics.Ariel Cohen - 2004 - Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (2):137-168.
Leslie on Generics.Rachel Katharine Sterken - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2493-2512.
Generics and Weak Necessity.Ravi Thakral - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-28.
Genericity and Logical Form.Kathrin Koslicki - 1999 - Mind and Language 14 (4):441–467.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2019-07-23

Total views
37 ( #309,334 of 2,520,355 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #79,178 of 2,520,355 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes