13 found
Order:
  1.  9
    Between Logic and the World: An Integrated Theory of Generics.Bernhard Nickel - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Bernhard Nickel presents a theory of generic sentences and the kind-directed modes of thought they express. The theory closely integrates compositional semantics with metaphysics to solve the problem that generics pose: what do generics mean? Generic sentences are extremely simple, yet if there are patterns to be discerned in terms of which are true and which are false, these patterns are subtle and complex. Ravens are black, and lions have manes: statistical measures cannot do justice to the facts, but what (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   17 citations  
  2. Generics and the Ways of Normality.Bernhard Nickel - 2008 - Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (6):629-648.
    I contrast two approaches to the interpretation of generics such as ‘ravens are black:’ majority-based views, on which they are about what is the case most of the time, and inquiry-based views, on which they are about a feature we focus on in inquiry. I argue that majority-based views face far more systematic counterexamples than has previously been supposed. They cannot account for generics about kinds with multiple characteristic properties, such as ‘elephants live in Africa and Asia.’ I then go (...)
    Direct download (10 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   39 citations  
  3. How General Do Theories of Explanation Need To Be?Bernhard Nickel - 2010 - Noûs 44 (2):305-328.
    Theories of explanation seek to tell us what distinctively explanatory information is. The most ambitious ones, such as the DN-account, seek to tell us what an explanation is, tout court. Less ambitious ones, such as causal theories, restrict themselves to a particular domain of inquiry. The least ambitious theories constitute outright skepticism, holding that there is no reasonably unified phenomenon to give an account of. On these views, it is impossible to give any theories of explanation at all. I argue (...)
    Direct download (8 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   12 citations  
  4. Ceteris Paribus Laws: Generics and Natural Kinds.Bernhard Nickel - 2010 - Philosophers' Imprint 10.
    Ceteris Paribus (cp-)laws may be said to hold only “other things equal,” signaling that their truth is compatible with a range of exceptions. This paper provides a new semantic account for some of the sentences used to state cp-laws. Its core approach is to relate these laws to natural language on the one hand — by arguing that cp-laws are most naturally expressed with generics — and to natural kinds on the other — by arguing that the semantics of generics (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   17 citations  
  5.  76
    The Role of Kinds in the Semantics of Ceteris Paribus Laws.Bernhard Nickel - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S10):1729-1744.
    This paper investigates the interaction between semantic theories for cp-laws (roughly, laws that hold “all things equal”) and metaphysical theories of kinds in the special sciences. Its central conclusion is that cp-laws concerning kinds behave differently from cp-laws concerning non-kinds: “ravens are black” which concerns the kind corvus corax, behaves differently from from “albino ravens are white” which concerns the non-kind grouping of albino ravens. I argue that this difference is in the first instance logical: the two sorts of cp-laws (...)
    Direct download (4 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   8 citations  
  6.  56
    Generics, Conservativity, and Kind-Subordination.Bernhard Nickel - 2018 - Philosophers' Imprint 18.
    Many approaches to the semantics of generic sentences posit an unpronounced quantifier gen. However, while overt quantifiers are conservative, gen does not seem to be. A quantifier Q is conservative iff instances of the following schemas are equivalent: Q As are F and Q As are As that are F. All ravens are black is obviously equivalent to All ravens are ravens that are black, yet ravens are black is not equivalent to ravens are ravens that are black. This may (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   3 citations  
  7.  42
    Ways of Normality: Reply to Hoeltje.Bernhard Nickel - 2018 - Linguistics and Philosophy 41 (3):289-293.
    Hoeltje :101–118, 2017) raises a number of important issues about my theory of generics. In this brief reply, I address some of these challenges.
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   2 citations  
  8.  72
    Generically Free Choice.Bernhard Nickel - 2010 - Linguistics and Philosophy 33 (6):479-512.
    This paper discusses free-choice like effects in generics. Just as Jane may drink coffee or tea can be used to convey Jane may drink coffee and Jane may drink tea (she is free to choose ), some generics with disjunctive predicates can be used to convey conjunctions of simpler generics: elephants live in Africa or Asia can be used to convey elephants live in Africa and elephants live in Asia. Investigating these logically slightly more complex generics and especially the free-choice (...)
    Direct download (7 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   8 citations  
  9. Generic Comparisons.Bernhard Nickel - 2010 - Journal of Semantics 27 (2):207-242.
    This article discusses comparative generic sentences As are F-er than Bs—girls do better than boys in grade school, for example—which pose severe problems for extant accounts. In their stead, the article proposes reconceiving the logical form (LF) of generic sentences as more closely akin to that of sentences containing non-generic plurals, paradigmatically plural definite descriptions. Given this one crucial change, several otherwise puzzling features of comparative generics are immediately explicable, including their relatively weak truth conditions and some of the logical (...)
    Direct download (8 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   5 citations  
  10. Dynamics, Brandom-Style.Bernhard Nickel - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (2):333-354.
    Abstract This paper discusses the semantic theory presented in Robert Brandom’s Making It Explicit . I argue that it is best understood as a special version of dynamic semantics, so that these semantics by themselves offer an interesting theoretical alternative to more standard truth-conditional theories. This reorientation also has implications for more foundational issues. I argue that it gives us the resources for a renewed argument for the normativity of meaning. The paper ends by critically assessing the view in both (...)
    Direct download (7 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   2 citations  
  11. Processes in the Interpretation of Generics and CP-Laws.Bernhard Nickel - manuscript
    Ceteris Paribus (cp-)laws may be said to hold only ``other things equal,'' signaling that their truth is compatible with a range of exceptions. Several theorists have taken this feature to introduce the presumption that cp-laws are trivial, one that needs to be countered if we are to appeal to cp-laws in the course of scientific investigation or our philosophical theorizing about it. I argue that the triviality worry is misplaced by pointing out that cp-laws are just a subset of uncontroversially (...)
    Direct download (2 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  12.  28
    Plurals.Bernhard Nickel - 2012 - In Gillian Russell & Delia Fara (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Language. Routledge. pp. 392-408.
    No categories
    Direct download (3 more)  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark   1 citation  
  13.  55
    The Ways of Normality.Bernhard Nickel - manuscript
    I contrast two approaches to the interpretation of generics such as `ravens are black:' majority-based views, on which they are about what is the case most of the time, and inquiry-based views, on which they are about a feature we focus on in inquiry---an inductive target. I argue that while majority-based views are preferable based on the most basic data about generics, only inquiry-based views can account for a systematic class of sentences: generics with logically complex predicates, such as `cats (...)
    Direct download  
     
    Export citation  
     
    Bookmark