English mass noun phrases & count noun phrases differ only minimally grammatically. The basis for the difference is ascribed to a difference in the features +/-CT. These features serve the morphosyntactic function of determining the available options for the assigment of grammatical number, itself determined by the features +/-PL: +CT places no restriction on the available options, while -CT, in the unmarked case, restricts the available options to -PL. They also serve the semantic function of determining the sort of denotation (...) associated with demonstrative & quantified noun phrases. The feature -CT requires that the associated denotation be the set whose sole member is the greatest aggregate of which the noun phrase or noun is true; the feature +CT requires that the associated denotation be the set whose members are all & only those minimal aggregates of which the noun phrase or noun is true. At the same time, neither mass NPs nor count NPs that are arguments of a predicate have their predicate evaluated with respect to their denotations. Rather, the predicate is evaluated with respect to an aggregation, a set of aggregates constructed from the denotation of the noun phrase that is an argument of the predicate. 3 Tables, 4 Figures, 74 References. AA. (shrink)
This paper addresses two questions: what is the distinction between semantics and pragmatics? And why is this distinction important? These questions are discussed in light of the central explanatory goal of linguistics and in relation to the phenomenon of context sensitivity, as illustrated by relational words with implicit arguments and by so-called quantifier domain restriction. It is concluded that context sensitivity is, in the former case, grammatical or lexical and, in the latter case, neither.
The problem addressed is that of finding a sound characterization of ambiguity. Two kinds of characterizations are distinguished: tests and definitions. Various definitions of ambiguity are critically examined and contrasted with definitions of generality and indeterminacy, concepts with which ambiguity is sometimes confused. One definition of ambiguity is defended as being more theoretically adequate than others which have been suggested by both philosophers and linguists. It is also shown how this definition of ambiguity obviates a problem thought to be posed (...) by ambiguity for truth theoretical semantics. In addition, the best known test for ambiguity, namely the test by contradiction, is set out, its limitations discussed, and its connection with ambiguity's definition explained. The test is contrasted with a test for vagueness first proposed by Peirce and a test for generality propounded by Margalit. (shrink)
I show that words with indefinite implicit complements occasion a dilemma for their model theory. There has been only two previous attempts to address this problem, one by Fodor and Fodor (1980) and one by Dowty (1981). Each requires that any word tolerating an implicit complement be treated as ambiguous between two different lexical entries and that a meaning postulate or lexical rule be given to constrain suitably the meanings of the various entries for the word. I show that the (...) positing of such an ambiguity runs counter to the facts and propose an alternative solution which does not appeal to ambiguity, meaning postulates or lexical rules. Indeed, I show that the dilemma posed by indefinite implicit complements is posed by all implicit complements and that a general solution to the problem of implicit complements follows from an independently motivated, single treatment of five other problems, that of subcategorization, that of phrasal projections of words, that of defining a model theoretic structure for phrase structure grammars, that of complement polyvalence and that of complement polyadicity. (shrink)
English common nouns, like nouns in many other languages, can be distinguished into count nouns and mass nouns. This article sets out the basic morpho‐syntactic and semantic facts pertaining to these two classes of English nouns. In addition, it summarizes and critically discusses the various theories of the semantics of such nouns.
Cet article démontre qu'un exemple cité par Ernest Adams pour montrer que l'implication matérielle n'est pas l'interprétation correcte de la sémantique de la conjonction de subordination si, n'est rien d'autre qu'un corollaire d'une observation d'jà faite par Lewis Carroll, il y a cent ans, dans l'exposition de son paradoxe du salon de coiffure.
In the svārthānumāna chapter of his Pramāṇavārttika, the Buddhist philosopher Dharmakīrti presented a defense of his claim that legitimate inference must rest on a metaphysical basis if it is to be immune from the risks ordinarily involved in inducing general principles from a finite number of observations. Even if one repeatedly observes that x occurs with y and never observes y in the absence of x, there is no guarantee, on the basis of observation alone, that one will never observe (...) y in the absence of x at some point in the future. To provide such a guarantee, claims Dharmakīrti, one must know that there is a causal connection between x and y such that there is no possibility of y occurring in the absence of x. In the course of defending this central claim, Dharmakīrti ponders how one can know that there is a causal relationship of the kind necessary to guarantee a proposition of the form “Every y occurs with an x.” He also dismisses an interpretation of his predecessor Dignāga whereby Dignāga would be claiming non-observation of y in the absence of x is sufficient to warrant to the claim that no y occurs without x. The present article consists of a translation of kārikās 11–38 of Pramānavārttikam, svārthānumānaparicchedaḥ along with Dharmakīrti’s own prose commentary. The translators have also provided an English commentary, which includes a detailed introduction to the central issues in the translated text and their history in the literature before Dharmakīrti. (shrink)
The Fang Bian Xin Lun is a text on Buddhist logic which is thought to be the earliest one still to be extant. It appears in Chinese only (T1632). The great Italian indologist Giuseppe Tucci, believing that the text was originally a Sanskrit text, translated it into Sanskrit and gave it the title Upāyahṛdaya. The paper provides the historical background of the development of logic in Classical India up to the time of this text, summarizes its content and translates its (...) first section. (shrink)
In this paper, I address the problem wherein the same English word permits one of its complement positions to be satisfied by phrases of different categories. A well-known example of such an English word is the copula to be, whose complements include adjective phrases, noun phrases, prepositional phrases and adverbial phrases. I provide a way to treat such words, in particular verbs, as single lexical items through a conservative extension of the usual treatment of word classification as a pair comprising (...) a part of speech category and a complement list. I then show how a further conservative extension of complement lists permits a satisfactory formalization of doubly complemented English verbs which are synonymous under a permutation of their complements. These verbs include, but are not limited to, so-called double object constructions. (shrink)