The empirical phenomenon at the center of this paper is projection, which we define (uncontroversially) as follows: (1) Definition of projection An implication projects if and only if it survives as an utterance implication when the expression that triggers the implication occurs under the syntactic scope of an entailment-cancelling operator. Projection is observed, for example, with utterances containing aspectual verbs like stop, as shown in (2) and (3) with examples from English and Paraguayan Guaraní (Paraguay, Tupí-Guaraní).1 The Guaraní example in (...) (2) and its English translation have at least the following implications: (i) Carla has previously smoked, and (ii) Carla stopped smoking. The first but not the second of these implications is also conveyed by the question version of sentence (2), as in (3a), or when (2) is embedded under entailment-cancelling sentential operators, such as negation, as in (3b), the antecedent of a conditional, as in (3c), or an epistemic modal, as in (3d). Hence, by the definition in (14), the first but not the second implication of (2) projects. (shrink)
In this paper, the meanings of sentences containing the word or and a modal verb are used to arrive at a novel account of the meaning of or coordinations. It is proposed that or coordinations denote sets whose members are the denotations of the disjuncts; and that the truth conditions of sentences containing or coordinations require the existence of some set made available by the semantic environment which can be ‘divided up’ in accordance with the disjuncts. The relevant notion of (...) ‘dividing things up’ is made explicit in the paper. Detailed attention is given to the question of how the proposed truth conditions are derived from the syntactic input. The account offered allows for the derivation of both the disjunctive and the nondisjunctive readings of modal/or sentences, including the much-discussed free choice readings of may/or sentences. (shrink)
The current literature on presupposition focuses almost exclusively on the projection problem: the question of how and why the presuppositions of atomic clauses are projected to complex sentences which embed them. Very little attention has been paid to the question of how and why these presuppositions arise at all. As Kay (1992, p.335) observes, “treatments of the presupposition inheritance problem almost never deal with the reasons that individual words and constructions give rise, in the first place, to the particular presuppositions (...) that they do.”1 This is the question on which this paper will focus. (shrink)
Traditional Western conceptions of immortality characteristically presume that we come into existence at a particular time , live out our earthly span and then die. According to some, our death may then be followed by a deathless post-mortem existence. In other words, it is assumed that we are born only once and die only once; and that – at least on some accounts – we are future-sempiternal creatures. The Western secular tradition affirms at least ; the Western religious tradition – (...) Christianity, Judaism, Islam – generally affirms both and . The Indian tradition, however, typically denies both and . That is, it maintains both that we all have pre-existed beginninglessly, and that we have lived many times before and must live many times again in this world. The Indian picture, then, is that we have died and been reborn innumerable times previous to this life and we will be reborn many times in the future. This is sometimes called the Indian belief in reincarnation. The difficulty with this usage is that the term ‘reincarnation’ suggests a belief in an immortal soul that transmigrates or reincarnates. However Buddhism, while affirming rebirth, specifically denies the existence of an eternal soul. Thus the term ‘rebirth’ is preferable for referring to the generally espoused Indian doctrine. (shrink)
This paper offers a critical analysis of Stalnaker''s work on presupposition (Stalnaker1973, 1974, 1979, 1999, 2002). The paper examines two definitions of speaker presupposition offered by Stalnaker – the familiar common ground view, and the earlier,less familiar, dispositional account – and how Stalnaker relates this notion to the linguistic phenomenon of presupposition. Special attention is paid to Stalnaker's view of accommodation. I argue that given Stalnaker's views, accommodation is not rightly seen as driven by the presuppositional requirements of utterances, but (...) only by the interests of speakers in eliminating perceived differences among presuppositions. I also consider the revisions which are needed either to the definition of speaker presupposition or to the definition of sentence presupposition in light of the possibility of informative presupposition. In the concluding section, I discuss the ways in which some recent accounts of context and speaker presupposition depart from their Stalnakerian foundations. (shrink)
In this book, Alston articulates and argues for a use-based and normative account of sentence meaning. He proposes that sentence meaning consists in illocutionary act potential, the usability of a sentence for the performance of a certain illocutionary act type. This potential is itself explained in terms of illocutionary rules, normative rules governing the acceptable use of sentences.
This paper discusses the semantically parenthetical use of clauseembedding verbs such as see, hear, think, believe, discover and know. When embedding verbs are used in this way, the embedded clause carries the main point of the utterance, while the main clause serves some discourse function. Frequently, this function is evidential, with the parenthetical verb carrying information about the source and reliability of the embedded claim, or about the speaker’s emotional orientation to it. Other functions of parenthetical uses of verbs are (...) discussed. (shrink)
Would personal immortality have any value for one so endowed? An affirmative answer would seem so obvious to some that they might be tempted to go so far as to claim that immortality is a condition of life's having any value at all. The claim that immortality is a necessary condition for the meaningfulness of life seems untenable. What, however, of the claim that immortality is a sufficient condition for the meaningfulness of life? Though some might hold this to be (...) the characteristic religious view, this is certainly disputable. Thus McTaggart reminds us, for instance, that ‘Buddhism... holds immortality to be the natural state of man, from which only the most perfect can escape.’ I want to argue that we can imagine variants of personal immortality which would not be valuable and hence immortality in itself cannot be a sufficient condition for value. What is required for the meaningfulness of life is that life exhibit certain valuable qualities. But then the endless exhibition of these qualities is not only unnecessary for the meaningfulness of life, but the endlessness of a life can even devalue those qualities that would make valuable a single, bounded life. (shrink)
The pragmatic framework developed by H.P. Grice in “Logic and Conversation” explains how a speaker can mean something more than, or different from, the conventional meaning of the sentence she utters. But it has been argued that the framework cannot give a similar explanation for cases where these pragmatic effects impact the understood content of an embedded clause, such as the antecedent of a conditional, a clausal disjunct, or the clausal complement of a verb. In this paper, I show that (...) such an explanation is available. One of the central arguments of the paper is that in a significant subset of cases, local pragmatic effects are a consequence of a global pragmatic requirement. In these cases, local pragmatic effects are a consequence of ‘acting locally’ to resolve a potential global pragmatic violation. These cases do not require us to posit application of pragmatic principles to the contents of embedded clauses. The account does, though, require the assumption that interpreters can identify and reason about the contents of unasserted sub-parts of sentences, an assumption that I motivate in section 3. Building on this, in section 4 of the paper, I argue that once we have recognized that interpreters can, and do, reason independently about the contents of non-asserted clauses, it becomes unproblematic to assume that in some cases, Gricean conversational principles do apply directly to these contents, providing an alternative route to account for local pragmatic effects. In revisiting the ideas of this paper in my response to the commentaries, I consider in more detail the revisions to Grice’s broader program that are necessitated by these moves, in particular acknowledging the problematicity of Grice’s notion of what is said. I argue that the starting point for Gricean reconstructions should instead be merely what is expressed, which carries no pragmatic commitments regarding what is speaker meant. (shrink)
Unsurprisingly, the negation of sentence (1), shown in (3), does not share this entailment. Neither does the yes/no question formed from this sentence. Similarly, if we add a possibility modal to the sentence, or construct a conditional of which (1) is the antecedent, the resulting sentences do not share the entailment of the original, as we see from the examples below.
Marxism is the tradition of thought and practice founded by Marx. To be identifiable as Marxism any phase of this tradition must have important resemblances to Marx's own work, and those resemblances must be conscious and acknowledged. Anti-Marxists tend to interpret this relation according to a derogatory religious model. Marxists, they suppose, treat Marx as an authority and follow their leader wherever he leads, instead of following the argument wherever it leads. On this view Marxism has an essentially scholarly relation (...) to Marx and a polemical relation to everything else: it seeks to identify exactly what Marx said and thought, to preserve the master's teaching in all its original purity, and to appeal to it for correct answers to the substantive questions that we face. In other words, Marxism is that tradition which treats the works of Marx as a bible and imagines that it can clinch substantive arguments with the words ‘Marx has said it’. (shrink)
In this paper, we develop the notion of a natural convention, and illustrate its usefulness in a detailed examination of indirect requests in English. Our treatment of convention is grounded in Lewis’s seminal account; we do not here redefine convention, but rather explore the space of possibilities within Lewis’s definition, highlighting certain types of variation that Lewis de-emphasized. Applied to the case of indirect requests, which we view through a Searlean lens, the notion of natural convention allows us to give (...) a nuanced answer to the question: Are indirect requests conventional? In conclusion, we reflect on the consequences of our view for the understanding of the semantics/pragmatics divide. (shrink)
There is a long-standing and rarely contested view that Gricean conversational reasoning—the kind of reasoning that supports the identification of conversational implicatures—cannot produce pragmatically generated modification of the contents of embedded clauses. The goal of this paper is to argue against this view: to argue that embedded pragmatic effects can be seen as continuous with ordinary, utterance-level, conversational implicature. I will further suggest, though, that embedded pragmatic effects do force on us a particular conception of semantics. Specifically, I will argue (...) that an adequate account of the data requires a semantic framework that posits structured contents. (shrink)
Grice observes that the primary discourse function of disjunction is the presentation of alternatives, each of which is relevant in the same way to a given topic. After a brief introduction , I offer in Chapter Two an account of Grice's observation and of further felicity conditions on disjunction, for example, the constraint against disjunctions in which one disjunct entails another. Using an enriched version of the Stalnakerian model of assertion, I define two constraints on information update--Relevant Informativity and Simplicity--and (...) show that these suffice to account for the observations. ;I then argue that the requirement to abide by Relevant Informativity and Simplicity provides a basis for an account of two further properties of disjunctive sentences: their presupposition projection properties and the possibility of anaphora between disjuncts. I argue that presuppositions project in disjunction except where projection would lead to infelicity of the kind characterized in Chapter Two. To state this account, a treatment of presupposition which allows projection to be sensitive to considerations of felicity is required. I show that the Stalnakerian view of presupposition, combined with Heim's notion of local accommodation, provides the necessary framework. ;Similarly, I argue that anaphora across disjunction is disallowed only when it leads to an infelicitous disjunction. In certain configurations, anaphora between disjuncts leads to entailment between disjuncts, which is ruled out independently. The account is given using a version of Neale's E-type analysis of unbound anaphora. I show that the analysis has further desirable consequences with respect to more complex examples of inter-disjunct anaphora. ;Throughout Chapters Three and Four, I contrast my own proposals with accounts given in the Dynamic Semantic literature, offering a critique of Dynamic Semantic approaches to the phenomena discussed. ;In Chapter Five, I examine anaphora between NPs contained inside a disjunction and a pronoun in a following sentence. I argue that these pronouns are also E-type, but show that these cases require a reformulation of the E-type analysis. I develop a new account in which the interpretation of E-type pronouns is derived compositionally from the content of the antecedent clause. (shrink)
Recall Grice’s well-worn example from Logic and Conversation about Smith, his girlfriend, and his trips to New York: (1) A: Smith doesn’t seem to have a girlfriend these days. B: He has been paying a lot of visits to NY recently. Grice says that in this dialogue, B implicates that Smith has, or may have, a girlfriend in New York. But in saying this, Grice under-describes his own example. For this proposition alone does not suffice to satisfy the requirements of (...) Relation, the maxim presumed to be operative in this case. Grice says that “[B] implicates that which he must be assumed to believe in order to preserve the assumption that he is observing the maxim of Relation.” But the assumption that B thinks that Smith might have a girlfriend in NY is not in itself sufficient to render B’s utterance relevant. An additional assumption is required, one which explicitly links the issue of having girlfriends to the issue of travel to NY: perhaps, the proposition that a person who has a girlfriend somewhere travels there frequently; or that many people have long-distance relationships, and these involve frequent trips to the same place. If A can work out that B is making this supposition, then she can immediately see the relevance of B’s response to her remark. Without it, relevance cannot be established. So this general background assumption must be implicated by the utterance.1 Now, this background assumption is not enough by itself to guarantee relevance. Suppose that B believes the background assumption, but does not believe that Smith might be traveling to NY to visit a girlfriend. Then his utterance is still in violation of Relation. B should invoke the background assumption only if it is relevant itself. (shrink)
Over the past four decades, software engineering has emerged as a discipline in its own right, though it has roots both in computer science and in classical engineering. Its philosophical foundations and premises are not yet well understood. In recent times, members of the software engineering community have started to search for such foundations. In particular, the philosophies of Kuhn and Popper have been used by philosophically-minded software engineers in search of a deeper understanding of their discipline. It seems, however, (...) that professional philosophers of science are not yet aware of this new discourse within the field of software engineering. Therefore, this article aims to reflect critically upon recent software engineers’ attempts towards a philosophy of software engineering and to introduce our own philosophical thoughts in this context. Finally, we invite the professional philosophers of science to participate in this interesting new discourse. (shrink)
In this paper, I review a number of arguments in favor of treating many of the central cases of presupposition as the result of conversational inference, rather than as lexically specified properties of particular expressions. I then argue that, despite the standard assumption to the contrary, the view of presupposition as constraints on the common ground is not consistent with the provision of a conversational account of particular presuppositional constraints. The argument revolves crucially around the workings of accommodation. I then (...) offer an alternative view of the phenomenon of presupposition, which is compatible with a variety of sources for presuppositions. On the view offered here, presupposition is seen as a property of utterances. I argue that the presuppositions of an utterance are those propositions which an interpreter must take the speaker to accept in order to take the speaker to be fully cooperative, in the Gricean sense. (shrink)
There are two central themes that occupy the commentaries, and hence this response. The first is the character and role of what is said, both in my account, and in pragmatic theory in general. In response, I lay out in more detail the proposal from my original paper that the starting point for Gricean reasoning should be not what is said, but the pragmatically uncommitted what is expressed. As part of this argument, I restate and provide further arguments for my (...) claim that global and local pragmatic effects are continuous. The second central theme of the commentaries concerns the value of a Gricean account, which is not intended to model the psychological processes of interpretation. I respond to this concern in Section 5, ‘Pragmatics, psychology and processing’. (shrink)
Questions about the meaning of life have traditionally been regarded as being of particular concern to philosophers. It is sometimes complained that contemporary analytic philosophy fails to address such questions, but there do exist illuminating recent discussions of these questions by analytic philosophers. 1 Perhaps what lurks behind the complaint is a feeling that these discussions are insufficiently close to actual living situations and hence often seem rather thin and bland compared with the vivid portrayals of such situations in autobiography (...) or fiction. I therefore want to focus on two works by Tolstoy—one autobiographical, one fictional—and try to see what philosophical lessons can be learned from them, particularly with regard to questions about the relation of death to the meaning of life. (shrink)
My thesis is that ‘rational’ is an absolute concept like ‘flat’ and ‘clean’. Absolute concepts are best defined as absences. In the case of flatness, the absence of bumps, curves, and irregularities. In the case of cleanliness, the absence of dirt. Rationality, then, is the absence of irrationalities such as bias, circularity, dogmatism, and inconsistency.
This paper concerns what might be called the variably bad behavior of the word or. As is well known, there are a variety of environments in which the word or misbehaves – misbehaves, in the sense that it gives rise to interpretations which are not expected given the standard analysis of this word as, roughly, set union. One of these environments is the scope of a modal. This case has received a lot of attention recently in the literature, and a (...) number of researchers, including myself, have proposed accounts of or which explain its behavior in this environment. (shrink)
Since linguists began extensive work on presupposition in the 1970's, a long and heterogeneous list has been compiled of expressions, expression types and constructions that give rise to presuppositions. In the current literature, the principal (but by no means sole) diagnostic for presupposition typically appealed to is the tendency of the particular element of meaning to project, i.e. to escape the scope of operators such as negation, the question operator, or modals. An important intuition also routinely appealed to is that (...) the element of meaning is in some sense backgrounded, or treated by the speaker as taken for granted. There seems little doubt that there are interesting and theoretically relevant distinctions to be made between different types of presuppositions within this heterogeneous set. But the study of these distinctions is of interest primarily in light of the intuition that the members of this set share some common feature: that there is some singular phenomenon of presupposition to be described and explained. This paper is concerned with what presuppositions have in common, and offers an alternative to the current standard view. On the view currently prevalent in the linguistic literature, presuppositions constitute constraints on the common ground, or on an interlocutor’s “take” on the common ground, at the point at which 1 the presupposing utterance is interpreted. I do not intend to offer here a detailed critique of this standard theory, but perhaps a few words of justification are in order. The motivation for seeking a new account comes in part from the same considerations cited by Abbott 2000, in her critique of the standard view. Abbott’s central point is that the driving idea behind the common ground view is that presuppositions are identified with “old” information, or information that the speaker is treating as “old.” This idea, while perhaps helpful as an initial approximation, rapidly runs up against the observation that it is normal and commonplace for.... (shrink)
In response to Mandy Simons’ defence of a classical Gricean approach to pragmatic enrichment in terms of conversational implicature, I emphasize the following contrast. Conversational implicatures are generated by a global inference which uses as a premise the fact that the speaker has said that p, but only the triggering inference is global in cases of pragmatic enrichment. What generates the correct interpretation is a process of reconstrual, which locally maps the literal meaning of a constituent to a modulated (...) meaning and composes that meaning with that of the other constituents. That process is constrained by Gricean considerations but that is true of all pragmatic aspects of interpretation, whether pre-propositional or post-propositional. Just as indexical resolution, though pragmatic and constrained by Gricean considerations, does not fit the two-stage model through which Grice accounts for conversational implicatures, so pragmatic modulation can’t be accounted for in terms of that model despite the fact that, like conversational implicatures and unlike indexical resolution, modulation is pragmatically rather than semantically triggered. (shrink)
In 1978, Carper identified ‘four fundamental patterns of knowing’ that became largely foundational to subsequent epistemological discourse within the nursing discipline. These patterns of empirical, personal, aesthetic, and ethical knowing were presented as conceptually distinct yet related patterns of knowing. In order to provide an alternative conceptualization of aesthetics in nursing, the main tenants of Carper's discussion of aesthetic knowing will be revisited, and the foundations for her arguments will be examined. Specifically, Dewey's Art as Experience will be examined in (...) relation to the ‘holism’ of nursing, and an alternative position on pragmatic aesthetics in nursing will be offered. A preliminary reintegration of the four patterns of knowing will then be presented as will an example of a potential cultivation of aesthetics in nursing, through an example of Rodin's 19th century sculpture, the Burghers of Calais. (shrink)
We define a notion of projective meaning which encompasses both classical presuppositions and phenomena which are usually regarded as non-presuppositional but which also display projection behavior—Horn’s assertorically inert entailments, conventional implicatures (both Grice’s and Potts’) and some conversational implicatures. We argue that the central feature of all projective meanings is that they are not-at-issue, defined as a relation to the question under discussion. Other properties differentiate various sub-classes of projective meanings, one of them the class of presuppositions according to Stalnaker. (...) This principled taxonomy predicts differences in behavior unexpected on other models among the various conventional triggers and conversational implicatures, while holding promise for a general, explanatory account of projection which applies to all the types of meanings considered. (shrink)
This paper examines a particular case of embedded pragmatic effect, here dubbed "local pragmatic enrichment". I argue that local enrichment is fairly easily accommodated within semantic theories which take content to be structured. Two standard approaches to dynamic semantics, DRT and Heimian CCS, are discussed as candidates. Focusing on cases of local enrichment of disjuncts in clausal disjunctions, I point out that in these cases, local enrichment is driven by global felicity requirements, demonstrating that the local/global distinction is not a (...) simple dichotomy. (shrink)
Following on from Roy Bhaskar’s first two books, A Realist Theory of Science and The Possibility of Naturalism, Scientific Realism and Human Emancipation, establishes the conception of social science as explanatory—and thence emancipatory—critique. _Scientific Realism and Human Emancipation_ starts from an assessment of the impasse of contemporary accounts of science as stemming from an incomplete critique of positivism. It then proceeds to a systematic exposition of scientific realism in the form of transcendental realism, highlighting a conception of science as explanatory (...) of a structured, differentiated and changing world. Turning to the social domain, the book argues for a view of the social order as conditioned by, and emergent from, nature. Advocating a critical naturalism, the author shows how the transformational model of social activity together with the conception of social science as explanatory critique which it entails, resolves the divisions and dualisms besetting orthodox social and normative theory: between society and the individual, structure and agency, meaning and behavior, mind and body, reason and cause, fact and value, and theory and practice. The book then goes on to discuss the emancipatory implications of social science and sketches the nature of the depth investigation characteristically entailed. In the highly innovative third part of the book Roy Bhaskar completes his critique of positivism by developing a theory of philosophical discourse and ideology, on the basis of the transcendental realism and critical naturalism already developed, showing how positivism functions as a restrictive ideology of and for science and other social practices. (shrink)
The Yogacara school of Buddhist thought claims that all language-use is metaphorical. Exploring the profound implications of this assertion, Roy Tzhoar makes the case for viewing the Yogacara account as a full-fledged theory of meaning, one that is not merely linguistic, but also applicable both in the world and in texts.
Sentencing practices in cases of domestic homicide have been the object of critical scrutiny on previous occasions across a number of jurisdictions. It has been suggested by some that these practices reveal judges to be taking a more lenient approach to women who kill their violent male partners than to men who kill allegedly unfaithful female partners. This note evaluates claims of gender bias in sentencing practices in UK cases of domestic homicide following the Court of Appeal sentencing decision in (...) R. v. Suratan, R. v.Humes and R.v. Wilkinson E.W.C.A. 2982 concerning three men who killed their female partners. It will argue that in the wake of this decision current proposals to review both the substantive law of provocation and sentencing practices are to be welcomed. (shrink)
Roy Sorenson offers a unique exploration of an ancient problem: vagueness. Did Buddha become a fat man in one second? Is there a tallest short giraffe? According to Sorenson's epistemicist approach, the answers are yes! Although vagueness abounds in the way the world is divided, Sorenson argues that the divisions are sharp; yet we often do not know where they are. Written in Sorenson'e usual inventive and amusing style, this book offers original insight on language and logic, the way world (...) is, and our understanding of it. (shrink)
The basic linguistic phenomenon of presupposition is commonplace and intuitive, little different from the relation described by the word presuppose in its everyday usage. In ordinary language, when we say that someone presupposes something, we mean that they assume it, or take it for granted. The term is used in the same way when we talk of a speaker presupposing something, although typically we are interested in those assumptions which are revealed by what the speaker says. To begin with the (...) most venerable case of presupposing, first discussed by Frege 1892, when a speaker makes an assertion, “there is always an obvious presupposition that the simple or compound proper names used have reference.” So a speaker who says. (shrink)
The phenomenon we now know as projection was first observed by Frege in his brief remarks about presupposition in “Sense and Reference.” Frege observes there that the assertion that Kepler died in misery gives rise to the implication that the name Kepler has a referent; but that so too does the assertion that Kepler did not die in misery. Here we have the source of the observation that if p is a presupposition of S, then p is implied by (utterances (...) of) S and by (utterances of) the negation of S. Since Frege, it has been observed that those implications which are shared by a sentence S and by its negation are also typically shared by a variety of other entailment-canceling embeddings of S: in questions, in the antecedents of conditionals, and under epistemic possibility modals. This observation has entered the canon in the form of the “family of sentences” test (Chierchia and McConnell-Ginet 2000). This test is 1 standardly used to demonstrate that some particular element of content projects. An application of the test is demonstrated below. (shrink)
Competitive negotiators frequently use tactics which others view as "unethical", in that these tactics either violate standards of truth telling or violate the perceived rules of negotiation. This paper sought to determine how business students viewed a number of marginally ethical negotiating tactics, and to determine the underlying factor structure of these tactics. The factor analysis of these tactics revealed five clear factors which were highly similar across the two samples, and which parallel categories of tactics proposed by earlier theory. (...) Data from one sample also permitted comparisons of the appropriateness of certain tactics across gender, nationality, ethnic origin and perception of one's negotiating style. (shrink)