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Mark Bowker
University College Dublin
  1.  70
    Saying a Bundle: Meaning, Intention, and Underdetermination.Mark Bowker - 2019 - Synthese 196 (10):4229-4252.
    People often speak loosely, uttering sentences that are plainly false on their most strict interpretation. In understanding such speakers, we face a problem of underdetermination: there is often no unique interpretation that captures what they meant. Focusing on the case of incomplete definite descriptions, this paper suggests that speakers often mean bundles of propositions. When a speaker means a bundle, their audience can know what they mean by deriving any one of its members. Rather than posing a problem for the (...)
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  2.  48
    Underdetermination, Domain Restriction, and Theory Choice.Mark Bowker - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (2):205-220.
    It is often possible to know what a speaker intends to communicate without knowing what they intend to say. In such cases, speakers need not intend to say anything at all. Stanley and Szabó's influential survey of possible analysis of quantifier domain restriction is, therefore, incomplete and the arguments made by Clapp and Buchanan against Truth Conditional Compositionality and propositional speaker-meaning are flawed. Two theories should not always be viewed as incompatible when they associate the same utterance with different propositions, (...)
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  3.  13
    Ineliminable Underdetermination and Context-Shifting Arguments.Mark Bowker - forthcoming - Tandf: Inquiry:1-22.
    The truth-conditions of utterances are often underdetermined by the meaning of the sentence uttered, as suggested by the observation that the same sentence has different intuitive truth-values in different contexts. The intuitive difference is usually explained by assigning different truth-conditions to different utterances. This paper poses a problem for explanations of this kind: These truth-conditions, if they exist, are epistemically inaccessible. I suggest instead that truth-conditional underdetermination is ineliminable and these utterances have no truth-conditions. Intuitive truth-values are explained by the (...)
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  4. Rich Situated Attitudes.Kristina Liefke & Mark Bowker - 2017 - Lecture Notes in Computer Science 10247:45-61.
    We outline a novel theory of natural language meaning, Rich Situated Semantics [RSS], on which the content of sentential utterances is semantically rich and informationally situated. In virtue of its situatedness, an utterance’s rich situated content varies with the informational situation of the cognitive agent interpreting the utterance. In virtue of its richness, this content contains information beyond the utterance’s lexically encoded information. The agent-dependence of rich situated content solves a number of problems in semantics and the philosophy of language (...)
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  5.  51
    Saying Nothing : In Defence of Syntactic and Semantic Underdetermination.Mark Bowker - 2016 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    According to the Encoding Model, speakers communicate by encoding the propositions they want to communicate into sentences, in accordance with the conventions of a language L. By uttering a sentence that encodes p, the speaker says that p. Communication is successful only if the audience identifies the proposition that the speaker intends to communicate, which is achieved by decoding the uttered sentence in accordance with the conventions of L. A consequence of the Encoding Model has been the proliferation of underdetermination (...)
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  6.  27
    Truth in Fiction, Underdetermination, and the Experience of Actuality.Mark Bowker - forthcoming - British Journal of Aesthetics.
    It seems true to say that Sherlock Holmes is a detective, despite there being no Sherlock Holmes. When asked to explain this fact, philosophers of language often opt for some version of Lewis’s view that sentences like ‘Sherlock Holmes is a detective’ may be taken as abbreviations for sentences prefixed with ‘In the Sherlock Holmes stories …’. I present two problems for this view. First, I provide reason to deny that these sentences are abbreviations. In short, these sentences have aesthetic (...)
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  7.  11
    Weighing Solutions to the Lottery Puzzle.Mark Bowker - 2010 - Stance 3:25-32.
    The lottery puzzle can elicit strong intuitions in favour of skepticism, according to which we ordinary language-users speak falsely about knowledge with shocking regularity. Various contextualist and invariantist responses to the puzzle attempt to avoid this unwelcome result and preserve the competence of ordinary speakers. I will argue that these solutions can be successful only if they respect intuitions of a certain kind, and proceed to judge competing solutions by this criterion.
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