Sentences containing pronouns and indefinite noun phrases can be said toexpress open propositions, propositions which display gaps to be filled.This paper addresses the question what is the linguistic content ofthese expressions, what information they can be said to provide to ahearer, and in what sense the information of a speaker can be said tosupport their utterance. We present and motivate first order notions ofcontent, update and support. The three notions are each defined in acompositional fashion and brought together within a (...) single and coherentframework. (shrink)
In this paper I revive two important formal approaches to the interpretation of natural language, that of Montague and that of Karttunen and Peters. Armed with insights from dynamic semantics (Heim, Krifka) the two turn out to stand up against age-old criticisms in an orthodox fashion. The plan is mainly methodological, as I only want to illustrate the technical feasibility of the revived proposals. Even so, there are illuminating and welcome empirical consequences on the subject of scope islands (as discussed (...) by Abusch and Kratzer, among many others), as well as unintended theoretical implications in the contextualist debate (Grice, Recanati, Simons, Stanley, and many others again). (shrink)
In this paper, I want to contribute to understanding and improving on Keenan'sintriguing equivalence result about reducible type quantifiers (Keenan, 1992).I give an alternative proof of his result which generalizes to type quantifiers, andI show how the reduction of a reducible type quantifier to (the composition of) ntype quantifiers can be effected.
In the last decade the enterprise of formal semantics has been under attack from several philosophical and linguistic perspectives, and it has certainly suffered from its own scattered state, which hosts quite a variety of paradigms which may seem to be incompatible. It will not do to try and answer the arguments of the critics, because the arguments are often well-taken. The negative conclusions, however, I believe are not. The only adequate reply seems to be a constructive one, which puts (...) several pieces of formal semantics, in particular dynamic semantics, together again.In this paper I will try and sketch an overview of tasks, techniques, and results, which serves to at least suggest that it is possible to develop a coherent overall picture of undeniably important and structural phenomena in the interpretation of natural language. The idea is that the concept of meanings as truth conditions after all provides an excellent start for an integrated study of the meaning and use of natural language, and that an extended notion of goal directed pragmatics naturally complements this picture. None of the results reported here are really new, but we think it is important to re-collect them. (shrink)
El pensamiento sobre la sociedad civil siempre ha estado caracterizado por una doble referencia hacia las relaciones sociales existentes y hacia los ideales sociales. La principal hipótesis de numerosas investigaciones sobre la sociedad civil es que una floreciente esfera que lleva este nombre es el portador del ideal de una sociedad más civilizada. Este artículo empieza con una pequeña discusión sobre el trasfondo histórico y los debates públicos en torno a la sociedad civil, y continúa con un planteamiento más analítico (...) del concepto como designación de un orden social asociacional y una esfera de la sociedad dominada por las asociaciones voluntarias. Más adelante nos centramos en esta esfera describiendo sus caracteres nacionales en Europa y analizando las reivindicaciones de sus beneficios civilizadores: la formación de capital social y de discurso público. Encontramos muy pocas evidencias para tales reivindicaciones y por ello profundizamos en el desarrollo de la sociedad moderna occidental, una sociedad en la que las asociaciones voluntarias se han convertido en menos relevantes, mientras que otras esferas de la sociedad, en particular los ensanchados márgenes de la sociedad civil, son más importantes para el desarrollo de una sociedad más civilizada.The thinking about civil society has always been characterized by the double reference to existing social relations and to societal ideals. The basic hypothesis of much civil society research is that a flourishing sphere with this name is the carrier of the ideal of more civilized society. This article starts with a brief discussion of the historical background and public debates about civil society, and continues with a more analytic approach of the concept as designation of an associational social order and a sphere of society dominated by voluntary associations. We further focus on this sphere, describe its national patterns in Europe and analyze claims of its civilizing benefits: the formation of social capital and public discourse. We find very limited evidence for the claims and look deeper into developments of modern western society, which have made voluntary associations less important and other spheres of society, in particular the broader margins of civil society, more important for the development of a more civilized society. (shrink)
In the last decade the enterprise of formal semantics has been under attack from several philosophical and linguistic perspectives, and it has certainly suffered from its own scattered state, which hosts quite a variety of paradigms which may seem to be incompatible. It will not do to try and answer the arguments of the critics, because the arguments are often well-taken. The negative conclusions, however, I believe are not. The only adequate reply seems to be a constructive one, which puts (...) several pieces of formal semantics, in particular dynamic semantics, together again. (shrink)
The 2007 edition of the Amsterdam Colloquium is the Sixteenth in a series which started in 1976. Originally, the Amsterdam Colloquium was an initiative of the Department of Philosophy of the University of Amsterdam. Since 1984 the Colloquium is organized by the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) of the University of Amsterdam.
This paper compares two aspects of the use of ?fun? within the economics profession. It analyzes the way in which a recently emerged genre of economics-made-fun uses fun and surprising insights to reach new audiences. And it also analyzes the way in which humor is used within and from outside the economics profession to criticize certain practices and characteristics of economists. It argues that the economics-made-fun genre, ?Freakonomics? being the prime example, not only redefines the domain of economics, as is (...) widely acknowledged, but also changes the identity of economists. In a similar way, humor is used by both insiders and outsiders to (re)define the appropriate identity and domain of economists. It draws on recent work in the history of science which distinguishes between various professional identities of scientists, such as the quirky genius and the intuitive and playful amateur. We argue that Levitt and other authors within this new genre redefine the identity of economists toward this latter type. On the other hand, humor is often used by critics of this economistic outlook on life to show the limitations of this perspective and to delineate its appropriate domain. (shrink)
This comment on Erik Claes values his treatment of in-depth interviews to gain a better understanding of how volunteers make sense of their activities, but it questions the representativeness, meaningfulness and civicness of what is found. Meaning as deep personal commitment to an objective value is probably quite exceptional. The values and goals of Claes’s volunteers are deeply human and wide-ranging, but too ignorant of disagreement, power and politics to be called civic.
With this paper I aim to demonstrate that a look beyond the Aristotelian square of opposition, and a related non-conservative view on logical determiners, contributes to both the understanding of Aristotelian syllogistics as well as to the study of quantificational structures in natural language.
Distinguished contributors take up eminent scholar Daniel R. Schwarz’s reading of modern fiction and poetry as mediating between human desire and human action. The essayists follow Schwarz’s advice, “always the text, always historicize,” thus making this book relevant to current debates about the relationships between literature, ethics, aesthetics, and historical contexts.