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  1. Donkeys under Discussion.Lucas Champollion, Dylan Bumford & Robert Henderson - forthcoming - Semantics and Pragmatics.
    Donkey sentences have existential and universal readings, but they are not often perceived as ambiguous. We extend the pragmatic theory of nonmaximality in plural definites by Križ (2016) to explain how context disambiguates donkey sentences. We propose that the denotations of such sentences produce truth-value gaps — in certain scenarios the sentences are neither true nor false — and demonstrate that Križ’s pragmatic theory fills these gaps to generate the standard judgments of the literature. Building on Muskens’s (1996) Compositional Discourse (...)
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  2. Semantics for Reasons, by Bryan Weaver and Kevin Scharp. [REVIEW]Daniel Fogal & Peter Van Elswyk - forthcoming - Ethics.
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  3. Review of Context and Coherence: The Logic and Grammar of Prominence, by Una Stojnić. [REVIEW]Daniel W. Harris - forthcoming - Philosophical Review.
    I summarize several of the main claims, arguments, and innovations in Stojnić's 2021 book. I then take issue with her foundational view, on which both the context of a conversation and the contents of context-sensitive expressions are wholly fixed by the history of a conversation together with grammatical rules.
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  4. The Hindi-Urdu NA and reasonable inference.Ahmad Jabbar - forthcoming - In Proceedings of the 59th annual meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society (CLS 59).
    This paper presents a study into the Hindi-Urdu 'na' as a sentence-final particle. Although also used as a topic marker and negation, 'na' occurs sentence-finally across clause-types. In light of the data, we think the following hypothesis offers the best fit: 'na' signals the speaker’s belief that the content of na’s containing clause is a reasonable inference, given what’s common ground. Notably, in addition to other clause-types, we explore na's distribution in exclamations and exclamatives. We link our work to recent (...)
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  5. Grounding with particles.Ahmad Jabbar & Veda Kanamarlapudi - forthcoming - In Proceedings of the 27th workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue (SemDial 27).
    We focus on a sui generis grounding move in Hindi-Urdu dialogue, namely 'voh hi na'. 'Voh' is third person pronoun and can function as a propositional anaphor in dialogue. 'Hi' and 'na' are two discourse particles in Hindi-Urdu. A dataset consisting of minimal pairs of dialogues is presented to get a better sense of the move. Using dynamic models of discourse structure, we propose a semantics for 'voh hi na' in terms of its update effects.
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  6. Towards a Fregean psycholinguistics.Thorsten Sander - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    This paper is partly exegetical, partly systematic. I argue that Frege's account of what he called “colouring” contains some important insights on how communication is related to mental states such as mental images or emotions. I also show that the Fregean perspective is supported by current research in psycholinguistics and that a full understanding of some linguistic phenomena that scholars have accounted for in terms of either semantics or pragmatics need involve psycholinguistic elements.
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  7. Clause-internal coherence as presupposition resolution.Kelsey Sasaki & Daniel Altshuler - forthcoming - Proceedings of Amsterdam Colloquium 2022.
    Hobbs (2010) introduced ‘clause-internal coherence’ (CIC) to describe inferences in, e.g., ‘A jogger was hit by a car,’ where the jogging is understood to have led to the car-hitting. Cohen & Kehler (2021) argue that well-known pragmatic tools cannot account for CIC, motivating an enrichment account familiar from discourse coherence research. An outstanding question is how to compositionally derive CIC from coherence relations. This paper takes strides in answering this question. It first provides experimental support for the existence of CIC (...)
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  8. A Problem for Generic Generalisations in Scientific Communication.Mark Bowker - 2023 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 40 (1):123-132.
    Generic generalisations like ‘Opioids are highly addictive’ are very useful in scientific communication, but they can often be interpreted in many different ways. Although this is not a problem when all interpretations provide the same answer to the question under discussion, a problem arises when a generic generalisation is used to answer a question other than that originally intended. In such cases, some interpretations of the generalisation might answer the question in a way that the original speaker would not endorse. (...)
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  9. Super Pragmatics of (linguistic-)pictorial discourse.Julian J. Schlöder & Daniel Altshuler - 2023 - Linguistics and Philosophy 46 (4):693-746.
    Recent advances in the Super Linguistics of pictures have laid the Super Semantic foundation for modelling the phenomena of narrative sequencing and co-reference in pictorial and mixed linguistic-pictorial discourses. We take up the question of how one arrives at the pragmatic interpretations of such discourses. In particular, we offer an analysis of: (i) the discourse composition problem: how to represent the joint meaning of a multi-picture discourse, (ii) observed differences in narrative sequencing in prima facie equivalent linguistic vs pictorial discourses, (...)
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  10. Good guesses as accuracy-specificity tradeoffs.Mattias Skipper - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (7):2025-2050.
    Guessing is a familiar activity, one we engage in when we are uncertain of the answer to a question under discussion. It is also an activity that lends itself to normative evaluation: some guesses are better than others. The question that interests me here is what makes for a good guess. In recent work, Dorst and Mandelkern have argued that good guesses are distinguished from bad ones by how well they optimize a tradeoff between accuracy and specificity. Here I argue (...)
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  11. Coping with imaginative resistance.Daniel Altshuler & Emar Maier - 2022 - Journal of Semantics 39 (2):523-549.
    We propose to characterize imaginative resistance as the failure or unwillingness of the reader to take a fictional description of a deviant reality at face value. The goal of the paper is to explore how readers deal with such a breakdown of the default Face Value interpretation strategy. We posit two distinct interpretative ‘coping’ strategies which help the reader engage with the resistance-inducing fiction by attributing the offending content to one of the fictional characters. We present novel empirical evidence that (...)
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  12. Metaphor Identification beyond Discourse Coherence.Inés Crespo, Andreas Heise & Claudia Picazo - 2022 - Argumenta 1 (15):109-124.
    In this paper, we propose an account of metaphor identification on the basis of contextual coherence. In doing so, we build on previous work by Nicholas Asher and Alex Lascarides that appeals to rhetorical relations in order to explain discourse structure and the constraints on the interpretation of metaphor that follow from it. Applying this general idea to our problem, we will show that rhetorical relations are sometimes insufficient and sometimes inadequate for deciding whether a given utterance is a case (...)
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  13. Conversational Eliciture.Jonathan Cohen & Andrew Kehler - 2021 - Philosophers' Imprint 21 (12).
    The sentence "The boss fired the employee who is always late" invites the defeasible inference that the speaker is attempting to convey that the lateness caused the firing. We argue that such inferences cannot be understood in terms of familiar approaches to extrasemantic enrichment such as implicature, impliciture, explicature, or species of local enrichment already in the literature. Rather, we propose that they arise from more basic cognitive strategies, grounded in processes of coherence establishment, that thinkers use to make sense (...)
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  14. Endorsement and assertion.Will Fleisher - 2021 - Noûs 55 (2):363-384.
    Scientists, philosophers, and other researchers commonly assert their theories. This is surprising, as there are good reasons for skepticism about theories in cutting-edge research. I propose a new account of assertion in research contexts that vindicates these assertions. This account appeals to a distinct propositional attitude called endorsement, which is the rational attitude of committed advocacy researchers have to their theories. The account also appeals to a theory of conversational pragmatics known as the Question Under Discussion model, or QUD. Hence, (...)
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  15. Counterfactuals and modality.Gabriel Greenberg - 2021 - Linguistics and Philosophy 44 (6):1255-1280.
    This essay calls attention to a set of linguistic interactions between counterfactual conditionals, on one hand, and possibility modals like could have and might have, on the other. These data present a challenge to the popular variably strict semantics for counterfactual conditionals. Instead, they support a version of the strict conditional semantics in which counterfactuals and possibility modals share a unified quantificational domain. I’ll argue that pragmatic explanations of this evidence are not available to the variable analysis. And putative counterexamples (...)
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  16. The “All Lives Matter” response: QUD-shifting as epistemic injustice.Jessica Keiser - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):8465-8483.
    Drawing on recent work in formal pragmatic theory, this paper shows that the manipulation of discourse structure—in particular, by way of shifting the Question Under Discussion mid-discourse—can constitute an act of epistemic injustice. I argue that the “All Lives Matter” response to the “Black Lives Matter” slogan is one such case; this response shifts the Question Under Discussion governing the overarching discourse from Do Black lives matter? to Which lives matter? This manipulation of the discourse structure systematically obscures the intended (...)
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  17. Discourse and method.Ethan Nowak & Eliot Michaelson - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (2):119-138.
    Stojnić et al. (2013, 2017) argue that the reference of demonstratives is fixed without any contribution from the extra-linguistic context. On their `prominence/coherence' theory, the reference of a demonstrative expression depends only on its context-independent linguistic meaning. Here, we argue that Stojnić et al.’s striking claims can be maintained in only the thinnest technical sense. Instead of eliminating appeals to the extra-linguistic context, we show how the prominence/coherence theory merely suppresses them. Then we ask why one might be tempted to (...)
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  18. Tipper is ready but he is not strong enough: minimal proposition, question under discussion, and what is said.Charlie Siu - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (9):2577-2584.
    A standard objection to Cappelen and Lepore’s Semantic Minimalism is that minimal propositions are explanatorily idle. But Schoubye and Stokke recently proposed that minimal proposition and the question under discussion of a conversation jointly determine what is said in a systematic and explanatory way. This note argues that their account both overgenerates and undergenerates.
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  19. What the metasemantics of "know" is not.Peter van Elswyk - 2020 - Linguistics and Philosophy 43 (1):69-82.
    Epistemic contextualism in the style of Lewis (1996) maintains that ascriptions of knowledge to a subject vary in truth with the alternatives that can be eliminated by the subject’s evidence in a context. Schaffer (2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2015), Schaffer and Knobe (2012), and Schaffer and Szabo ́ (2014) hold that the question under discussion or QUD always determines these alternatives in a context. This paper shows that the QUD does not perform such a role for "know" and uses this (...)
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  20. Deceiving without answering.Peter van Elswyk - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 177 (5):1157-1173.
    Lying is standardly distinguished from misleading according to how a disbelieved proposition is conveyed. To lie, a speaker uses a sentence to say a proposition she does not believe. A speaker merely misleads by using a sentence to somehow convey but not say a disbelieved proposition. Front-and-center to the lying/misleading distinction is a conception of what-is-said by a sentence in a context. Stokke (2016, 2018) has recently argued that the standard account of lying/misleading is explanatorily inadequate unless paired with a (...)
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  21. Might do Better: Flexible Relativism and the QUD.Bob Beddor & Andy Egan - 2018 - Semantics and Pragmatics 11.
    The past decade has seen a protracted debate over the semantics of epistemic modals. According to contextualists, epistemic modals quantify over the possibilities compatible with some contextually determined group’s information. Relativists often object that contextualism fails to do justice to the way we assess utterances containing epistemic modals for truth or falsity. However, recent empirical work seems to cast doubt on the relativist’s claim, suggesting that ordinary speakers’ judgments about epistemic modals are more closely in line with contextualism than relativism (...)
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  22. Conversational Exculpature.Daniel Hoek - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (2):151-196.
    Conversational exculpature is a pragmatic process whereby information is subtracted from, rather than added to, what the speaker literally says. This pragmatic content subtraction explains why we can say “Rob is six feet tall” without implying that Rob is between 5'0.99" and 6'0.01" tall, and why we can say “Ellen has a hat like the one Sherlock Holmes always wears” without implying Holmes exists or has a hat. This article presents a simple formalism for understanding this pragmatic mechanism, specifying how, (...)
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  23. Conventions of Viewpoint Coherence in Film.Samuel Cumming, Gabriel Greenberg & Rory Kelly - 2017 - Philosophers' Imprint 17.
    This paper examines the interplay of semantics and pragmatics within the domain of film. Films are made up of individual shots strung together in sequences over time. Though each shot is disconnected from the next, combinations of shots still convey coherent stories that take place in continuous space and time. How is this possible? The semantic view of film holds that film coherence is achieved in part through a kind of film language, a set of conventions which govern the relationships (...)
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  24. One's Modus Ponens: Modality, Coherence and Logic.Una Stojnić - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (1):167-214.
    Recently, there has been a shift away from traditional truth-conditional accounts of meaning towards non-truth-conditional ones, e.g., expressivism, relativism and certain forms of dynamic semantics. Fueling this trend is some puzzling behavior of modal discourse. One particularly surprising manifestation of such behavior is the alleged failure of some of the most entrenched classical rules of inference; viz., modus ponens and modus tollens. These revisionary, non-truth-conditional accounts tout these failures, and the alleged tension between the behavior of modal vocabulary and classical (...)
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  25. Discourse and logical form: pronouns, attention and coherence.Una Stojnić, Matthew Stone & Ernie Lepore - 2017 - Linguistics and Philosophy 40 (5):519-547.
    Traditionally, pronouns are treated as ambiguous between bound and demonstrative uses. Bound uses are non-referential and function as bound variables, and demonstrative uses are referential and take as a semantic value their referent, an object picked out jointly by linguistic meaning and a further cue—an accompanying demonstration, an appropriate and adequately transparent speaker’s intention, or both. In this paper, we challenge tradition and argue that both demonstrative and bound pronouns are dependent on, and co-vary with, antecedent expressions. Moreover, the semantic (...)
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  26. Events states and times.Daniel Altshuler - 2016 - Berlink: de Gruyter.
    This monograph investigates the temporal interpretation of narrative discourse in two parts. The theme of the first part is narrative progression. It begins with a case study of the adverb ‘now’ and its interaction with the meaning of tense. The case study motivates an ontological distinction between events, states and times and proposes that ‘now’ seeks a prominent state that holds throughout the time described by the tense. Building on prior research, prominence is shown to be influenced by principles of (...)
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  27. Making a story make sense: Does evidentiality matter in discourse coherence?Sumeyra Tosun & Jyotsna Vaid - 2016 - Applied Psycholinguistics 37:1337-1367.
    Evidentiality refers to the linguistic marking of the nature/directness of source of evidence of an asserted event. Some languages (e.g., Turkish) mark source obligatorily in their grammar, while other languages (e.g., English) provide only lexical options for conveying source. The present study examined whether or under what conditions firsthand source information is relied on more than nonfirsthand sources in establishing discourse coherence. Turkish- and English-speaking participants read a series of somewhat incongruous two-sentence narratives and were to come up with a (...)
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  28. What is Said?Andreas Stokke & Anders J. Schoubye - 2015 - Noûs 50 (4):759-793.
    It is sometimes argued that certain sentences of natural language fail to express truth conditional contents. Standard examples include e.g. Tipper is ready and Steel is strong enough. In this paper, we provide a novel analysis of truth conditional meaning using the notion of a question under discussion. This account explains why these types of sentences are not, in fact, semantically underdetermined, provides a principled analysis of the process by which natural language sentences can come to have enriched meanings in (...)
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  29. What 'If'?William B. Starr - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14.
    No existing conditional semantics captures the dual role of 'if' in embedded interrogatives — 'X wonders if p' — and conditionals. This paper presses the importance and extent of this challenge, linking it to cross-linguistic patterns and other phenomena involving conditionals. Among these other phenomena are conditionals with multiple 'if'-clauses in the antecedent — 'if p and if q, then r' — and relevance conditionals — 'if you are hungry, there is food in the cupboard'. Both phenomena are shown to (...)
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  30. Processing Narrative Coherence: Towards a top-down model of discourse.Erica Cosentino, Ines Adornetti & Francesco Ferretti - 2013 - Open Access Series in Informatics (OASICS) 32:61-75.
    Models of discourse and narration elaborated within the classical compositional framework have been characterized as bottom-up models, according to which discourse analysis proceeds incrementally, from phrase and sentence local meaning to discourse global meaning. In this paper we will argue against these models. Assuming as a case study the issue of discourse coherence, we suggest that the assessment of coherence is a top-down process, in which the construction of a situational interpretation at the global meaning level guides local meaning analysis. (...)
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  31. Deixis (even without pointing).Una Stojnic, Matthew Stone & Ernie Lepore - 2013 - Philosophical Perspectives 27 (1):502-525.
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  32. What projects and why.Mandy Simons, David Beaver, Judith Tonhauser & Craige Roberts - 2010 - Semantics and Linguistic Theory 20:309-327.
    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 (...)
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