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  1. The Logicality of Language: Contextualism Vs. Semantic Minimalism.Guillermo Del Pinal - forthcoming - Mind.
    The Logicality of Language is the hypothesis that the language system has access to a `natural' logic that can identify and filter out as unacceptable expressions that have trivial meanings---i.e., that are true/false in all possible worlds or situations in which they are defined. This hypothesis helps explain otherwise puzzling patterns concerning the distribution of various functional terms and phrases. Despite its promise, Logicality vastly over-generates unacceptability assignments. Most solutions to this problem rest on specific stipulations about the properties of (...)
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  2. Space as a Semantic Unit of a Language Consciousness.Vitalii Shymko & Anzhela Babadzhanova - 2020 - Psycholinguistics 27 (1):335-350.
    Objective. Conceptualization of the definition of space as a semantic unit of language consciousness. -/- Materials & Methods. A structural-ontological approach is used in the work, the methodology of which has been tested and applied in order to analyze the subject matter area of psychology, psycholinguistics and other social sciences, as well as in interdisciplinary studies of complex systems. Mathematical representations of space as a set of parallel series of events (Alexandrov) were used as the initial theoretical basis of the (...)
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  3. Making Conditional Speech Acts in the Material Way.Matheus Silva - manuscript
    The conventional wisdom about conditionals claims that (1) conditionals that have non-assertive acts in their consequents, such as commands and promises, are not plausibly interpreted as material implications; (2) the most promising hypothesis about these sentences is conditional-assertion theory, which explains a conditional as a conditional speech act, i.e., a performance of a speech act given the assumption of the antecedent. This hypothesis has far-reaching and revisionist consequences, because conditional speech acts are not synonymous with a proposition with truth conditions. (...)
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  4. An Essentialist Theory of the Meaning of Slurs.Eleonore Neufeld - 2019 - Philosophers' Imprint 19.
    In this paper, I develop an essentialist model of the semantics of slurs. I defend the view that slurs are a species of kind terms: Slur concepts encode mini-theories which represent an essence-like element that is causally connected to a set of negatively-valenced stereotypical features of a social group. The truth-conditional contribution of slur nouns can then be captured by the following schema: For a given slur S of a social group G and a person P, S is true of (...)
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  5. Modals Under Epistemic Tension.Guillermo Del Pinal & Brandon Waldon - 2019 - Natural Language Semantics 27 (2):135-188.
    According to Kratzer’s influential account of epistemic 'must' and 'might', these operators involve quantification over domains of possibilities determined by a modal base and an ordering source. Recently, this account has been challenged by invoking contexts of ‘epistemic tension’: i.e., cases in which an assertion that 'must p' is conjoined with the possibility that 'not p', and cases in which speakers try to downplay a previous assertion that 'must p', after finding out that 'not p'. Epistemic tensions have been invoked (...)
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  6. Understanding Evans.Rick Grush - manuscript
    This paper is largely exegetical/interpretive. My goal is to demonstrate that some criticisms that have been leveled against the program Gareth Evans constructs in The Varieties of Reference (Evans 1980, henceforth VR) misfire because they are based on misunderstandings of Evans’ position. First I will be discussing three criticisms raised by Tyler Burge (Burge, 2010). The first has to do with Evans’ arguments to the effect that a causal connection between a belief and an object is insufficient for that belief (...)
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  7. Aesthetic Adjectives.Louise McNally & Isidora Stojanovic - 2014 - In James Young (ed.), The Semantics of Aesthetic Judgment. Oxford University Press.
    Among semanticists and philosophers of language, there has been a recent outburst of interest in predicates such as delicious, called predicates of personal taste (PPTs, e.g. Lasersohn 2005). Somewhat surprisingly, the question of whether or how we can distinguish aesthetic predicates from PPTs has hardly been addressed at all in this recent work. It is precisely this question that we address. We investigate linguistic criteria that we argue can be used to delineate the class of specifically aesthetic adjectives. We show (...)
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  8. Probably the Charterhouse of Parma Does Not Exist, Possibly Not Even That Parma.Alberto Voltolini - 2013 - Humana Mente 6 (25):235-261.
    In this paper, I will claim that fictional works apparently about utterly immigrant objects, i.e., real individuals imported in fiction from reality, are instead about fictional individuals that intentionally resemble those real individuals in a significant manner: fictional surrogates of such individuals. Since I also share the realists’ conviction that the remaining fictional works concern native characters, i.e., full-fledged fictional individuals that originate in fiction itself, I will here defend a hyperrealist position according to which fictional works only concern fictional (...)
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  9. Color Terms and Semantic Externalism.Åsa Wikforss - 2012 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 12 (3):399-420.
    The paper discusses whether the color terms should be given an externalist semantics. In the literature on the semantics of color terms externalism is standardly taken for granted, and Twin Earth style arguments play a central role. This is notable given that few people would claim that semantic externalism applies across the board, to all types of terms. Why, then, should the color terms belong with this group of terms? I argue that the standard externalist strategies, introduced by Tyler Burge (...)
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  10. Comparative Superlatives.Anna Szabolcsi - 1986 - In N. Fukui, T. Rapoport & E. Sagey (eds.), Anna Szabolcsi 1986 MIT WPL 8. MIT Press.
    I will make the following two main claims: (4) a. Under syntactically specifiable conditions superlatives take sentential scope. b. Sentential scope superlatives are necessarily indefinite.
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  11. Implicit Comparison Classes.Peter Ludlow - 1989 - Linguistics and Philosophy 12 (4):519 - 533.
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Ambiguity and Polysemy
  1. A Rich-Lexicon Theory of Slurs and Their Uses.Dan Zeman - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    In this paper, I present data involving the use of the Romanian slur "țigan", consideration of which leads to the postulation of a sui-generis, irreducible type of use of slurs ("identificatory"). This type of use is potentially problematic for extant theories of slurs. In addition, together with other well-established uses (derogatory, appropriated etc.), it shows that there is more variation in the use of slurs than previously acknowledged. I explain this variation by construing slurs as polysemous. To implement this idea, (...)
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  2. Every Word is a Name: Autonymy and Quotation in Augustine.Tamer Nawar - forthcoming - Mind.
    Augustine famously claims every word is a name. Some readers take Augustine to thereby maintain a purely referentialist semantic account according to which every word is a referential expression whose meaning is its extension. Other readers think that Augustine is no referentialist and is merely claiming that every word has some meaning. In this paper, I clarify Augustine’s arguments to the effect that every word is a name and argue that ‘every word is a name’ amounts to the claim that (...)
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  3. Pain, Paradox, and Polysemy.Michelle Liu - forthcoming - Analysis.
    The paradox of pain refers to the idea that the folk concept of pain is paradoxical, treating pains as simultaneously mental states and bodily states (e.g. Hill 2005, 2017; Borg et al. 2020). By taking a close look at our pain terms, this paper argues that there is no paradox of pain. The air of paradox dissolves once we recognise that pain terms are polysemous and that there are two separate but related concepts of pain rather than one.
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  4. Frege and Saving Substitution.Bryan Pickel & Brian Rabern - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Goodman and Lederman (2020) argue that the traditional Fregean strategy for preserving the validity of Leibniz’s Law of substitution fails when confronted with apparent counterexamples involving proper names embedded under propositional attitude verbs. We argue, on the contrary, that the Fregean strategy succeeds and that Goodman and Lederman’s argument misfires.
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  5. Compositional Idioms.David Pitt & Jerrold J. Katz - 2000 - Language 76:409-432.
    In this paper we argue that there is a large class of expressions, typified by ‘plastic flower’, ‘stuffed animal’ and ‘kosher bacon’, that have a unique semantics combining compositional, idiomatic and decompositional interpretation. These expressions are compositional because their constituents contribute their meanings to the meanings of the wholes; they are idiomatic because their interpretation involves assigning dictionary entries to non-terminal elements in their syntactic structure; and they are decompositional because their meanings have proper parts that are not the meanings (...)
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  6. Conceptual Control: On the Feasibility of Conceptual Engineering.Eugen Fischer - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-29.
    This paper empirically raises and examines the question of ‘conceptual control’: To what extent are competent thinkers able to reason properly with new senses of words? This question is crucial for conceptual engineering. This prominently discussed philosophical project seeks to improve our representational devices to help us reason better. It frequently involves giving new senses to familiar words, through normative explanations. Such efforts enhance, rather than reduce, our ability to reason properly, only if competent language users are able to abide (...)
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  7. On the Nature of the Lexicon: The Status of Rich Lexical Meanings.Lotte Hogeweg & Agustin Vicente - forthcoming - Journal of Linguistics.
    The main goal of this paper is to show that there are many phenomena that pertain to the construction of truth-conditional compounds that follow characteristic patterns, and whose explanation requires appealing to knowledge structures organized in specific ways. We review a number of phenomena, ranging from non-homogenous modification and privative modification to polysemy and co-predication that indicate that knowledge structures do play a role in obtaining truth-conditions. After that, we show that several extant accounts that invoke rich lexical meanings to (...)
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  8. Chomskyan Arguments Against Truth-Conditional Semantics Based on Variability and Co-Predication.Agustín Vicente - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-22.
    In this paper I try to show that semantics can explain word-to-world relations and that sentences can have meanings that determine truth-conditions. Critics like Chomsky typically maintain that only speakers denote, i.e., only speakers, by using words in one way or another, represent entities or events in the world. However, according to their view, individual acts of denotations are not explained just by virtue of speakers' semantic knowledge (since, according to them, semantic knowledge is very scarce: see Pietroski, 2018). Against (...)
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  9. Ontic Explanation Is Either Ontic or Explanatory, but Not Both.Cory Wright & Dingmar van Eck - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5:997–1029.
    What features will something have if it counts as an explanation? And will something count as an explanation if it has those features? In the second half of the 20th century, philosophers of science set for themselves the task of answering such questions, just as a priori conceptual analysis was generally falling out of favor. And as it did, most philosophers of science just moved on to more manageable questions about the varieties of explanation and discipline-specific scientific explanation. Often, such (...)
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  10. Moderate Holism: Answering to Criticism and Explaining Linguistic Phenomena.Kênio Estrela - 2018 - Fragmentos de Cultura 28 (n.2):258-270.
    In this paper I present a version of meaning holism proposed by Henry Jackman (1999a, 1999b, 2005 and 2015) entitled "moderate holism". I will argue that this moderate version of holism, in addition to responding to much of the criticism attributed to traditional semantic holism (such as translation, disagreement, change of mind and communication), is also extremely useful to explain the occurrence of several, such as vagueness and polysemy.
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  11. Acts and Alternative Analyses.Arvid Båve - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy 116 (4):181–205.
    I show that the act-type theories of Soames and Hanks entail that every sentence with alternative analyses (including every atomic sentence with a polyadic predicate) is ambiguous, many of them massively so. I assume that act types directed toward distinct objects are themselves distinct, plus some standard semantic axioms, and infer that act-type theorists are committed to saying that ‘Mary loves John’ expresses both the act type of predicating [loving John] of Mary and that of predicating [being loved by Mary] (...)
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  12. Polysemy and Co-Predication.Marina Ortega AndrÉs & Agustin Vicente - forthcoming - Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics.
    Many word forms in natural language are polysemous, but only some of them allow for co-predication, that is, they allow for simultaneous predications selecting for two different meanings or senses of a nominal in a sentence. In this paper, we try to explain (i) why some groups of senses allow co-predication and others do not, and (ii) how we interpret co-predicative sentences. The paper focuses on those groups of senses that allow co-predication in an especially robust and stable way. We (...)
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  13. Polysemy and Word Meaning: An Account of Lexical Meaning for Different Kinds of Content Words.Agustin Vicente - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (4):947-968.
    There is an ongoing debate about the meaning of lexical words, i.e., words that contribute with content to the meaning of sentences. This debate has coincided with a renewal in the study of polysemy, which has taken place in the psycholinguistics camp mainly. There is already a fruitful interbreeding between two lines of research: the theoretical study of lexical word meaning, on the one hand, and the models of polysemy psycholinguists present, on the other. In this paper I aim at (...)
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  14. What Words Mean and Express: Semantics and Pragmatics of Kind Terms and Verbs.Agustin Vicente - 2017 - Journal of Pragmatics 117:231-244.
    For many years, it has been common-ground in semantics and in philosophy of language that semantics is in the business of providing a full explanation about how propositional meanings are obtained. This orthodox picture seems to be in trouble these days, as an increasing number of authors now hold that semantics does not deal with thought-contents. Some of these authors have embraced a “thin meanings” view, according to which lexical meanings are too schematic to enter propositional contents. I will suggest (...)
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  15. A Gricean Theory of Malaprops.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (4):446-462.
    Gricean intentionalists hold that what a speaker says and means by a linguistic utterance is determined by the speaker's communicative intention. On this view, one cannot really say anything without meaning it as well. Conventionalists argue, however, that malapropisms provide powerful counterexamples to this claim. I present two arguments against the conventionalist and sketch a new Gricean theory of speech errors, called the misarticulation theory. On this view, malapropisms are understood as a special case of mispronunciation. I argue that the (...)
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  16. The Big Concepts Paper: A Defence of Hybridism.Agustín Vicente & Fernando Martínez Manrique - 2016 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 67 (1):59-88.
    The renewed interest in concepts and their role in psychological theorizing is partially motivated by Machery’s claim that concepts are so heterogeneous that they have no explanatory role. Against this, pluralism argues that there is multiplicity of different concepts for any given category, while hybridism argues that a concept is constituted by a rich common representation. This article aims to advance the understanding of the hybrid view of concepts. First, we examine the main arguments against hybrid concepts and conclude that, (...)
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  17. Perry Link: An Anatomy of Chinese; Rhythm, Metaphor. Harvard University Press 2013. [REVIEW]Christian Helmut Wenzel - 2014 - Etudes Chinoises 33 (1):174-181.
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  18. Punny Logic.Noah Greenstein - 2015 - Analysis 75 (3):359-362.
    Logic and humour tend to be mutually exclusive topics. Humour plays off ambiguity, while classical logic falters over it. Formalizing puns is therefore impossible, since puns have ambiguous meanings for their components. However, I will use Independence-Friendly logic to formally encode the multiple meanings within a pun. This will show a general strategy of how to logically represent ambiguity and reveals humour as an untapped source of novel logical structure.
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  19. Instrument Metapher: Das Guanzhuibian Im Licht der Manuskriptforschung (English Summary).Viatcheslav Vetrov - 2015 - LIT.
    A summary of my book on Western metaphor theories in the work of a prominent Chinese intellectual Qian Zhongshu. Qian's scepticism of metaphysics is discussed against the background of a global "post-modern" metaphor discourse in which metaphor is increasingly divested of its once important metaphysical qualities.
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  20. Polysemy: Current Perspectives and Approaches.Ingrid Lossius Falkum & Agustin Vicente - 2015 - Lingua:DOI: 10.1016/j.lingua.2015.02.00.
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  21. Diagnostic : différends ? Ciel !Jean-Jacques Pinto - 2014 - Ouvertures 2 (octobre 2014):05-40.
    (English then french abstract) -/- This article, which can be read by non-psychoanalysts, intends to browse in four stages through the issue offered to our thinking : two (odd-numbered) stages analyzing the argument that provides its context, and two (even-numbered) of propositions presenting our views on what could be the content of the analytic discourse in the coming years. After this introduction, a first reading will point by point but informally review the argument of J.-P. Journet by showing that each (...)
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  22. Fantasme, discours, idéologie.Jean-Jacques Pinto - 2010 - Topique 2 (111):31 - 58.
    (English, then french abstract) : -/- Fantasy, Discourse, Ideology – Transmission Beyond Propaganda. -/- Propaganda is everywhere, not only in commercials or politics. It is aimed at faraway strangers as well as nearby friends and relations. Propaganda in fact relies on a certain type of psychic structure, one that is tuned to receive it and disseminate it. This structure is a result of an unconscious subjective identification which is therefore not open to change through either cognition, argumentation or reasoning. Propaganda’s (...)
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  23. Truth and The Ambiguity of Negation.Teresa Marques - 2010 - In Erich Rast & Luiz Carlos Baptista (eds.), Meaning and Context. Peter Lang. pp. 2--235.
    This article has one aim, to reject the claim that negation is semantically ambiguous. The first section presents the putative incompatibility between truth-value gaps and the truth-schema; the second section presents the motivation for the ambiguity thesis; the third section summarizes arguments against the claim that natural language negation is semantically ambiguous; and the fourth section indicates the problems of an introduction of two distinct negation operators in natural language.
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  24. Review of Paul Elbourne, Meaning: A Slim Guide to Semantics. [REVIEW]Nat Hansen - 2013 - Philosophy in Review 33 (1):31-33.
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  25. The Stoics on Fallacies of Equivocation.Susanne Bobzien - 2006 - In D. Frede & B. Inwood (eds.), Language and Learning, Proceedings of the 9th Symposium Hellenisticum. Cambridge University Press.
    ABSTRACT: This paper discusses the Stoic treatment of fallacies that are based on lexical ambiguities. It provides a detailed analysis of the relevant passages, lays bare textual and interpretative difficulties, explores what the Stoic view on the matter implies for their theory of language, and compares their view with Aristotle’s. In the paper I aim to show that, for the Stoics, fallacies of ambiguity are complexes of propositions and sentences and thus straddle the realms of meaning (which is the domain (...)
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  26. Aristotle's De Interpretatione 8 is About Ambiguity.Susanne Bobzien - 2007 - In D. Scott (ed.), Maieusis: Essays in Ancient Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 301.
    ABSTRACT: In this paper I show that, contrary to the prevalent view, in his De Interpretatione chapter 8, Aristotle is concerned with a kind of ambiguity, i.e. with homonymy; more precisely, with homonymy of linguistic expressions as it may occur in dialectical argument. The paper has two parts. In the first part, I argue that in the Sophistici Elenchi 175b39-176a5 Aristotle indubitably deals with homonymy in dialectical argument; that De Interpretatione 8 is a parallel to Sophistici Elenchi 175b39-176a5; that De (...)
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  27. Quotations, Displays & Autonomes. WertheimerRoger - manuscript
    Post-Fregean theorists use 'quotation' to denote indifferently both colloquially called quotations (repetitions of prior utterances) and what I call 'displays': 'Rot' means red. Colloquially, quotation is a strictly historical property, not semantic or syntactic. Displays are semantically and syntactically distinctive sentential elements. Most displays are not quotations. Pure echo quotations (Cosmological arguments involve "an unnecessary shuffle") aren't displays. Frege-inspired formal languages stipulate that enquotation forms a singular term referring to the enquoted expression (type). Formalist enquotations differ semantically and syntactically from (...)
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  28. Conceptual Structure of Classical Logic.John Corcoran - 1972 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 33 (1):25-47.
    One innovation in this paper is its identification, analysis, and description of a troubling ambiguity in the word ‘argument’. In one sense ‘argument’ denotes a premise-conclusion argument: a two-part system composed of a set of sentences—the premises—and a single sentence—the conclusion. In another sense it denotes a premise-conclusion-mediation argument—later called an argumentation: a three-part system composed of a set of sentences—the premises—a single sentence—the conclusion—and complex of sentences—the mediation. The latter is often intended to show that the conclusion follows from (...)
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  29. Underspecified Semantics.Reinhard Muskens - 2000 - In Klaus von Heusinger & Urs Egli (eds.), Reference and Anaphoric Relations. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 311--338.
    Ambiguities in natural language can multiply so fast that no person or machine can be expected to process a text of even moderate length by enumerating all possible disambiguations. A sentence containing $n$ scope bearing elements which are freely permutable will have $n!$ readings, if there are no other, say lexical or syntactic, sources of ambiguity. A series of $m$ such sentences would lead to $(n!)^m$ possibilities. All in all the growth of possibilities will be so fast that generating readings (...)
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Compositionality
  1. The many-property problem is your problem, too.Justin D’Ambrosio - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):811-832.
    The many-property problem has traditionally been taken to show that the adverbial theory of perception is untenable. This paper first shows that several widely accepted views concerning the nature of perception---including both representational and non-representational views---likewise face the many-property problem. It then presents a solution to the many-property problem for these views, but goes on to show how this solution can be adapted to provide a novel, fully compositional solution to the many-property problem for adverbialism. Thus, with respect to the (...)
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  2. Compositionality and Expressive Power: Comments on Pietroski.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2020 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 20 (3):295-310.
    Paul Pietroski has developed a powerful minimalist and internalist alternative to standard compositional semantics, where meanings are identified with instructions to fetch or assemble human concepts in specific ways. In particular, there appears to be no need for Fregean Function Application, as natural language composition only involves processes of combining monadic or dyadic concepts, and Pietroski’s theory can then, allegedly, avoid both singular reference and truth conditions. He also has a negative agenda, purporting to show, roughly, that the vocabulary of (...)
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  3. Davidson's Argument for the Compositionality of Natural Languages and the Slingshot Argument. (In Persian).Ali Hossein Khani - 2010 - Zehn 11 (42):97-120.
    «بررسی استدلال دیویدسون در باب ترکیبی بودن زبان‌های طبیعی و «استدلال قلاب سنگی .
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  4. Might Generics.Brian Rabern - 2020 - Snippets 39:8-9.
    How do generics interact with modals? This note offers one observation about an interaction with 'might' that presents a challenge for standard theories.
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  5. Compositional Idioms.David Pitt & Jerrold J. Katz - 2000 - Language 76:409-432.
    In this paper we argue that there is a large class of expressions, typified by ‘plastic flower’, ‘stuffed animal’ and ‘kosher bacon’, that have a unique semantics combining compositional, idiomatic and decompositional interpretation. These expressions are compositional because their constituents contribute their meanings to the meanings of the wholes; they are idiomatic because their interpretation involves assigning dictionary entries to non-terminal elements in their syntactic structure; and they are decompositional because their meanings have proper parts that are not the meanings (...)
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  6. Really Complex Demonstratives: A Dilemma.Ethan Nowak - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-24.
    I have two aims for the present paper, one narrow and one broad. The narrow aim is to show that a class of data originally described by Lynsey Wolter empirically undermine the leading treatments of complex demonstratives that have been described in the literature. The broader aim of the paper is to show that Wolter demonstratives, as I will call the constructions I focus on, are a threat not just to existing treatments, but to any possible theory that retains the (...)
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  7. Disquotationalism and the Compositional Principles.Richard Kimberly Heck - forthcoming - In Carlo Nicolai (ed.), Modes of Truth: The Unified Approach to Modality, Truth, and Paradox.
    What Bar-On and Simmons call 'Conceptual Deflationism' is the thesis that truth is a 'thin' concept in the sense that it is not suited to play any explanatory role in our scientific theorizing. One obvious place it might play such a role is in semantics, so disquotationalists have been widely concerned to argued that 'compositional principles', such as -/- (C) A conjunction is true iff its conjuncts are true -/- are ultimately quite trivial and, more generally, that semantic theorists have (...)
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  8. The Myth of Occurrence-Based Semantics.Bryan Pickel & Brian Rabern - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-25.
    The principle of compositionality requires that the meaning of a complex expression remains the same after substitution of synonymous expressions. Alleged counterexamples to compositionality seem to force a theoretical choice: either apparent synonyms are not synonyms or synonyms do not syntactically occur where they appear to occur. Some theorists have instead looked to Frege’s doctrine of “reference shift” according to which the meaning of an expression is sensitive to its linguistic context. This doctrine is alleged to retain the relevant claims (...)
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  9. On the Nature of the Lexicon: The Status of Rich Lexical Meanings.Lotte Hogeweg & Agustin Vicente - forthcoming - Journal of Linguistics.
    The main goal of this paper is to show that there are many phenomena that pertain to the construction of truth-conditional compounds that follow characteristic patterns, and whose explanation requires appealing to knowledge structures organized in specific ways. We review a number of phenomena, ranging from non-homogenous modification and privative modification to polysemy and co-predication that indicate that knowledge structures do play a role in obtaining truth-conditions. After that, we show that several extant accounts that invoke rich lexical meanings to (...)
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  10. Smell's Puzzling Discrepancy: Gifted Discrimination, yet Pitiful Identification.Benjamin D. Young - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (1):90-114.
    Mind &Language, Volume 35, Issue 1, Page 90-114, February 2020.
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