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The semantics of mass-predicates

Noûs 33 (1):46-91 (1999)

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  1. Externalism, Internalism, and Logical Truth.Corine Besson - 2009 - Review of Symbolic Logic 2 (1):1-29.
    The aim of this paper is to show what sorts of logics are required by externalist and internalist accounts of the meanings of natural kind nouns. These logics give us a new perspective from which to evaluate the respective positions in the externalist-internalist debate about the meanings of such nouns. The two main claims of the paper are the following: first, that adequate logics for internalism and externalism about natural kind nouns are second-order logics; second, that an internalist second-order logic (...)
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  • The Semantics and Pragmatics of Complex Demonstratives.Ernest Lepore & Kirk Ludwig - 2000 - Mind 109 (434):199-240.
    Complex demonstratives, expressions of the form 'That F', 'These Fs', etc., have traditionally been taken to be referring terms. Yet they exhibit many of the features of quantified noun phrases. This has led some philosophers to suggest that demonstrative determiners are a special kind of quantifier, which can be paraphrased using a context sensitive definite description. Both these views contain elements of the truth, though each is mistaken. We advance a novel account of the semantic form of complex demonstratives that (...)
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  • Names Are Predicates.Delia Graff Fara - 2015 - Philosophical Review 124 (1):59-117.
    One reason to think that names have a predicate-type semantic value is that they naturally occur in count-noun positions: ‘The Michaels in my building both lost their keys’; ‘I know one incredibly sharp Cecil and one that's incredibly dull’. Predicativism is the view that names uniformly occur as predicates. Predicativism flies in the face of the widely accepted view that names in argument position are referential, whether that be Millian Referentialism, direct-reference theories, or even Fregean Descriptivism. But names are predicates (...)
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  • Mass Nouns, Count Nouns and Non-Count Nouns.Henry Laycock - 2005 - In Alex Barber (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Elsevier.
    I present a high-level account of the semantical distinction between count nouns and non-count nouns. The basic idea is that count nouns are semantically either singular or plural and non-count nouns are neither.
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  • Mereology.Achille C. Varzi - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An overview of contemporary part-whole theories, with reference to both their axiomatic developments and their philosophical underpinnings.
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  • Genericity and Logical Form.Kathrin Koslicki - 1999 - Mind and Language 14 (4):441–467.
    In this paper I propose a novel treatment of generic sentences, which proceeds by means of different levels of analysis. According to this account, all generic sentences (I-generics and D-generics alike) are initially treated in a uniform manner, as involving higher-order predication (following the work of George Boolos, James Higginbotham and Barry Schein on plurals). Their non-uniform character, however, re-emerges at subsequent levels of analysis, when the higher-order predications of the first level are cashed out in terms of quantification over (...)
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  • Sharvy's Theory of Definite Descriptions Revisited.Berit Brogaard - 2007 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (2):160–180.
    The paper revisits Sharvy's theory of plural definite descriptions. An alternative account of plural definite descriptions building on the ideas of plural quantification and non-distributive plural predication is developed. Finally, the alternative is extrapolated to account for generic uses of definite descriptions.
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  • Entities Without Identity: A Semantical Dilemma.Benjamin Jantzen - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (2):283-308.
    It has been suggested that puzzles in the interpretation of quantum mechanics motivate consideration of entities that are numerically distinct but do not stand in a relation of identity with themselves or non-identity with others. Quite apart from metaphysical concerns, I argue that talk about such entities is either meaningless or not about such entities. It is meaningless insofar as we attempt to take the foregoing characterization literally. It is meaningful, however, if talk about entities without identity is taken as (...)
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  • Rigidity, Natural Kind Terms and Metasemantics.Corine Besson - 2010 - In Helen Beebee & Nigel Sabbarton-Leary (eds.), The Semantics and Metaphysics of Natural Kinds. Routledge. pp. 25--44.
    A paradigmatic case of rigidity for singular terms is that of proper names. And it would seem that a paradigmatic case of rigidity for general terms is that of natural kind terms. However, many philosophers think that rigidity cannot be extended from singular terms to general terms. The reason for this is that rigidity appears to become trivial when such terms are considered: natural kind terms come out as rigid, but so do all other general terms, and in particular all (...)
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  • From Constitutional Necessities to Causal Necessities.Jessica M. Wilson - 2010 - In Helen Beebee & Nigel Sabbarton-Leary (eds.), The Semantics and Metaphysics of Natural Kinds. Routledge.
    Humeans and non-Humeans reasonably agree that there may be necessary connections between entities that are identical or merely partly distinct—between, e.g., sets and their individual members, fusions and their individual parts, instances of determinates and determinables, members of certain natural kinds and certain of their intrinsic properties, and (especially among physicalists) certain physical and mental states. Humeans maintain, however, that as per “Hume’s Dictum”, there are no necessary connections between entities that are wholly distinct;1 and in particular, no necessary causal (...)
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  • Events and the Semantic Content of Thematic Relations.Barry Schein - 2002 - In Gerhard Preyer Georg Peter (ed.), Logical Form and Language. Oxford University Press. pp. 263--344.
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  • The Right Stuff.Ned Markosian - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):665-687.
    This paper argues for including stuff in one's ontology. The distinction between things and stuff is first clarified, and then three different ontologies of the physical universe are spelled out: a pure thing ontology, a pure stuff ontology, and a mixed ontology of both things and stuff. Eleven different reasons for including stuff in one's ontology are given. Then five objections to positing stuff are considered and rejected.
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  • Stuff and Coincidence.Thomas J. McKay - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (11):3081-3100.
    Anyone who admits the existence of composite objects allows a certain kind of coincidence, coincidence of a thing with its parts. I argue here that a similar sort of coincidence, coincidence of a thing with the stuff that constitutes it, should be equally acceptable. Acknowledgement of this is enough to solve the traditional problem of the coincidence of a statue and the clay or bronze it is made of. In support of this, I offer some principles for the persistence of (...)
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  • Empty Natural Kind Terms and Dry Earth.Corine Besson - 2012 - Erkenntnis 76 (3):403-425.
    This paper considers the problem of assigning meanings to empty natural kind terms. It does so in the context of the Twin-Earth externalist-internalist debate about whether the meanings of natural kind terms are individuated by the external physical environment of the speakers using these terms. The paper clarifies and outlines the different ways in which meanings could be assigned to empty natural kind terms. And it argues that externalists do not have the semantic resources to assign them meanings. The paper (...)
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  • Descriptions: Predicates or Quantifiers?Berit Brogaard - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (1):117 – 136.
    In this paper I revisit the main arguments for a predicate analysis of descriptions in order to determine whether they do in fact undermine Russell's theory. I argue that while the arguments without doubt provide powerful evidence against Russell's original theory, it is far from clear that they tell against a quantificational account of descriptions.
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  • Does Vagueness Underlie the Mass/Count Distinction?David Liebesman - 2016 - Synthese 193 (1):185-203.
    Does vagueness underlie the mass/count distinction? My answer is no. I motivate this answer in two ways. First, I argue against Chierchia’s recent attempt to explain the distinction in terms of vagueness. Second, I give a more general argument that no such account will succeed.
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  • Natural Kinds and Natural Kind Terms.Kathrin Koslicki - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (4):789-802.
    The aim of this article is to illustrate how a belief in the existence of kinds may be justified for the particular case of natural kinds: particularly noteworthy in this respect is the weight borne by scientific natural kinds (e.g., physical, chemical, and biological kinds) in (i) inductive arguments; (ii) the laws of nature; and (iii) causal explanations. It is argued that biological taxa are properly viewed as kinds as well, despite the fact that they have been by some alleged (...)
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